Beautiful Grief

I sat slumped over on the hardwood floor. The sun was shining in slanty lines across the corner of the house that wasn’t in boxes. I stared there instead of the top of the staircase, where the life we built over the past three years – the one built up of 22 years of two people mushed together – sat waiting in a pile of boxes to be shipped off to a garage off Merrill Street. That pile hit me in the face as I walked through the door today. I started crying, finally. I sat on the hardwood floor, leaned against my husband, put my face in my hands, and cried. The weight of reality finally settled into me. It didn’t crush me. It kind of sat there next to me, warm and heavy. There was no reasoning with it, no escaping it, no telling it to wait awhile. The only option was to wrap my arms around it and embrace it.

I haven’t been able to put my finger on what this is supposed to feel like: moving out of a home we knew was not our home; packing up suitcases we will live out of for the next few months; realizing those same suitcases will board a plane that will take us far away from all of this that inevitably came to be just what it never meant to become: home. I think I’ve got a handle on it now. It’s supposed to be like this. This overwhelming, inconceivable grief that has lingered for a long time disguised itself as haughtiness and over-confidence. I have waited for it, begged for it, and prayed for it. Three days ago I wrote in my journal asking God for tears to come, for some kind of understanding to sit in front of me and let me hold it. Today I say, “welcome, old friend.”

Sadness is not an enemy. I haven’t been trying to avoid it, only spending the days trying to figure out how to reconcile with it. Tears and transition are soothing, in a way. For weeks I’ve been in a fog of opinions and cluttered emotions and loftiness that has been overbearing. I’ve felt how I felt in high school: a hot, tangled mess of a girl trying to figure out who she needed to be for the whole wide world. I hate that feeling. So I welcome sadness. I’ll invite it in to chat for a while. I’ll confront this letting go in an honest and raw way. It’s good because you can stare at it and scream at it and it won’t stare and scream back. It will just sit there with you until it decides to leave, in it’s own time. When it does, you’ll be scarred and new and beautiful.

There is beauty in grief, in the cathartic release of tears and the steady stream of letting go. I am glad for the capacity to feel deeply, cry loudly, and embrace strongly. Sorrow is a welcome friend these days, one that carries me through each moment and leaves me stronger and surer than the last.

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