Wednesday, April 10, 2019

This Much I Know

"Healing in grief is a lot like the onset of spring.  It's unreliable and fickle."
~ Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.

Unreliable and fickle.  Certainly my experience.  It's uncanny how this spring my inner mood so reflects the weather - or is it vice versa?   

Some days, the skies are gunmetal gray and the temperatures have dropped by ten degrees.  It's all I can do to get out of my nightgown and accomplish anything.  A song, a telephone conversation, an unexpected request related to John's death and I'm weeping.  A grief burst to rival the cloudbursts that have been all too common this spring.  

Some days, I wake to sunshine and the expectation of a good day, but by noon, banks of gray clouds roll in and the threat of yet another cloudburst increases by the hour.  On these days, it takes so little to unleash my own cloudburst of tears.  For how could those grief experts who warn you to prepare for the first anniversary or birthday or holiday know how easily I can fall apart at the sight of the first tulip, remembering the delight he took in planting them.  Or the sight of the first hummingbird, reminding me that he is not here to fill the feeder.  Or how even anticipating the first roses brings tears as I know he will never again bring in a fresh rose in the morning to greet my day,  How could they know?

Lately, however, there are days when I think I'm making progress through the forest of my grief.  The sun shines.  It's warm and a breeze whispers the shrubbery.   I have energy, look forward to the day and getting out and among folks.  The memories are sweet.  I barely shed a tear.  I even laugh.  On these days, I can believe there will be more such days, hopefully, many more.

So, this much I have come to know about this path I'm walking - the journey is, at best, unreliable and fickle.  Grief bursts are to be expected at the most unexpected times.  They are a part of the journey, but they, like spring showers, eventually pass.  So, I do best when I take it a day at a time, some days an hour at a time.  

I know that quotes like the above help me to make sense of my experience.  I know that the good days, and there are good days, are cause for celebration. The good days, and there are more good days, are cause for optimism.  I know that somehow, someday, the firsts will not overwhelm me.  I know that I will survive, and maybe, just maybe, even thrive again.  Even if, today, the clouds roll in again.