It’s been three years since my mother died and I’m so over the grieving process.
She was my best friend. My light in each day. My safe place. My home.
And then she was just gone.
The first year was naturally horrible, but it felt manageable.
The second year, I wasn’t so sure I was going to survive without her. I lost control of who I was.
This third year, though, has been pure magic.
I have been told countless times that everyone grieves differently. I should grieve at my own pace. There is no right way to grieve. This may all be true.
But, the years have allowed me to manifest a new way of handling life’s great losses, and it all blossomed from taking responsibility for my own state of mind.
Peace comes from within
. I truly believe that. Anyway.
The word grief is defined as a deep sorrow. We associate it almost exclusively with death, but it can, and should, be related to all emotional distresses we encounter. Sorrow can stem from anywhere.
Either way, its connotations are negative. They’re dark.
When people encouraged me to grieve, it was if they were allowing me to be overcome by this deep sorrow. I had permission to act as I wanted. The word, to me, had felt like a crutch.
And this is why I don’t want to grieve any more.
I associated it so drastically with the heaviness I felt. The heaviness I was trying so hard to shake. The more I told myself that I was just grieving, the worse I felt.
The idea of a grieving process made me feel as if I would never be okay. That life wouldn’t be beautiful again.
I had struggled for so long because I never understood how much of this process was mine to navigate alone. I tried so hard to rely on other things, people, habits. You name it.
I think I was trying to take on mechanisms that fit into the overall ideal of grief.
The concept was confusing because I felt as though people were expecting me to embrace this sorrow and let it consume me because grieving is natural.
I assure you, there is nothing natural about capitalizing on a concept that directly means “to be sorrowful.”
The sorrow is natural. The heaviness is natural. The darkness is natural. How we respond is even natural.
But, this word. This grief. It can be crippling when all we truly need to do is move forward.
I decided to drop the concept of grieving, despite being told that I needed to grieve. I didn’t need to be consumed by her death any more. It didn’t feel healthy. Or natural.
I don’t think that grieving is a fabricated term, I just feel that the affiliations with the definition can be more hindering than helpful.
Most days, I think of my mother hourly. She is in everything I do. She consumes me, but my sorrow doesn’t.
As I’m aging, people are noticing things about me that are direct results of her upbringing. Without even trying, I am maintaining her existence.
Her story hasn’t ended just because her physical being has left. I can’t spend a lifetime grieving the loss of someone whose spirit is still alive.
These pieces of her shining through me are who I am. Every single day is a celebration of who she was whether I notice it or not.
It feels natural, as it always had.
This the process I’ve wanted. I’m certain this is the process she’d want for me.
Not to say the bad days don’t sneak in. They do.
If I think too hard about the finality of her death, I feel myself start to slip away. When I intently acknowledge the immensity of a future without her, nothing seems okay. It makes me afraid.
I’m only human.
But, like most things in life, time, space and distance have given me clarity. Clarity I longed for three years ago. Maybe my clarity can help you find yours.
No words or inspirational quotes can fix your loss. I’m not that naive. But, time is still moving as you look for a way to find a new normal.
You do not need to be sucked into a process that your soul isn’t meant to tolerate.
You need to find your peace.
Spend some time within your own mind space and allow the healing to begin on your own time and within your own limits.
Cry your eyes out. Question a higher power. Break something. Then, keep going.
Take this as a reminder that if you’re reading this, you’re still alive. You’re still here.
You have infinite moments to celebrate your own life and anyone else’s.
You don’t have to grieve forever. There is a light. It does get better.
But, it starts with you.
Sending you love, light and sunflowers,
Emily Perrott, The Sunflower Child