Grief is not a newcomer in my world.
Neither is pain.
I have grown quite accustomed to having them here—sometimes I even seek them out.
But this is something different.
I feel I should be hurting with the intensity of a hurricane.
I have felt as though the correct way to grieve is to be in pain and to cry until my eyes burn and I fall asleep from exhaustion.
However, this time, with the wound so deep and fresh, I feel almost enlightened.
I am sad about what life has brought me, but I feel oh so grateful.
I feel as though I am seeing things through new eyes.
I am learning that it is okay to accept what has happened, feel it, and be with it—not to just react to it.
Grieving does not have to mean sitting alone in your room with a six pack and a package of cigarettes.
Grieving does not have to mean screaming until your lungs give out and you’re left with a tear-stained face.
Grieving does not have to be the ever-elusive question, “Why did this happen to me?”
I am learning that grieving is the process that helps us to transition from this moment to the next, and it does not have to be destructive.
I am learning that just because my heart is hurting does not mean I have to stay in pain.
This time, when grief and pain came for a visit, they brought with them gratitude.
Gratitude for the life I have.
Gratitude for lessons in self-healing.
Gratitude for the storm, no matter how long or hard it may be.
I will grieve for as long as it takes, but I will not destroy myself this time.
Author: Jessica Hildebrandt
Image: Jem Yoshioka/Flickr
Editor: Emily Bartran
Copy Editor: Leah Sugerman
Social Editor: Catherine Monkman