Dedication: For my Mother, the most beautiful soul that continues to mold me.
It has taken me 14 years to finally learn how to grieve. When you’re 17, no one really teaches or prepares you for the waves that come with it. Sure, in the moment of loss you feel the pain of absence. You cry. You long for just one more moment. One more late night talk. One more hug. But, what follows when the sympathy cards stop arriving? When the visits from loved ones cease. The warm meals just become a pile of leftovers stacked in your fridge. Quite frankly, to even look at them makes you nauseous.
You continue each day wearing a mask. “You are so strong” they’ve told you. Every time you start to feel weak those words ring through, so you carry on as usual. Putting on that mask each and every day until it attaches to you so much that you slowly start to lose your true self. The walls go up. Each time you feel the grief start to creep up, the walls you’re building inside yourself add more stones. Stacking higher and higher. Then you start to tell yourself not to be a burden. You dismiss your pain by telling yourself and others that some have it worse. You’re just grateful for the time you had. Again, people tell you how strong you are. You don’t feel strong. You feel fragile. You don’t want to feel fragile, so you bury these emotions under the stacking stones. Not realizing you can’t build a solid foundation from emotions layered under what you’ve idealized makes you strong.
The wall is unstable. It doesn’t crumble all at once. Every time you face trauma a piece of your wall chips off. Each time you try to rebuild it with the same unstable infrastructure. Until one day, it all falls apart. You’re exposed. Suddenly feeling all the things you’ve tucked away inside yourself. When you’ve never dealt with grief, feeling so much at one time is overwhelming. It’s confusing. You’ll be angry. Mostly at yourself. You’ll be sad. The person you want most to talk to about all these new and raw emotions is gone. She is gone. You wonder how after 14 years those words are still so difficult to say.
Grief is beautiful. Yes, it is painful. The memories aren’t always going to be of the best times. Nevertheless, revisit them. They are a part of you. You cry, and you cry some more. You tell those closest to you that you’re not ok. You let them be there for you. The journey of healing has started. It won’t happen over night. When you’ve hidden the most vulnerable parts of yourself for so long it can’t just be ripped off like a bandaid. You finally start sharing your stories. You find other beautiful people who’ve lost. Who continue to experience the same waves of grief that have suddenly crashed over you.
Again, grief is beautiful. Grief is a reminder you can live again. Allow yourself to feel it. Everything your heart can manifest. In order to heal, you have to allow yourself to be broken. Finally you understand these feelings do not make you weak. They mean you’ve loved, you continue to love. That love will last forever. This is the kind of love that teaches you empathy. You are compassionate. You are made up of so many beautiful things. You are strong, but not in the way you once were. You are strong because you’ve allowed yourself to be weak. You are healing.