Grief is a heavy weight.
We all carry grief differently, but there is no escaping its weight.
My image of grief is a big, heavy rock – too heavy to carry. I have tried to ignore it, but it follows me – sneaking up behind me when I least expect it.
I have tried to cover it up, like you might put a blanket over a pile of laundry you don’t want your mother to see. But, it’s still there when I move the blanket.
I have watched people I love pretend that their grief isn’t real – making it into the punchline for an uncomfortably unfunny joke. For all of their pretending, that rock doesn’t disappear – it becomes the foundation for all of the other lies they tell themselves and others.
I have sat with my grief – hoping it will get smaller.
I have brought my grief with me to work – bad idea.
I have tried to rationalize with my grief – tried to convince it to just let me go back to life before its constant companionship – to no avail.
Some people never figure out how to carry the weight of their grief and they are crushed beneath it. I don’t want that to be me.
I think about boxes and bags and all the ways we carry things.
I think about science – levers and fulcrums and ways to move the heaviest of heavy things.
I think about my kids carrying their books in backpacks stuffed full of heavy books.
The only way to carry grief is to feel it – to struggle with it until it starts to break apart and can be carried with you in a special knapsack that will hold all of the pieces.
Someday I will open the knapsack. I will see the pieces and think about how far I have traveled with that extra weight. Someday I will make something beautiful out of those pieces – something that is meaningful and helps other people as they grapple with the weight of their grief.
But, for today, I will put my knapsack on – full of my questions and my struggles and the weight of my grief. And I will move forward slowly.
One step at a time.