“Grief doesn’t happen in this vacuum, it happens alongside and mixed in with all these other emotions.”
— Nora McInemy, TedTalk, 4/9/19
In Nora McInemy’s Ted Talk on her grief journey, she states that we don’t “move on” from grief. We move forward with it. This is so true for me. The connection that my husband, Ted and I shared -- knowing him, my life with him, and the loss of him, will be with me forever. So I cannot “move on” from what’s a part of me, because to me that implies shutting a door and closing something off. But I can, and I am, taking this with me, integrating this into who I am now, moving forward into a new way of being. And what I am finding, after almost 18 months on this journey, alongside the pain, is an enormous feeling of gratitude and love. Like the Grinch, I think the experience of my heart shattering into a gazillion pieces has helped it to grow and become larger. Yes, the pain is still there. It will always be there. We all lost so much that day. But alongside and mixed in are so many other emotions. I ask my heart to open up to these other emotions, so I am not consumed by the pain and loss and anger. Here’s a way that I do that:
I spend a few minutes most mornings in what I call my grief time, where I grieve losing Ted and being in the world without him. I cry, smile at a funny memory we share, and communicate with him on some level. I can feel him join me there. The Avett Brothers song “No Hard Feelings” includes this line “Holding onto the love I’ve known in my life.” I use “Breathing in the love I’ve known in my life.” As I breathe it in, it helps to break up the anger, pain, fear that’s there, because love is stronger. I ask God and the universe to help me heal. The anger, sadness, and fear are valid, and it’s okay that I feel them, but I don’t want them to consume me. I want to use them to help me, and be able to open up to other emotions. One way they help is to remind me that life is precious and beautiful, and feeling them helps me to open up to gratitude, appreciation, and love. I think of the things that I’m grateful for — my family, my friends, the love I’ve known in my life, my work, my health, a warm cup of coffee, the beauty in the world, that we’re all riding the waves, in this struggle called life together. And then I breathe those qualities out into the world and carry them into my day and into the world.
Wishing you peace and healing,