Be strong. Don’t cry. You should be happy. He wouldn’t want to see you like this. Don’t let him see you like this. Don’t cry. He’s in a better place. You should be happy. You’re lucky. Just try again. Be strong. Keep busy. Just have another one. Don’t think about it. Move on. Let go. Move on. Life goes on. Don’t cry. Be strong. I’m hurt. I’m hurting, too. Don’t make people sad. You’re making people sad. You should be better. You should be healing. Let him go. Don’t dwell. Don’t cry. Move on. Be strong.
The weight of those words, those demands on my grief and mourning, were enough to shatter me. I have no doubt I would have found myself in need of long-term, intensive psychological care if it weren’t for these words: Sit with your grief; honor your feelings.
Sit with your grief; honor your feelings.
These seven words were my refuge. I built a new home with them. I stacked my walls with everyone grieves differently and curtained my windows with there is no timeline. This is where I began to find solace, in my shelter that was fortified with words against words. I built my home out of words that gave me permission to cry and to be angry and to hurl those damn eggshells hard against the ground.
I made my bed of missing and wishing and prayers and reliving the morning I gave birth to my son and held him and saw him in his father’s arms. I made that bed. And I lay in it. And that’s how I regained life. I fed off the words of other grieving mothers. I drank of the tears that spilled freely despite don’t cry don’t cry don’t banging on my door and move on move on urging through my windows.
I sat with my grief. I was still. Not in the physical sense, because the sobs did wreck me. I was still with my grief. I was still in letting it rise like fog or fall like rain—whatever it needed to do. I breathed it in, honored it like it was my child—It’s what I had left. I breathed it out. I exhaled my mourning into words and art and prayer and intention. This is what brings me comfort. This is what saves me.
What does sitting with grief mean to you?
What does it look like? What does it feel like? How often, if at all, do you find yourself doing this?
And because we all find solace in different places, where do you find yours? What helps you cope? How do you mourn?