Grief has mass. Carrying it takes energy. Grief defies the laws of physics. The weight of the mass varies. Its ups and downs are unpredictable. It can arrive unannounced, but sometimes we know that it is coming. Holidays. Birthdays. We know that it is near; that moment when the grief gets so heavy it can crush us. It may come on gradually or suddenly, and even as we know, we can’t plan or prepare. There is not enough energy in the universe for us to be able to carry it when it gets that heavy. So we succumb. For if we don’t allow ourselves to put the grief down and just be with it, then we will collapse under its weight.
So we must find a way to be with our grief. We must create our own tools. Find our mantras. Gather our strength. And wait until the weight subsides.
For these times I built my grief compass and, incorporated in it, is my mantra. Grace. Discipline. Gratitude. Passion.
- Grace: May I find the grace to let all of those around me be as they need to be. May I find the grace to traverse this journey, grief in hand, and not impose my pain on others.
- Discipline: May I invoke the discipline to give myself permission to grieve. May I call forth the discipline to take care of myself, and allow myself to communicate to others what I need to take the next step in this journey.
- Gratitude: May I never close my eyes for the night or forever without remembering all I have and all I had. And may I be forever grateful.
- Passion: May I never stop looking for it. For if we can find our passions in life and embrace them we will find that each breath is worth taking.
My daughter died when she was 23. As her 26th birthday approaches I know that the laws of physics are about to be upturned and I will be flattened by grief. I don’t know when it will hit me or how long it will last. But when it does I will remind myself to follow my compass. And then, when I am ready, I will get up and give thanks for all that I have and all that I’ve had.