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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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Turning Away

When loved ones die, we eventually have to turn away from them if we are going to move on with our lives. It’s not one big turning we do, but hundreds of small movements, and some are made for us.

I turned away when I took that first breath in the ICU and you did not.

I turned away when I left your room the last time, and left my hope for a miracle on the floor.

I turned away when I fell asleep in my chair at home, unable to stay awake, even as I listened for a phone call to tell me it was all a mistake, the diagnosis was wrong, and you unexpectedly woke up.

I turned away when I eventually began to eat again, thus saying that I would not be dying with you.

I turned away when I ended my week’s vigil and returned to work.

I turned away after the memorial service, feeling that with the Ritual of the Dead, you were officially gone.

I turned away when I stopped praying after 49 days for your safe passage to your new place, feeling there was nothing more I could do.

I turned away when I began to think of where I would go from here, because it acknowledged that my life was going to be different than what I had with you.

I turned away when my grief became more about my sorrow and less about your life.

I turned away from life because of death.

I turned away from love because of the darkness.

But I do not turn away from grief. I will walk with it through the Valley of the Shadows to the other side of the mountains and find what is left.

By the time I make the conscious decision to turn away and let you go, I have already, unknowingly, turned away a thousand times. Yet this decision is the hardest one. It breaks my heart, and it turns me back towards grief. But this turning also takes me deeper into love and opens me back up.

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