This is probably the fifth or sixth post I’ve tried to write over the last week. We’ll see if this is the magic one where I actually follow through on finding the traction to finish it and press “publish.”
I once wrote- about 4 months after losing my brother- that my dance with grief had become a 2 steps forward, 5 steps back, side shuffle kind of situation. And I’m feeling that.
In the 2 weeks since we lost Sam, I’ve had moments of gaining momentum and feeling reoriented and optimistic. These are brief spans where I pull myself up high enough to see above the clouds and remember there is still so much beautiful territory of life to explore.
But those periods are short and sparse. More often than not the ground crumbles out from under me, and I find myself collapsing back onto the grounds of grief.
I know there’s gifts here, but I hate this territory.
I’ve been here so much the past few years that part of me is in denial over being here again. And the knowledge- based on previous experience and journeys- that there are no short-cuts, bypasses, bargains, time-warps or bail outs is a tiresome nut to crack.
I know that in these lands one just keeps moving as best you can, try to navigate whatever comes up, and work on taking care of your heart. Eventually you’ll find that you’ll have more and more moments where you can see above the clouds, gleaning hope from the horizon.
After a while, you’ll discover you’ve wandered into new land with much more space- there’s a lot of love waiting there, and I look forward to that. But for now, I’ve been lost in the valley, and I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not without tools.
My backpack is full of survival gear from previous experiences.
My words are a ladder, which often have the ability to help me understand and organize my experience. In those written moments I climb higher, breathe easier, and transcend.
I have multidimensional perspective- experiential, psychological, emotional. Spiritually, I often sense Sam still close by, my brother feels close too, white angel lights keep appearing: I’m not without guidance or friend in this space.
(Though the tricky thing about grief is that its presence is so strong it will make you feel incredibly alone, even if you’re not.)
And I’ve got a book- the one I wrote after the loss of my brother- which maps out the basics of any good grief journey. There is knowledge in those words, but it’s been long enough since I traveled them, even I forgot parts of the territory.
As I was writing in my journal this morning, feelings like “bitterness,” “disillusionment,” “chaos,” “anger,” and “confusion” came pouring out. I had a flash of deja vu and realized:
I’ve been here before. I’ve written these same words. I’ve felt these same things. This is “Chaos and Love” from Lamentations of The Sea. It’s all different this time, and yet it’s the same. This is grief. This is grief doing its work of disorganization and disarray and dissolution and disorientation.
This is just grief shaking things up and out and rearranging my heart, psyche, and spirit once more.
And it’s just going to take time. The moment by moment, step by step, day by day kind of time, which you can’t skip over but have to live through.
So with that, I’ll wrap this up in the hopes that today will be the day I find that extra push, which helps me find enough momentum to polish and publish. Letting these words be a cairn along the grief path, which say:
I was here. I traveled in this space. Others will pass here too.
Because even if you can’t always see above the clouds, that doesn’t means there isn’t hope and clearer days on the horizon. And maybe these words will be used in another future work, which helps shine a light of hope on the path reminding – –
Even if grief likes to make us think we are alone, we are never, ever alone on the journey.