Grief is Heavy
Over the last few years in working with women in recovery I have been on the receiving end of their words as they shared their heaviness, their worry, and their sadness with grief. During those times, the solutions which would flow through my mind were surrounded around meditation, prayers, and changing the thoughts.
Then my dad died within two months being diagnosed with COVID-19. This left my 80-year-old mother alone after 57 years of marriage.
I only thought I knew or could come close to understanding the pain and the hurdle in which those women were enduring. I only thought I knew the steps in which they could take to help ease the emotional roller coaster they were experiencing. I almost dismissed grief as a “phase”, and although to some extent this may be true, my recent experience has shown me I was far from utterly understanding.
The recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction taught me a valuable lesson, probably the most significant lesson I have had in my life – personal experience is everything. To give back wisdom, experience, steps to help someone, the best feedback comes from personal experience – experience, strength, and hope.
My recent months have been filled with illness, tears, fear, anguish, willingness, and confusion. There are times in one’s life when they reflect, they remember the hard times, the defining times. The character building times. The times when they were flattened to almost nothing and had to build back up. The times when they wanted to cry “uncle” but did not. Grief for me is one of those times.
Today, I look to the next indicated step; to not surrender to the paralyzing feeling of grief. The feeling that makes me not want to go to work, to clean the house, to pay attention to the kids, to not exercise. That feeling. My action today in grief is to wake up, drink a cup of coffee, get quiet with my god, and hang the fuck on. For this too shall pass. To not to ask – but when? When the hell does this heaviness in my chest pass? When does the bursts of tears that do not even have the thought of my father behind them stop? When does the worry behind the lack of energy stop? When does the doubt in my faith stop?
For those women I served to the best of my ability, god bless you for hanging on, for keepin on when the emotions were conflicting with the physical pangs of grief. The aches and pains, the tightness of the chest, the gasps of air as you wondered “why can’t I breathe?” Thank you for the time you gave me to do my best to help you. For now, I know.
In a time in our world where grief might be floating everywhere, where many people are facing significant loss of loved ones – hang on. Grab the moments that feel good and REMEMBER them. They may feel few and far between, but they are real. They are the god in you – the universal energy reminding you grief and grace are part of this existence. Grab a hold of the appreciation to carry one more moment through the anguish. For you are alive, you are human, you are a moving energy force to be reckoned with. The past loved ones (all a matter of belief – I believe my dad is helping me type this right now and is all around me) they love you, and they are on their next journey. A journey of experience that is never ending, is always in love, is always watching over you.
Grief may be heavy, but it is doable. It is part of this wonderful existence we get to have; we get to breathe through.