…through life…through grief…through healing…
I have been reflecting on the journey through grief again. It hits me every year! Maybe this year especially, I am reflecting early because our second baby is due to be born in 6-7 weeks. 6 weeks from now is the anniversary date of my sister’s death. Am I willing to share this momentously tragic day with one of the greatest joys of my life? I don’t know if I am ready.
Thus I reflect on the journey through the land of grief. Sometimes I feel like Grief’s borders gerrymander around the towns of Joy, Peace, Trust…you get the idea, right? I can be in a place of Trusting my God, of being at Peace with where I am and how far I have come, and then BOOM! Grief. How did I end up back here??!!!?
Thankfully, it does not happen as frequently as it has in the past. But the scars are real. I know I have written before about the scars. Not one of us is injury free, right? Whether that injury is physical or emotional, we all have scars. We all have experienced the annoyance of cuts and wounds as they heal. They itch. They get infected. They eventually heal and fade, and yet the scar remains. And then, years later, that scar is itchy, irritated, inflamed. Why??? I thought this was healed!!! We are reminded of that experience because of the irritation that is present.
The same is true for our emotional scars, especially those gained through grief. We “feel” healed, those around us tell us we should be healed, and then the irritation/tears begin all over again. Something as simple as a song, a memory, a phrase can trigger it. Unless someone else has experienced this as well, others don’t seem to understand. They get frustrated that we have entered back into the town of Grief.
Each time i find myself back there though, I learn and grow even more. I don’t get lost on the streets like I used to. The glow from Peace, Joy, and Trust do not fade like they did before. So I can leave just as quickly as I came. That is part of healing. I am no longer stuck in Grief. Yes, it sneaks up on me. But it no longer owns me. And in hindsight, it never did. The journey of Grief, though unexpected many times, is an opportunity to reflect once the grips of Depression have been released. When we find ourselves in Grief and can quickly walk back to the surrounding towns, that is when we know healing has taken place. Yes, the triggers remain. However, the intensity of that trigger does not have the power it once did.