Consuming. Grief is all-consuming. Anger, hate, fear, pain, loss....these are the things I've felt burned into my soul. The heaviness of these emotions can be unbearable. But they're all part of the process and must be experienced on my time. This is the lesson of grief. The different aspects come in waves and you can try to ignore them, but eventually they all come to a screeching halt, right in front of your face. This is still true of my process. And the most recent addition to the myriad of emotions?...overwhelming...GRATITUDE.
I didn't see this one coming. I expected the fear, the pain, the anger. I wasn't even all that surprised when all I could feel for any living person was burning hatred. Sadness was always going to be a factor, but gratitude? Where the hell did that come from?? And yet, here it is. Gratitude. I can see the beauty of life experience. I can understand the gift of tremendous pain. To be honest, I've put off writing this blog for some time now because I was imagining how I would have felt in the beginning had I come across it and realized that yet another grieving mother was spouting her blessings and thanking God, Allah, and Mother Nature for her good fortune. I would have thrown the computer against the wall. Ironically, it's exactly that spirit that made me decide to write it.
I can't tell anyone where their grief journey will take them. I wouldn't ever tell someone to count their blessings or to thank their lucky stars for the gift of renewed perspective. What I can say is that, in my own tiny corner of grief, beneath the dark layers of pain and hurt, there is the smallest light. I can't even say that I can fully comprehend where it came from or how far it extends because I'm still wading through darkness. But it's there. You can't go looking for it. You can't wish for it to get there sooner. You can't even know for sure that it will ever show up. You have to experience ALL of it. And feeling this way now doesn't mean that the other parts are less important, that they are the "bad" parts of grief, or that I won't be bogged down by them again. Certainly not. Don't worry...I'm still batshit crazy over here. But, I'm grateful that the coin always has two sides. Both equally as important as its counterpart.
So, what exactly am I grateful for? All of it. I'm grateful for the beauty of a community coming together to raise us up. I'm grateful for my friends and family who have said, "We'll take you any way we can get you. Broken or not. Even if that means not having you at all for awhile." I'm grateful to my children for continuing to want to hug a mother whose range of feelings for them has spanned the globe in the past year. I'm grateful to my husband for just being him, and for listening to his own heart when trying to navigate a way through the pain of a marriage that's been wounded by loss. I'm grateful to my baby for teaching me things that my tiny human brain would have never discovered on its own. He taught me to love. To REALLY love, and to mean it. I'm grateful to know a love whose mere touch is healing. And I'm grateful for grief and its all-consuming nature. Because it's still there. It still hurts. It still burns. I'm still consumed. But this time, by the need to share my most precious gift. Love.