My father-in-law passed away yesterday.
He was a great man who left an indelible impression on the world and all who knew him.
He was ill, and we knew it was coming, but death is never completely welcome.
Grief from death shows up differently for everyone.
For some the experience is physical.
I once heard someone describe the experience of her grief from losing her husband as pain she felt all the way to her bones.
For some the experience is mental.
They are confused, cloudy, lost, displaced, feel like they are in a fog.
For some the experience is emotional.
They are sad, depressed, angry, bitter, lonely, empty, shocked…
Or even sometimes relieved and grateful.
Most of the time, it is all of these things.
Layer upon layer, all wrapped up and over and around each other.
We say we are grieving, but the experience is so complex, one word doesn’t do it justice.
No wonder we feel like it may never end.
Like it keeps coming like waves on the shore.
Sometimes like a tsunami.
So how do we untangle the giant ball of string that is our grief?
We could just start cutting it up.
Compartmentalizing all of the pieces in order to get through.
But that just creates a different kind of mess.
Instead, we must find one end and start following it til we come to the first knot.
We have to uncover all of the feelings and thoughts we are having…
Recognize and allow ourselves to feel them…
And then move on to the next knot.
It takes time.
And compassion for ourselves.
But in the end, we end up with a fresh bundle of string,
Free of knots,
Ready to be woven into something even more beautiful.
It all begins with a thought!