Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Grief is My Badge

Grief. It's a big word. Enormous. It has enormous meaning and brings with it depth of emotion you never knew existed. We're taught to contain it (as if we could). We're told to keep it inside....to hide the emotions that come with it. Grief makes others uncomfortable. Grief is awkward. It's messy. It's not normal.
Except it is. For many of us....grief becomes our normal. It's a constant companion. It's the weight on our shoulders, the heaviness in our chest, the weariness in our eyes and the hollow in our heart. We learn how to carry it, to carry on.....in spite of the grief.  But no matter how adept we become at carrying that pain with us and wearing the mask of actual normalcy in public so as not to upset "the others" or make them cringe at hearing about our losses grief is always there.....just under the surface. Swirling slowly like a funnel cloud....twisting and churning......growing in strength until that moment you least expect it and suddenly- control is lost. The F5 cuts its path through your seemingly tidy life and upsets everything in it's way. You're left to survey the damage, pick up the pieces and wonder if you'll be able to put your life back together.....again.....for the millionth time.
There's another side to grief. To this luggage I carry. To the pain I walk hand in hand with every step of every moment of every day. There's a sense of security. There's a feeling of ...... honor. It's a badge.
There was a time when I prayed the grief would end. That I'd wake up just once and not feel the pain and emptiness that comes from the loss of them. That there'd be a finish line to this journey of constant sorrow. Somewhere along the way....I changed my mind.
I don't want the grief to end. I welcome it's presence in my life because as unpredictable and painful as it may be (is) the grief....the pain.....means they lived. They existed. No matter how briefly. For a moment----they WERE. I was (am) their mother. Dear God how I welcome and revel in that knowledge. They WERE. The grief means that I remember. An end to the hollow place in my soul.....a stop to the tears......would mean I've forgotten their tiny, perfect, beautiful faces. That I can no longer close my eyes and breathe in the memory of their scent. The end to the emptiness means I no longer feel their tiny bodies in my arms as I clutched them to me wishing.....BEGGING to be able to love them awake. Oh how I never want to forget.
And so.....I carry this grief. Willingly. Openly. Proudly. I wear it. And I will keep wearing it as long a there is breath in my lungs. I will wear with honor. Honored to have been chosen to be their mother. Honored to remember every moment they were with me. Honored to still feel the inexplicable mix of soul shattering pain and overwhelming joy in the moments they were born. Honored that even now......ten years later......an entire decade of missed memories and milestones.....even now- they are my daugters. Grief is my badge.

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