Karen and I met for tea today. She is deeply grieving her beloved husband who passed away just weeks ago. Every day she visits the grave site still fresh with dirt and flowers.
“I can’t go on. Today I just wanted to lay down right there in the grass and mud and die beside him,” she sobbed.
I told her, “Then you should have. It’s okay to feel what you are feeling, and think what you are thinking. You have had a great loss. If you wanted to lie down right then and there, then you should have just done it. There’s no wrong here. It’s okay to meet the grief head-on and yield to it and your feelings.”
What I didn’t say is this . . .
“As you’re lying there in the dirt, maybe, after a while, you will realize that you’re still alive, and it’s cold on the ground, and you are hungry, and the kids need to be picked up. And because you are still alive, there are things you must do to keep living.
“And when you stand up, you will still be sad and filled with grief at the loss of your husband, but you will go on. Not with him walking beside you, but in a new way.”
Cheryl Strayed, writer, has said, “If it is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have.”
Give yourself permission, the right to grieve as long as you need to and whatever way you need to. Rest, pause, from life for a time but then get up, brush yourself off and go on.
“Ah, but the sweetness is gone out of life,” you cry.
You are surrounded by sweetness – the sun beaming down from a blue sky, a child’s bubble of laughter, a fragrant flower. When you are ready to look up, you will see it. Today you are blinded by grief and the painful reminders that you will never have yesterday’s sweetness again. But tomorrow’s sweetness is waiting patiently for you – just up ahead.