Everyone tells you that grief comes in waves; undulating waves of melancholy and longing, brief interruptions of staggering heartache that cripples and consumes your being.
They were right.
Grief has no shape or size; it isn’t tidy or neat, packageable or compact. It’s all-encompassing. It strikes you when you least expect it, alone on a rainy Saturday, midnight stillness, it climbs through your bedroom window bringing milky tears, a throbbing heart and throbbing bones.
You walk through life wearing an armour of intrepidity, a cape of tenacity, your head held high, people wonder why you’re smiling. You wake up every day and skirt around the shakiness, the glass heart in its fragile cage, out of fear of it shattering. There are tasks to be completed, there are things to be done, and the cage cannot be rattled, not until you’re home, not until you’re alone at night, tucked up in bed, waiting.
Sometimes we must relinquish our shield, take off our suit of armour, plunge into the well of darkness, and let ourselves be swallowed by the stubborn grip of grief’s strong arms. We must be held beneath the surface, let the water fill our lungs.
It is only a moment, a season, a spell, a storm. Rainclouds and booming thunder, ferocious waves which batter the shore. Everything feels heavy. It unearths us, strips us naked, and bears our brittle heart to the howling wind.
We feel it all, in the depths of our being, swollen eyes, soft longing and quiet missing and then ever so slowly it slips away, climbs back into its cage, locks the door and settles down, to return again another day. This is the truth of grief and we must surrender to its power.
For if we do not feel, we do not heal, and I’m told that healing is important.