Hi Daily Feelers,
What a year, huh? I feel like I start every blog that way these days. Meh. What can I say? Life in 2022 is not dull, not for anyone. If you are fortunate enough to be boring, you are the bomb.com.
As many may imagine, the term “grief” is one many of us are familiar with. What is grief? For me, it’s the moments when you are experiencing something really great and you pick up your phone to text someone to share it…and then, Bam. You remember they are gone. In a split second, you go from pure happiness to unbearable sadness. Yep, for just a few moments, it’s gonna be a lot. A lot of tears. A lot of cuss words. A lot of just different stuff.
Grief has stages. Search google for “stages of grief” and there are thousands of ways to understand. This blog isn’t to teach. It’s to hold space. Not sure what step “holding space” falls under, but it’s one I have really appreciated over the last 2 years.
You see, after losing an average of 3 loved ones a year for 3 years straight from 2016 – early 2020…
I was very overwhelmed with grief. Even now, I don’t recommend giving anyone real advice on how to cope other than inch by inch, for a long time, in your own way. Some days, I’d get up and proceed on as I should. I functioned. Come on. I didn’t ruin my life entirely with sadness. But grief is a jerk because it could care less about what stage of “real life” I was in. When it showed up, it was the kryptonite to my Super Woman persona, for sure.
In this order, my family just disappeared…
Aunt, Grandpa, Stepmom, Friend, Father, Friend, Grandma, BEST Friend…
With each tragic, yet unique passing….I mourned. I rebuilt myself without them. I grieved. Etc. but it wasn’t long before…WAM…back to step one of loss. Rinse. Repeat. This was my internal life for 3 years. It leaked into real life. It. Ummm. It sucked. I was a blastttttttt.
At first, I tucked away my pain as fast as it surfaced. I was tough after all. No tears here. I had a plan for everything. I was gonna solve all the things. I could save everyone. By myself. Ummm. Yea, no. That didn’t happen. I tripped over my shoes as soon as we were out of the gate.
Ha. I wasn’t tough even a little in those times. For the first time in my life, I only sat and dealt with all my sadness because I had finally hit a wall running from my grief.
This is when things turned for me for the better. I was home in GA sitting by the lake with the best company, in my safe place, and it dawned on me. The best thing I could do to continue my connections with those that had passed was to be the very thing I loved so much about each of those I lost. I was gonna have to let them live through me, even in death. The pain wasn’t going to stop. I just had to figure out how to use it as fuel to reset a few things.
First, I needed new lifelines. I’d lost 9 of my closest family/friends.I had open slots on my Top Dawgs list. Ironically, my remaining aunts, uncles, and cousins claimed a few slots immediately. They call on my dad’s birthday. They post on Papa’s birthday. We all gather for holidays and smash the pilgrim in the potatoes for my Stepmom. I sing Karaoke as often as I can for my dad. The list goes on. The point is, it didn’t take long at all for me to find support from those still with us. For that, I am blessed and grateful.
I try to show love to those left in my life like I remembered how my lost ones had given love to me. Not everything was perfect, but that’s the nice part of loss. If you did it right, people often forget your bad moments and simply remember the good ones. Natural selection I guess. Or at least when that moment of grief comes, I’m often caught reflecting fondly vs. angrily now. That was a cool grief hurdle to finally jump in 2021.
I still cry if I hear certain songs. I still stop dead in my tracks when a few memories cross my mind. I have things I wished I’d said. But I’m no longer ashamed at the tears or the time it takes to let the feeling pass. I found people who know my heart and have my back even when it’s messy. That is grace. Most of all, I get to continue the great legacies my loved ones left in hopes that my children will pick up just a few of their traits.
Grieving isn’t sad anymore. It’s a moment to remember and be thankful you have a memory at all.