Reconsidering Grief

“Grieving is a process.”
“Grieving often goes through stages.”
“Everyone’s journey through grief looks different.”
“You can’t put a timeline on how long the process will take.”
“People take different lengths of time to grieve.”

Phrases thrown around whenever loss is experienced, whenever loss is studied, whenever loss is spoken of. I might agree with them, I might not. I may find them helpful, I may not. That is not the point here.

The point is this:
Processes finish,
There is always a final stage,
A journey eventually reaches its destination,
A length of time suggests an end point.

All these phrases suggest there is a finish line, suggest that one day you will grieve no more. Grieving will be finished, done, over; the journey will have reached it’s end and the process complete.

Will the process be complete?
Do you ever really stop grieving for someone, something you’ve lost?

What does complete, finished, grief look like?
What does the aftermath of grief feel like?

No-one ever tells you that. No-one describes what you are aiming for, what life after grief feels like.

I’m caught there, that is where my questions get me. They suggest that grief will come to an end, but I know not what they understand as grief, and I wonder how I know when I have reached this goal that is post-grief. I’m not sure you ever move past grief for something or someone you’ve truly lost, I’m not sure there is a grief-free target to aim for. Perhaps it is just learning to function well, learning to be joyful whilst still carrying this grief.

Yet they speak of my friend and I am left to reconsider.

I grieve for that friend, and I feel a deep sorrow and heartache for what has been lost, for what could have been. I have grieved for a long time now. I see a photo, hear memories recounted, read the name in black and white, and always it is followed by deep sorrow.

This time it is different and I am left to reconsider.

They speak the name, they recount memories. I still do not have the will to join them, but I sit and listen and as I do I surprise myself.
My eyes follow their chatter,
my lips smile, and my heart,
my heart feels glad.
am honored to have know them, I am thankful for that friendship, I joyfully replay memories in my mind. There is an faint ache in my heart, and I miss that person, their friendship; but the deep sorrow, the wanting to run from the conversation, it is gone.

Gratitude and peace have replaced that deep sorrow. I am left to reconsider.

Could it be? Could grief come to an end?
Could this be what post-grief life feels like?

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