“Sunset doesn’t last all evening, a mind can blow those clouds away”
Credit: George Harrison “All Things Must Pass” 1970
How long does grief last? How do you know when it ends? Is there some sort of epiphany and emotional release or is it more subtle? And, if it is subtle…how does that feel and how do you know? Does it even feel like…anything? These are just a few of the questions I have been asking myself the past several years. I would really like some answers.
It all began to nag at me about 8 years ago as I slowly and painstakingly sorted through and packed up my mother’s belongings. She was slowly wasting away from a blood cancer and was most probably never coming home.
As each drawer was emptied and closet cleaned out, it was not lost on me that I was a part of the process of one human helping another disengage from the material world. A heavy sort of numbness began to overtake my body and my emotions. I felt…tired. Really tired. Is that when grief begins? Is that what I was feeling? Can grief begin before you have actually physically lost someone?
Over the next 4 years, my mom and my dad passed on, so did a dear childhood friend, two buddies from college, a very sweet dog, and I had to sever a close family tie. Add to that, job loss and a serious accident that led to major lifestyle changes. It was a free-fall of loss and sadness. Four years later and I still don’t quite feel like myself. I keep wondering whether I’ve grieved properly or enough?” Is that even a thing? And, if I was processing it the right way, shouldn’t I feel better by now? Does this even make sense?
The one thing that seems to help, albeit temporarily, is gratitude. A quick daily inventory of the multitude of good and positive things and people I’m surrounded by gives me back my breath. And then I wonder, shouldn’t that be enough to propel someone to the next stage of grieving? Maybe it’s a matter of being “stuck”. If so, how does one get “unstuck”?
So many questions and very few answers. Maybe you have a few ideas? I welcome your wisdom so please, leave your comments, advice, or just share how you pushed past your own personal grief gremlins!
Thanks so much, Lisë