“Grief doesn’t give a sh*t about you.”
I found myself writing that in a message to a recently bereaved dad. How those callous words erupted from my fingertips, where they came from, I wasn’t sure, and as my index finger reached for the backspace button to delete such a thoughtless comment, I stopped myself.
I reread it.
And decided not to delete it. But rather to explain it.
Because I believe it.
Grief is, without a doubt, an expression of our immense love.
There are many expressions of love on this earth. Grief is but one .
I believe grief exists for one reason, to break you down into the tiniest little pieces of yourself so you can build yourself back up stronger and with all of the lessons and love you’ve gained along the way woven into the fabric of the new you.
Grief can’t be negotiated with.
It can’t be persuaded to hurt you less than it does.
It can’t be put in a box and “moved on” from, and it refuses to be ignored.
You are absolutely powerless against it.
And you can’t be an oak tree in the face of grief. The winds will blow and you will split right down the center. You gotta be a palm. You have to bend and sway whatever direction it wants you to go, and know you will come out from the storm still standing.
And you can’t judge yourself or your grieving process. All the crazy-making thoughts, they’re all normal. It’s the self-judgement about your grief that’ll get you all tangled up, not the grief itself.
And the anger, that’s also totally normal. It works it’s way into your relationships with your loved ones, your relationship with the world, your relationship with yourself, wreaking havoc in it’s path. But you know the anger is the grief talking and again- grief doesn’t give a sh*t about you. If you get angry, that’s your problem. Grief is just doing it’s job. God- that sounds so harsh. It isn’t meant to be, it’s just the truth.
But here’s the thing. You are not your grief.
Let me repeat that.
YOU ARE NOT YOUR GRIEF.
You are a beautiful, complex human being with layers of light and dark and purpose and talent and experiences. Emotions – good, bad and even those ones that hang out somewhere in the middle, those emotions that run through you are part of the complex, beautiful, nuanced tapestry that creates the beauty of you.
And here’s another thing. You have a choice.
This grief and the breaking it does to you does not have to define you.
It’s the rebuild that comes after, the “who you become”, the choices you make and what you do with the lessons learned and love in your heart that define your future.
You can’t bypass the pain… you shouldn’t.
But you should also pay attention to the rebuild. Because every day, simultaneous to your grief, your rebuild is happening, and you have the power to define who you are and who you are meant to be on this side of loss.
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