I have read that grief isn’t something you can go under, around or over; it is something you must go through.
This resonated with me, because the only way I could describe the horrible grief of losing my child was like a ball of fire. All consuming, ever present and terrifying. It was always in my mind and my heart, the flames licking and burning me as if it had a life of its own.
In the early days after losing Aiden, I felt like I was dancing and flitting around the edges of it, too afraid to get too close to it, getting burned each time I did get too close and so afraid to get that close again.
Several weeks after Aiden had died, I sat down in Aiden’s room and intentionally prepared to move into the fiery ball of grief for the first time. I was terrified, knowing how great the pain was when I had just been dancing around the edges. But on this day, I sat down in Aiden’s room, entered that fire ball and let the grief and pain engulf me, my heart and my soul.
It was agonizing; the pain was so intense as I opened myself up to all those feelings. I began to truly allow myself to process all the horrible events of Aiden’s short life, and allow myself to feel how intense my love and longing for my sweet little boy were and always will be.
Sitting there that day, I didn’t think I could possibly survive the pain I felt. I didn’t last too long that day, facing my grief head on and not dancing away from the pain. Allowing every raw, agonizing emotion to bubble up and not trying to push it back down.
It was such an intense experience that I was terrified to ever try it again. And it did take quite some time before I had enough courage to try going head first into my grief again.
I still grieved every day, and at times it felt like each breath I took was painful. But for me, there was a difference between living in grief and facing the grief. I had and still have no choice but to live each moment of my life in grief, I lost my child and a part of me will always hurt because of that. But facing my grief took courage and gave me a sense of control over something as massively uncontrollable as grief. It allowed me to take action and make the choice to work through the grief. It made me an active participant, not just a passive victim.
Facing the fire ball of grief that day, and intentionally letting myself begin to go through the grief was another turning point in my grief journey. It was a necessary and essential milestone on my path of grief. There has never been another time where I sat and went into that ball of fiery grief that hurt quite that much. It was a though facing my grief that day took some of the fear away. I realized I could face the grief and the pain, I was strong enough to survive it. It is still painful every time I intentionally sit down to work through more of my grief, but once I confronted the fear of feeling the pain that I had been holding onto, it seemed easier to face. And I learned that it really is true, you can’t go over, under or around the pain of grief. The only way to begin to shrink the fire ball of grief is to go through it and face it.