Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

After People Return Home

After the shock of death wears off, after the rush of funeral details ends, after tears have slowed, after the people who have brought food have returned home and condolence cards have stopped arriving, after you have accepted that this death happened and all the rituals of bereavement have been observed, there is the first day when there are no expectations and nothing that you have to do.

What do you do?

On this day, just exist in the moment. Do not think about the past. Do not think about how your future has changed. Do what you feel like doing in this moment – play golf, go to the movies, bake a pie. If you change your mind after you start, do something else. Enjoy the simple pleasures of the day.

Go outside and walk around the neighborhood. The sun will feel warm on your skin, like the reassuring touch of a friend on your shoulder. Breathe in the fresh air. Listen to the birds sing and notice what the trees are doing. Are they beginning to bud or are leaves about to fall? Are the trees full and green, or are covered in snow and waiting for spring? Watch them in the weeks to come. They will do something that mirrors your journey through grief.

Tomorrow may be the same as today. This day may last a week. 

One day after this first day, you will feel life drawing you back into its flow. You will pick up your life and move on. As you rediscover the joy of living, you will also be mindful of death. There is wisdom in this. Take one step today. Take another step tomorrow. Although you may have felt that your life was over, you realize now that it isn’t. And your heart, though torn, battered, and bruised, has grown larger because of having to cope with something that you weren’t sure you could handle.

Your heart becomes more sensitive to the grief of others. You may cry whenever someone does something nice. You will either open your life wider and become more compassionate, or you will turn inward and become bitter. And you have to decide which path you will take.

In the brokenness of life, the eternal lives.

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