Today I sat with the belief that we carry grief, as we do love. It is not my idea, but I sure do like it. It brings me peace. I have heard many reference this two handed carry but it is Megan Devine to whom I will give credit, as she is the voice that rooted it for me. Refuge in Grief is her site, if you haven’t already.
The soothing part of carrying grief as we do love is that while grief can be big, so can love! If we can love big, so can we grieve. Nice, hey?
But today it inverted for me. Circled. Caught me a little off guard. For I was thinking about those living, whom I grieve. Those who need my boundaries such that I can grow this me. That is a hard kind of grief, for the living. It is complicated. Sometimes it is disenfranchised, as there are people to whom I cannot speak of it because they might expect otherwise of me and I just don’t need to know that . . . And it sure as heck is anticipatory. Grieving the living means you know one day your process will be tested because that person will die. How big will that second variation be? How well did I cover ground while they are still breathing, so far from me? From my literal heart.
And then it landed. I was sitting on my balcony in the breeze with the soothing sound of my small waterfall nearby. What if carrying grief, also enables you to love in new ways? What if it enables you to love . . . more?
Grieving the living makes the related love feel small. I needed a real, live ending in order to walk this path. What was offered was not enough, and it sure was painful. In picking up the hand of grief, I was able to let loose the fingers of love. Put them down so they could do the loving they really needed to do. As if picking up grief – in this case – was also picking up the mirror I kept trying to wipe clear, and turning it around . . . Pulling my shoulders back like a mother would tell a child that grew before the other kids, and boldly holding up my mirror like I could Say Anything.
But I have been walking around for some time now with this carry of grief for more than one living person. And I have named things when they hurt. Absences. Memories. Choices. More choices. Still more choices . . . And this is where the surprise peaks up. Being this clear version of me grows all kinds of love, but I now see that it grows love from the grief that has spread out and gotten comfy. The grief that feels like home. The grief that is known to me, that is mine. So that means its equal has grown by default, almost like the Grinch’s heart.
That thing we could not do together, well I appear to have done it without . . . you. If you are reading this Mom – because I suspect you check now and then – I have been mothering myself, so you don’t have to worry. And if you are not my mother, I hope you take a wee peek at your own grief, to see what it is brewing. One open palm, and another.