How do we get comfortable with the grief we carry. Do we befriend it like a long-lost friend? The type of friend you rarely see but know deep down it's there in the wings to show up when you need it most. The kind of friend that shows a side of you people rarely see. The type of friend that gets you at your core. Or is grief the relative we don't talk about? Our Bruno(For the Disney fans).
Fourteen years since the loss of my Grandmother, I still face grief. Though not as shocking to the system as when she passed. It instead shows itself in slight waves that ripple through my soul. The ripples can bring me to my lowest, make me sad about missed opportunities, or help me rise, knowing how lucky I was to know her. At 86 years old, she was the matriarch of the family. Young-spirited with a definite sass. When she fell in the kitchen that day and broke her hip, she even made sure we got her makeup and a comb so she could make herself presentable for the firefighters. She was beautiful, magic, whimsical, and protective of her grandkids. Even writing this, I get a slight tear in the eye.
After fourteen years, I have come to terms with my friend, grief. Knowing some days will hit differently than others and honoring the moment it does. Instead of revisiting the what-ifs, I try to look at what my Grandmother's passing has given me. Since her passing, I changed my career as an artist, became a nurse, and focused my career on grief and the dying. Making sure it is my mission that no one dies alone.
Maybe that is what grief is. It pushes us outside our depths and makes us vulnerable to becoming something completely different from what we expected. If you had talked to my younger self twenty years ago and said I would be a nurse, I would have laughed. Grief is the waves, the urge to hide, but it can also be the strong impulses that invite change into our lives. Change you can't even imagine until you get to the moment and decide. What do I do with the grief that I carry? Do you hide? Or maybe after the storm has passed and the feelings felt, you welcome grief with curiosity. Ask yourself, "How can I grow from my grief?" Is it starting knitting classes to understand the knitting books she left behind? Or making a favorite recipe of hers just how she liked it? Grief can feel so big and overwhelming, but maybe the small steps taken to honor the grief can bring the change needed for the better.