Yes I said it. We are beautiful. Our insides have been turned inside out, we have distorted our faces with endless sobs of grief for so long it has changed our appearance. We have been shattered, yet we are beautiful in who we have become. We are strong in what we have faced in our grief and what we continue to struggle with every day we wake without our loved ones in our lives. Like weight lifters gaining muscle in their body parts we gain muscle in our hearts and souls in our daily workouts. Our bleeding hearts bursting with grief and love with nowhere to go. We are strong and we are beautiful. Believe it.
We do it without thought. We keep pushing on day by day, step by step. I don’t wake up every day and think to myself – Today is going to be a tough one “I’m going to be emotional and shed some tears. I will struggle to lift my head and my heart but I will do it.” or “I think I’m just going to behave like the ultimate bitch today” or I think I’ll pretend as if it’s heartburn I’m feeling rather than the constant bitter ache reminding me of the loss of my beautiful grandson.
My family reached the year and six month mark on Monday the 26th. Today is Wednesday. One year and six months. Why is it still so hard? Because it is. Konnor was my grandson, he is loved and worse he is gone. This is my life. This is it until it is my turn to die.
I’ve decided to stop fighting against grief. Stop questioning why I’m still grieving after all the time that has past because someone may have suggested that I move on. Stop feeling like grief is something that needs to be weakened or quieted over time or something that I can control. Because I can’t. We can’t. It’s as much a part of me now as any other part of my body or my personality. It is within me, it is a part that makes up who I am. Without Konnor I would not have grief. I cannot trade one without the other.
The most difficult part in grieving is the perception of those around us. How they may feel about our grief process. “She is still depressed, still posting things on her Facebook after all this time.” We take this into consideration with those we care about, we care about what those we love think about us. Wicked are the blinded. They can’t see what they do. It can hurt us. It can lead us to question ourselves. With so much inner turmoil and pain do grievers truly need to question themselves or feel shamed by how they grieve? Absolutely not. I prefer to think to myself, “this love for my grandson is so great it makes me proud of myself that no matter what anyone says I will not be silenced.” Love is beautiful and there is too much ugly in this world, I want to be part of the beautiful.
Maybe we place limits on ourselves too. We must stop this! For a while I know I wasn’t sure why I would get so cranky at certain times. I would be upset with myself for my moodiness. I was angry with myself! I would hide, feel ashamed of myself and my moods. Yell in my own mind, “Get it together!” I discovered it was around the 22nd of every month that I would get emotional and frustrated. This was the day that Konnor passed. I would not intentionally think about it. My subconscious would just react to it. That’s the thing about grief, you don’t have to think about it, it hits you like a wave of emotion and you are at its mercy. Furthermore, there is no telling how long it will last. It is what it is, surrender to it. Accept this part of ourselves, this part of us that changes just as the moon changes in it’s phases. And just as the moon is beautiful in all it’s phases so are we in our complexities.
Grief has a face. It is my face, it is your face. It has embraced me. It has swallowed me whole. It is who I am. It cannot and will not be contained. It cannot be hidden in shame or silenced for someone else’s ideals. It is an expression of emotion, an outpouring of love. My heart is silently screaming, screaming for the grief I feel for my grandson and I must put it into words or I will explode. Grief has a name. Grief is my name. It is me and it is beautiful and I will not contain it to make you feel comfortable.
Grievers need to accept and adjust to this new life just as those with any illness would. I know I simply ride it out. I finally understand the analogy of grief coming in waves. That is just what it feels like. A wave of emotion coming your way. How much strength does it take to go through this day after day or week after week or month after month? Tons! We feel it, we are coping the best we can. We are strong, so if you see a moment of weakness, the moment of weakness you may see is just that – a moment of time. You are not there the ninety percent of the time we are pushing through. Although some will comment on the weakness they see. Why negativity is spread rather than kindness when relating to grief is a cruel concept to me.
For every morning we get out of bed to face a new day after losing a loved one and allow our feet to hit the floor we have gained strength for another day. Grievers suffer a loss and continue to do what we have to for the sake of ourselves and for others. We have other children to take care of, we have jobs, responsibility. We have to keep going even when it feels like we can’t. And we do.
For as much as I continue to be weak with my tears and my moodiness I challenge anyone to go through what I have the past year and six months. I am stronger than I imagined. I have survived this and continued to do what was expected of me despite suffering the worst loss imaginable. Walking into a grocery store took everything I had but I did it. So let some insensitive asshole stand behind me and whisper something about me still not being “over” the loss of my grandchild and how I should move on. They could not hold a candle to me. My broken bleeding heart is beating strong.
Our losses may have shaped us into a stronger but somehow softer form of ourselves. We may have become more compassionate, sympathetic and loving. On the flip side we may become isolated, afraid and needy. Nevertheless, our wounded hearts hold to the beauty and strength that is held tight in each of us. Our loved one.
Grief is hard, it’s ugly and exhausting. Yet, it is the result of a love that is never-ending. So maybe these lines etched on my face created by the of months of crying has made me beautiful.
Grief is our name so maybe the grief we hold for our lost loved ones makes us all just that, beautiful grieving hearts.
“The time has come to bring grief out of the dark and into the light.” – Angie Cartwright
Photo credit: Aimee Vogelsang