I thought I was doing well. Especially after a visit to say good-bye to someone I loved.
…and every day since.
In counseling today I had all of the words and none of the words.
Grieving as a single is hard.
There it is.
I have had some complicated grieving to do that started in the fourth quarter of last year. It is complicated, as if grief were not complicated enough on it’s own, because there are complicated relationships and pasts involved….there is the fact that two of them trigger my mother wound….there is the fact that one involves decisions that got made FOR me more than BY me, but none of it matters…at least not now.
So…if I didn’t have just grief in all of its complicated glory, I have all of the “extras,” as my counselor put it today.
Extras. Not like the extras that come say with….oh whatever. Not good extras. I can’t make it funny.
So I find myself grieving…with extras…while also single, and therefore (gasp) alone. It is every bad word you want to contemplate right now. All the #$&*.
I am grieving and single, and I swear I need some sort of t-shirt or button, but definitely something that announces I am in the vicinity so people can flee. #bless On my good days I am fine. On the bad (like the past 2 out of 3) when the grief sneaks up behind me like a bad prank, I am broken and lost and teary and in pain. In the middle of my counseling session, I started doubling over because my stomach went into knots at just the memory of this past Sunday. A day that was everything HOLY. So much so that I wanted it to last and last. I didn’t want it to be over….because once it was over. It was…done.
I don’t know what to do with all of this grief. This newfound crop of emotions that I have never had to feel because I boxed them up so perfectly in the past. What do I do with all of THIS?!?!
Feel it you say?
Well, feeling it will surely kill me. At least in this moment it feels that way….and I know….
It. Will. Pass.
I was supposed to go to the gym tonight, but I couldn’t. I needed a glass of wine and my keyboard because ALL of the words were brimming over. So if you can imagine me doubled over in pain, typing this all out as the words come to my fingertips….it is okay to laugh. I am a sight.
I have been injecting the song “So Will I (100 Billion X)” into a lot of my posts lately - both here and on the micro-blogging I do on Instagram. The song is intoxicating to me in this season of wrestling through my grief.
This section of lyrics below literally made me gasp tonight in the car as I drove home…as if I was hearing them for the first time, and let me be clear - I. Was. NOT. - as you speak….a hundred billion creatures catch YOUR breath….
And as You speak A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath Evolving in pursuit of what You said If it all reveals Your nature so will I I can see Your heart in everything You say Every painted sky A canvas of Your grace If creation still obeys You so will I So will I So will I
Even now typing them out I started crying. My heart breaking and in wonder simultaneously. God I know you are there…here….right here beside me, but oh God it hurts.
Good-byes for me are fraught with painful memories. I am not ashamed to say that the thought of never seeing someone again this side of heaven leaves me breathless. How can it be?
Then I am shaken back to the song still playing…
And as You speak A hundred billion failures disappear Where You lost Your life so I could find it here If You left the grave behind You so will I I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done Every part designed in a work of art called love If You gladly chose surrender so will I I can see Your heart Eight billion different ways Every precious one A child You died to save If You gave Your life to love them so will I
If you left the grave behind YOU so will I. Could that mean….even me, even in this specific loss, even in this grief consuming me???
I believe it could….
I need those I love to know that I am hurting and (extra) awkward and bleeding openly at times, and some of that is absolutely because I am forced to process this grief all on my own (counselor once every two weeks notwithstanding). I don’t need anyone to “fix” that for me. Please, for the love, do not set me up on any dates. I don’t need a “somebody” anymore today than I needed them prior to this season (and no that doesn’t mean that I don’t want a date or great love or a champion in my life). It means….that processing grief for me has some caveats that often will result in me oversharing or under-sharing or taking a little longer in all of this….SIMPLY because I have to do the bulk of the work solo. I don’t need a pity party (or again…a date). I need understanding. Kindness. Hugs….lots of (((HUGS))). I need you to “get” that I am working very hard to walk this season out well. I am trying to operate with copious amounts of grace and kindness.
I also want you to know that God is absolutely right here with me in all of this. Solo (or single) is relative because I am in near constant conversation with God as he sits next to me and holds my hand, not to mention my heart, as he walks me through this….see….he TOO wants me to walk this season out well. He knows better than any of us how important it is for me to grow through this series of lessons. He was there with me when grief first struck my heart as a child, and even when I didn’t believe he was…he was at every heartbreak since…and he knows what this is taking for me to push through and not retreat into my old bad habits of numbing and hiding and did I mention…the kraft-paper gift wrapped boxes with the red bows where prior to 2016 I stored everything and everybody that ever hurt me or left me or broke my heart.
I should be embarrassed by this post. Something inside me whispers those words right now, but I am NOT. I have hid from so much in my life. Kept other’s secrets. Kept my own. I have lived in the shadows of what my heart felt and saw and had done to it. I have spent a lifetime trying to make everyone around me happy + healthy + comfortable and I am no longer for it (I was failing at it anyway). I simply cannot put anybody and everybody above the breaking of my own heart, and right now mine is shattered because of other’s lack of care for me…because of my own foolishness….because of death. My heart deserves to mourn…right, wrong, or indifferent. Not only does it deserve to mourn, it (rearing up in all of it’s newfound healthy glory) is demanding it. Single, married, or otherwise…I have to honor my heart and figure out how to let it grieve in a healthy manner. My heart, for all intensive purposes, is presently the BOSS of me.
I also want to be brave.
Two people this past Sunday (unbeknownst to the other) texted me how brave I was for doing/handling the day as I had, and I so appreciated that. I didn’t think of it as brave prior to their words, but I guess it was…actually, it was. Truly. I could have made other choices, but then again….there is this word hanging around my neck….lyon kè, and I want to walk that out. There is a little boy in Haiti (one of thousands) who lost his mother back in 2013 just a few weeks before I met him. I have watched him grow these past five years, and I want to be as brave as he is…Every. Day. That is my litmus test for walking through this year….can I walk it out as bravely as Tacura?
There is no shame in grieving or in being single, but there is shame in not honoring and doing both well. I know better now, and therefore I must do better.
I wrote this Sunday night after spending a day saying good-bye…
Note to Self. // Never forget. The view of the fog so thick you could no longer see two cars ahead of you. The crunch of the rocks under your tires as you wound down the tiny road. The creak of the gate as you turned the handle. The beat of your heart as you walked so slowly. The feel of the rocky soil beneath your hands. The words you said to her and the words you heard back. The view of the woods just beyond the fence line. The history you know as well as your own on every …tombstone you passed by, saying hello. The feel of the breeze on your face. The moistness of the air. The smell of the earth….and then…The sound of the river flowing over rocks. The sound of the wind in the trees. The coldness of the water flowing through your fingers. The heart rocks all around. The coldness in them as you held them tight. The memories of those long gone before you were even born. The signs reminding you of lives and hearts that intertwined three and four generations back. All flowing through your blood and bone now. Never forget the tears that fell. The grief that you bore and released. The ones you loved…that loved you so well. The gratitude that washed over you as a sprinkle of rain fell and then the sun peeked out over the clouds in the distance. Grief can convert to joy. The love goes on and on and on…
…and it does…the love goes on. I am counting on it.
Some photos from Sunday….
Buffalo National River + Hwy 14 Bridge
God was EVERYWHERE.
Writing…The Only Thing I Know To Do
So many lives intertwined up to four generations back just right here.
A reminder of all the times I crested the mountain here knowing I was almost home.
This is where it all began for me. A simple blog started back in 2011 has led to all of this. I consider my writing the place where God and I get real with each other. My process is a little odd in that I don’t prep as much as I sit down and just let the Holy Spirit take over the keyboard. The process is HOLY and offering all of it up to a world that judges so harshly….well that feels vulnerable and terrifying. Yet, this is where God and I work it all out, and I share because other writers shared their stories with me. That is what we do…we pass down our stories to each other like breadcrumbs. We are all in this together.