Death of a loved one is hard. Grief and mourning suck but both are necessary to heal.
I say ‘heal’ only as a descriptor because healing is not a vacation or a pleasure cruise that has a beginning and an end.
Healing is ongoing – a lifetime endeavor. The grief to mourning to healing continuum is fluid. It was described as riding the grief train.
The grief train makes frequent stops on the long journey.
Sometimes passengers board to start the process, others hop off to try to resume some semblance of normalcy – only to board the train again down the line when they find they’ve jumped off too soon.
Many head straight for the sleeper car to hide themselves from the side-glances of pity or the seemingly endless condolences, withdrawing into themselves to process the pain – or to escape it.
As the journey continues scenery beckons, life goes on whether one wishes it to or not. The grief train keeps moving with forward momentum.
Memories sneak in – sometimes prompting a trip back to the sleeper car for a rest period. But with time crying lessens, and one peers out from behind the curtains with reddened eyes, eyelids rubbed raw.
When the emotions are overwhelming, one may climb the ladder up to the roof, hoping for a chance to crash into an upcoming tunnel. More than once.
But eventually trips to the sleeper car become fewer when memories can be accompanied by laughter and occasionally tears. The urge to climb up the ladder is a distant memory. The desire to heal becomes stronger than the need to suffer.
Moments of beauty produce gratitude.
Gratitude for the past.
Gratitude for love.
Gratitude for support during the dark times.
Gratitude for those who provide tools to help soften the blow.
Gratitude for the ability to feel gratitude.
Practicing gratitude, one can give thanks for the grief train, for the people one meets while riding the rails are there for a reason.
There are no coincidences, ever.