There is nothing like witnessing when others go through their season of grief to remind you of where you are in yours. It’s not as fresh as theirs. Not as raw. It is a once stiff sweater that fits without the tugging and the pulling. It is a pair of shoes you have finally broken in and the pinky toe no longer screams in protest.
Their grief surrounds planning a funeral, choosing a casket, accepting visitors. Yours may be cleaning out another drawer, discovering the thimble they used to use when sewing. Their mourning has just begun. Yours is in full effect.
I was that bereaved daughter who called up her girlfriends and proceeded to dismantle my mother’s bedroom three weeks after the funeral. I’m sure folks thought I was all types of crazy or insensitive or whatever one chooses to describe a person who they think is dishonoring the memory of their loved one. I had just started a new job and the Clincian in me just knew I couldn’t go into the fall with this hanging over my head. One church member got a wheelchair in June, not two years later. Another got all new medical supplies. Some children in Africa got wipes and hygiene products sooner rather than later. With the help of my friends, folks as far as Haiti and as near as down the street were able to be blessed by my mother’s items. Her possessions are now in my garage, waiting for the season when I’m prepared to sift through the hundreds of cassette tapes, materials I will one day turn into skirts, the collection of pins I will one day wear.
So, yeah…somewhere today, there’s two friends waking up without a sister. Another without two uncles. Their life has turned upside down, inside out. They will cry for days on end. Their tears will come uninvited and on display for all to see for the coming weeks. Their burdens will be heavy.
Somewhere this month, someone celebrated her mother’s birthday two years after her death. She would have gotten a phone call or two–from those who remembered. Somewhere today someone is feeling a bit anxious about the possibility of her childhood home getting a makeover. It will mean the floral velvet couches she’s known all her life will be switched out for something else. Something not of her mother’s.
You see, grief doesn’t have a beginning or end time. It’s a continuum of emotions that can have you laughing one moment and bawling the next. Grief is a passage, where you never stay in one place. You move. Sometimes at a fast clip. Sometimes barely crawling. Always moving.