The Weight of Grief: Will I Ever Feel Lighter?
When my mother died, I kept the grief at bay by caring for my ailing father. I thought I would be ready, but his death six months later felt like a tidal wave threatening to sweep me under. I will never forget how heavy I felt. I was surrounded by a loving family and supportive friends, but I could not escape the grief. You have to go through it in your own way and in your own time.
At my husband’s urging, I started therapy when my mother was first diagnosed with cancer. For me, it was a huge help in coping with all the little losses that preceded the final one. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but it was life saving for me.
I found writing to be an outlet that helped me deal with the complex emotions accompanying the grieving process. While sitting through doctor’s appointments and hospital visits, I filled notebooks where I poured out my sorrow with a non-judgmental pen.
As I wrote, I included the laughter that came with the sorrow. My mother and I always shared a sometimes dark sense of humor. It provided much needed light in the harshest situations. I will never forget the nurse giving me a booklet entitled Dealing with the death of a loved one. I thought mother was asleep, when she suddenly quipped, “Reckon that’s one title that won’t make the best seller list.”
My dad was quite the character, and when I read over the journals now, I can smile at the memories that were once so painful.
No matter how difficult your loss may seem, time passes and life resumes.
I do not believe in closure, but prefer the word “enclosure.” It is defined as “The act of enclosing something inside.” I know from experience that the grief that felt so heavy at its onset eventually lightened and enclosed my heart with memories of joy and comfort.