that was part of a text i received from my dear friend melissa at the start of the week. she knows how may tends to weigh on me and something i appreciate is how she doesn’t shy away from the dark and twisty shit life throws our way. and you know what? she is right. grief management is never ending. today marks four years since we lost grammy. on some days, it feels like it’s been a decade (with all that’s transpired since she’s been gone). on other days, it feels like it has been 10 seconds because on the days where i need a voice of reason, i almost feel like i cannot breathe without her.
for the first couple of years, there was a lot of learning to simply exist without her. four years in, i have certainly learned how to exist without her even if i am missing her terribly in the process. in the last year, it seems like my grandfather has aged a dozen years. it is difficult watching someone who is fiercely independent need help and guidance. it is even tougher knowing the person he would love to lean on most is the love is his life when that isn’t an option. lately, i have found myself asking: what would grammy do? she might have only been five foot two, but her presence was that of a giant.
“sometimes, only one person is missing, and the whole world seems depopulated.” -alphonse de lamartine
even without melissa never having met grammy, the quote she sent me above highlights just how well she understands what my grandmother meant to me and grief as a whole. to honor her this year, i want to lean into being my most unapologetic self and remember that life is nothing without the balance of the people and things you love.
for those of you struggling with your own grief, especially around mother’s day, just know you are not alone. sending you so much love.
it is no secret that i typically dread the month of may as i consistently feel overwhelmed with grief between the anniversary of my grandmother’s death paired with mother’s day. sometimes, it can feel all consuming. i am fortunate to have friends that make a conscientious effort to check in during this time. one that has done this consistently is gracelyn. this could be because she suffered a significant loss of her own a year prior (also in may). it could also be because she is one of the most empathetic humans i know. nonetheless, today, i am thrilled to share something with all of you that has already made my may a bit better – the grief workbook!
the grief workbook is something i know i will be filling out for the entire month, especially when i want to carve out space to reminisce about my grandmother. oftentimes, people are unsure about how they are feeling or don’t have a safe space to discuss their grief. this workbook is helpful with feeling exploration and is something that is as sacred as you want it to be.
i laughed. i cried. i smiled. i hugged a pillow. it is not lost on me that i am filling out this workbook from my late grandmother’s home (where papa still lives) while seated in her spot on the couch. may is typically an emotional rollercoaster. the page about a mixed bag of emotions helps to identify what those emotions are.
with me being such a music buff and grammy being someone who directed the church choir, i especially loved the page about creating a grief playlist. i am actually going to add this exact lineup to a spotify playlist this evening. it will be the theme of may.
sometimes, it is crazy to think of all that has happened since she transitioned. the page below really made me pause and give myself a pat on the back. the last four years haven’t been easy but they have certainly been filled with plenty of accomplishments i know she would be incredibly proud of.
have you thought about what your grief gold stars would be? do you carve out space to grieve at all?
with mother’s day being just around the corner, i know it can be a triggering time for many. rather than dodging the topic, i’d highly recommend getting this book for fellow grievers. you can find the book here.
this week has been filled with more meaningful conversations and revelations than i could have imagined. if 2020 has taught me anything, it is that life comes at you fast.
a couple of days ago, i was in session with a client and she just lost it. i held space as i watched her spiral on my screen. once she collected herself, she apologized. when i asked her why she was apologizing, at first she said that she was unsure. then, when she found the words, she stated that she was sorry for feeling too much. then there was a second apology – one for discussing the same topic in session more than once.
she apologized for feeling too much…in front of a professional…whom she hired…to process feelings with.
i not only am working with her on not feeling the need to apologize for feeling and doing so outwardly, but i also brought to her attention that she is guilting herself about not having worked through something she dedicates an hour or less to each week.
she certainly hadn’t thought of it that way. i had come across this quote last week and shared it with her:
“pain passes more quickly when we don’t criticize or shame ourselves for feeling it.”
not even 24 hours later, i sat at my dining table with two of the most resilient women i know and we discussed the power and courage behind vulnerability without shame or guilt. sometimes, we think that we aren’t progressing because of something on the outside but oftentimes, we are playing a part by getting in our own way. just imagine how good it could feel to process pain without shame or criticism.