The Pain of Easing Grief
I remember the first couple of weeks and months after saying goodbye to my precious Jonah at 30 weeks gestation due to a heart condition as extremely difficult and filled with so many ups and downs, I felt like a marionette doll living someone else’s life, because there’s no way that much sadness could be my own life.
During those days, I read and heard a lot from other loss moms about how, eventually, the grief would lessen in a way and become more love than pain. I looked forward to that future with guarded hope that that would, in fact, happen to me.
Related: When Joy and Pain Exist Together
This month, January, is Jonah’s month. He was born silently into the world on January 22nd, 2017 at 6:59pm. That makes it a year since he died and we met him. A year has passed somehow, both quickly and slowly. How on Earth has it been a year, but at the same time, how has it not been 2 years already? Grief has such a funny way of making time pass both slowly and quickly, simultaneously.
Anyway, now that I’m a year into this crazy bundle of mixed-up emotions called grief, I can say that those other loss moms I trusted when they said “it will get easier” were right. It does eventually get easier. Moments that would have brought tears 6 months ago are now moments of love and quiet reflection. Thinking about Jonah doesn’t make my heart hurt as much as grow three sizes.
That said, there’s a new, exquisite pain I’ve found in the fact that it IS easier. Not thinking about him as often, not crying over the loss of him as often, and not writing about him as often all mean my grief is easier, sure, but NOT doing those things is painful in and of itself. Does it make me a bad mom to think of him less? Doing less active grieving feels a little like I’m letting him down in some way. I know that’s not true, but that’s just how it feels sometimes.
Grief is so complicated that even feeling it lessen is painful. It feels a little bit like Jonah is less close to me – like my memories of him are just a little farther away. What will I be able to remember of him in another year? 5 years? Will I still feel him with me in 10 years? Of course, the answer is yes, but it feels scary to think about. Memories fade with time, just like grief does.
Related: Don’t Tell Me Times Heals All Wounds
“It gets easier” is true, but the process of getting easier is painful. Grief has to be the most complicated state of being on this planet.
Luckily, the easing up of grief does also feel good. It feels like springtime, when coldness leaves, buds grow, and life emerges. I’m doing the best I can to let Jonah’s love shine on me and everyone around me on a daily basis, but a lot of the time he’s not at the forefront of my mind. And that’s okay, even if it makes me sad. Such is the way of grief and life.