Return to Grief

I don’t know if you feel sadness greater when you are already grieving.

Over the past 6 month my usual optimist, cheerful self has been replaced with a person who can barely make it through the day without tears.

Sadness has always been around me, not helped by punctuations of trauma. But even in the ever-present manipulations and anxiety that was my childhood and teen years, I always had an ever-present sense of optimism, an inbuilt unwavering feeling of joy and the emotional freedom of being able to see the bigger picture.

It has been what has propelled me beyond a lot of the negative circumstances I faced. In many ways experiencing a family that was built on negativity has been a wonderful catalyst to show me who not be, and how not to live my life. Which in turn allowed me to open my heart and myself to others, especially my ability to build deep connections with others, and with my children.

But this year has been slowly pulling me down to place that feels foreign to me, a place of deep sorrow, a place I remember from when my daughter died. In that immediate grief, I was buoyed by her love, as I was shattered by finality of the moments with her. There are no circumstances that can change that outcome, but the sorrow was so deep, so life changing and forever a part of your life as you move forward.

Unimaginable.

If you’ve been there yourself you know what I mean.

But this year, through various life circumstances it has been a slow spiral into a place that hurts. The slow and prolonged cutting down of hopefulness. How do you get to point where you cry everyday over things out of your control? To hear my daughter tell me she had a dream that I was so sad I died.

Grief is inescapable in life, and I know from my past trips to grief-town that in times of great upheaval, grief is a teacher. A place to learn from, a place to visit (although it seemed an extended visit this time) a place to reconcile with yourself about your inner working, good, bad or indifferent. How you lead your life and how you tolerate pain and patience.

I have always lead with patience and understanding, but I’ve felt myself slipping into leading with sorrow and grief. If it is not in the forefront of my mind and actions, then it is simmering in the back just waiting to return. And I wonder if this grief is different because of how deep I was pushed into that emotion when my daughter died.

Running from the bad was never my thing, so I know I’m not the type to feel a pinch and go. I will need to cry an ocean of tears and exhaust every avenue before I feel I can move from the place I am.

They say bad times make philosophers out of us all, Nietzsche said that pain is the key to deep thought, but I do find in times of grief, there are more of a catalyst for self-assessment, more time to look at how and why of your internal motivations. What hold you back, what moves you forward.

At the moment I’m learning, and the lessons are brutal.

 

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