Often we speak of grief as if it is this all encompassing season that we have to dig ourselves out of, as if it introduces us to a second shadow, a weighted phantom limb, that we carry behind us like an ache. But I have found that grief is immensely varied. It visits you in the beauty just as much as it visits you in the dark. Grief isn’t always heavy, isn’t always dismantling.
Sometimes, it finds you when you are at your lightest, when you are holding so much hope within yourself. Sometimes, grief takes attendance in the midst of your most present, and moving, encounters. It has you wishing that you could experience that hope with someone you have lost, that they could be feeling or seeing or connecting with the same moment you are witnessing, and standing in awe of.
Sometimes, grief has you wishing that you could create another memory with them, that you could hold wonder between yourselves just one more time. Sometimes, grief is an outpouring of all of the love you were left holding in your hands, it washes over you like rain, like calm — it isn’t always something sharp, something that damages.
And the truth is, if I could call grief by any other name I would call it a Trojan Horse. We think it looks a certain way, we think that we can assess it and measure it and create a human shaped space within our own bodies for it to take residence within. But just when we think we have it figured out, when it’s all organized neatly between our bones — it morphs, and unpacks itself, and we come to understand that it was never really as linear as it seemed, it was always going to take new form, to alter, to surprise us when we least expected it, to splinter off into the heart of us.
At the end of the day, grief is something we will all eventually weather. It will move itself into our lives despite our best efforts. There will be days where it hangs heavy in the air, and there will moments where it feels like a soft place to land. Instead of trying to outrun it, instead of trying to demonize it — welcome it, let it crack you open. Understand that grief is the most honest reflection of love. You would not feel so deeply if you did not first have the capacity to love just as deeply, and that is something to embrace in this world. That is something to siphon from the loss, something to believe in.