I read a website yesterday that suggested you should "lean into the pain" while grieving. I found it an interesting directive. But I think I like it.
I've had contacts from others, locally and nationally -- mostly other mothers -- who have lost their children. They have given me dates like 1996 and 2000 when their precious little ones left them. Their grief still seems fresh in their writing. I am devastated for them -- as my husband said the other day, "This is NOT a club anyone wants to belong to", and frankly I'm frightened for myself. As much as I will miss Kiersten with a big part of my heart forever, and as much as I am profoundly sad that I will not have her in my life anymore, the prospect of continuing to grieve in this paralyzing way for another 13 years is scaring the crap out of me.
It's easy to find escapes from pain; drugs, risk-taking behavior, games, even work -- but I think that failing to "lean into the pain", might keep us from conquering it, or at least co-existing with it. I think "leaning into it" means to feel it, not just on the surface, but to meld with it, make it part of us, and to find it a home where it can exist and not cause us ongoing damage. I think I mentioned in an earlier post once that stress, pain, exhaustion can soften us at times; make us more open to change, allow us to accept that things are not what they once were.
It hurts to lean into the pain. It makes me cry and rage and at times to struggle to stand perfectly still, like a captain trying to steer a ship through a buffeting hurricane. But each time I do it, each time I let the pain pass through me, it seems to change in a subtle way. Maybe in time, it will not hurt as much.
BHD said the other day, "This is not your story." The parents who stop living and continue to grieve for years stretching into decades are not my story. But I think it will take a continual "leaning into the pain" for awhile to make sure of it. I'm not looking forward to it. But I think this is what I will have to do.