Can you envision life after grief? What will it look like? Where will you live? Who will be your friends? How will you fill your time? Take your journal, and write about your future. See it for what you want it to be.
I have given this prompt a lot of thought over the past month and a half since I had ideally hoped to post this on July 1st.
Over that time, I think I would have answered the question in different ways. There have been more hopeful days, and more desperate days and a lot of super overwhelmed days in between.
On some level, the only answer I can really count on is NO… I cannot envision life after grief. I cannot imagine not having certain thoughts, sights, feelings bringing me right back to the pit of despair.
And yet, even that answer demonstrates the way that things have changed.
About a month ago, when I was visiting with friends, and feeling totally supported and protected, I said I felt like I had finally got past the sucker punch part of grief.
It was not that I was "over" it – just like I didn't feel like a captive to it anymore. I didn't wake fearing the day. But I can still not reach sleep very easily.
I have not fully parsed the anger. There is so much anger at so many windmills because all of that anger gets me nowhere.
There is deep sadness, and I still often feel bereft.
Sometimes, I catch myself feeling lighter … not exactly happy, and that twinge of guilt reappears out of nowhere. Obviously it is lingering … waiting for the day when I actually deal with it.
I still regret all the days my sister and brother won't get – as if I were somehow to blame for that.
Is that life after grief?
I think about all of the manifestations of grief that I have already been through – and I imagine there are others that I have not yet passed through.
I am not sure that I can get to the future just yet, dealing with the present moment is about all I can manage – on a good day.
So, this is an incomplete journal challenge – the other questions are for another day.
A final note, I read this piece on a grief counselor's own journey through loss. It was remarkable. And it is part of a unique feature in the LA Times that allows for a moderated (read: no trolls) sharing of feelings about those who were victims of homicide in Los Angeles. It is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Grief is such an individual process, it can be so lonely. But all of us who have lost people precious to us, especially unexpected loss, have so much in common. I think our shared experience can be a balm, but so many turn away from grief. This doesn't fit into my regular news round up, but is something I wanted to remember to share.