When my brother died by suicide eight years ago, I didn't know what to expect out of life after.
Do you go through the stages of grief, one at a time?
How long till you can laugh again?
Does the pain ever go away?
What do you do with this gaping black hole in your heart, this void that can't possibly be filled again?
Of course, I found some answers. But not all of them. And some of the same questions pop up again, and new ones show up just when I thought I've got things figured out.
Grief isn't straightforward.
Healing isn't linear.
This is what I think...
Grief lasts a lifetime.
Because life is all ebb and flow, not one without the other.
You have days you think are good, and others not so much. You laugh one minute and cry the next.
You'll feel yourself slipping, dissolving into despair like sugar into water -- you'll see it coming. Then, there won't be any rhyme or reason for the quick pang of emptiness that swallows you whole.
But, the truth is:
Grief changes as you change.
Wounds left uncared-for find creative new ways to get your attention. Like a child, begging to be seen and heard. Like the regret of what you couldn't do to save someone, it's something you can't ignore... not forever.
(If you have regrets, this prayer really helps.)
No matter how long it's been, some kinds of pain don't ever go away, not in this lifetime. They can shape-shift or turn, eventually, into beautiful gardens of growth and rebirth, but the seeds are still there.
Even the wound that fades into a scar is part of your life here and now. It's a sign of where you've been, who you've become, also a testament to your resilience, your will to keep going.
True, grief lasts a lifetime... but so do you.
Don't be too hard on yourself when you're going through hell for the millionth time. Give yourself a break when you're still not over something that happened a long time ago.
Forgiveness isn't always a one-time event. Sometimes, it's a decision you have to make again and again.
If yesterday was good but today you're a mess, forgive yourself for being human. Forgive again and again.
Start over. Start right where you are. Do what you can. Do this, again and again.
. . .
Which of these messages did you most need to read today?
Tell me in the comments. I'd love to know what you think, how you feel.
And look for next Tuesday's post for Part 2: "love lasts forever."
P.S. Get my Healing Heart Space meditation to help you breathe through the tough times. It's a special one.