(Originally posted in 2010)
She had buried two husbands. I thought she had something to say about how to survive through grief, so I listened.
"Do the next thing." She said. "That's what you do. Each day you just do the next thing."
|Photo courtesy of anankkml/freedigitalphotos.net|
I thought her advice was too simplistic, almost cold to those hurting in her midst. Yet, who am I to argue with a woman who has buried two husbands when I haven't buried one. I'm not that stupid and hopefully not that arrogant. So I humbly tucked her words of wisdom away, but my attitude toward grief remained.
I've smelled enough of it in my life to know I don't ever want to smell it again, but I don't have that option. To live life is to encounter grief. Whether it's death, the loss of a dream, or childhood innocence, grief comes in all forms, shapes, and sizes. It shows up when I least expect it, makes me want to run for cover, push it away, ignore its existence, or do anything but look into its ugly face.
But through the years, I discovered the other side of grief. It's what happens when the tears begin to decrease and joy comes into view. It’s then I realize that grief, although disguised as a villain, isn't the ugly schmuck I've perceived it to be. The stench of grief dissipates and like the air after a spring rain, it beckons me to take another breath.
Grief is a healer.
I don't know what you're grieving today. Maybe nothing and that is good. We need days, months, and years like that. But at some point there will be something, maybe something old, maybe something new that deserves your attention. Don't run from the tears. And while you're crying remember—there will be a tomorrow and an opportunity to do the next thing.
The loss of childhood innocence is a deep loss. It is okay to take the time to grieve it.