How true! Grief is unpredictable! And that's why people don't like to talk about it, or acknowledge it, and hope, hope, hope, that it will go away all on its own.
But Cry, Laugh, Heal is all about having an honest dialogue about grief and resilience and sharing what helped me after my husband sadly died nine years ago. I have found that time and support from friends and family have helped me but I also have discovered that you have to face grief straight on and feel its pain before you can start to recover and get to a place where you feel you can begin to let it go.
And even then, even when you feel you are letting it go, grief and its sadness still has the uncanny power to boomerang back on you.
In the interest of sharing and letting you know that you are never alone in your roller coaster feelings of loss, let me tell you about a personal experience that brought home how you really can't control grief or the conflicting feelings that travel with it.
This past Labor Day weekend I decided to clean my guest room which has been a mess for a few months. I keep throwing things in there and yesterday I finally decided to wade into the clothes, books, boxes and papers and start to get rid of some of this ridiculous stuff. To make room in the closet, I started at the very back of it and brought out the first batch of hanging clothes.
What do I spy with my unsuspecting eye? An old tweed jacket that belonged to my husband. I had no idea that jacket was back there, hiding like an unexploded emotional time bomb, and I just stared at it for what seemed like a good 30 minutes. I'm not even sure I remembered to take a breath. Then I smelled it to see if his scent was still on it, but of course it wasn't.
Next I put my hand into the pocket inside his jacket and I found his checkbook! No handwriting was on it anywhere but it was weird to open it and read his name on the clean pale blue checks. Then I put my hand into one of the outside pockets and I found a pair of his black framed reading glasses; the ones where one of the arms was bent. Another episode of staring and remembering.
But then in the breast pocket of the jacket, I found two cards that were the size of business cards, which is what I thought they were when I first touched them. I pulled them out and one was a business card but the other was a reminder card from his doctor. You know the kind I mean; those cards the doctor gives you with the patient's name written in along with the time and the date of the next appointment.
Only this card had my husband's name on it and the date of the appointment was November 10, 2003 and the appointment was written in for 11 am. I stared at date. My husband died on November 12, 2003. I called my son's name out and showed him what I had found. He stared at the card for a long time too and didn't say anything. Then he handed it back to me and just said "Wow."
We both felt as though my husband, his father was there in the room with us. I half expected to hear his voice or see him walk into the room.
We think he was trying to tell us that it's okay to let go; but please do not ever forget him.