Healing From A Tough Year
I had a crazy revelation the other day, and the revelation was this- if things had turned out differently in 2016, I'd be two weeks away from having a brand new baby.
I haven't thought about my miscarriage in a while. Life has been moving so fast lately that there doesn't seem to be much space for retrospection. And the honest truth is that I've come to an unexpected place of peace about the whole thing.
But this realization hit me like a punch in the gut. It's given me pause to consider, and has left me in an unexpected deluge of grief.
2016 was a tough year. I don't want to minimize or overlook all the good that came along with it, because the good was there in abundance. Yet I'm still left with a pointed need to take stock and grieve.
I don't know why bad things happen, just like I don't know why good people get cancer and refugee babies wash up on the shore like broken seashells. We live in a strange world, and some years are strange and challenging and marked by grief.
If there's anything I know about grief, it's that she moves with indiscriminate freedom. Like a whimsical decorator, she flits from here to there, adjusting a photo here, fluffing a throw pillow there, beating the area rugs, and then adorning a new corner in layers of knickknacks and lace. Her touch lingers and her aroma seeps into the corners of the hallways, leaving behind what seems like an indiscernible path of chaos.
But when she's done, the residual effect is a room more well lived in. It's a space of casual elegance and grace, one that knows itself well and that welcomes guests in with warmth and unexpected beauty.
I'm trying to give her room to move, and I'm practicing the humble discipline of choosing hope despite the lingering traces of darkness. It takes work, and here are a few things I'm learning along the way, in case you too are engaging in this deep soul work of healing and hope.
- Wear the pretty sweater. In times of grief, it's easy to grab the ugliest old sweatshirt and wallow in unrelenting self-pity. But one day I looked in my closet and saw this one sweater that I reserve for "outside." It's a pretty, oversized, cable-knit number, and when I slipped it on, it felt like a warm hug. In this small act, I felt the tension releasing from my body.
- Make your throne and lie in it. If you must be sick- if you must be sad and tired and grieving- then choose your space with care. Prepare the sunny spot by the window, lie out the best blankets and softest pillows, and give yourself the dignity of a beautiful place to rest your head.
- Break out the bodice rippers. I say this rather tongue-in-cheek, but the meaning is sincere. I love a good romance novel, but these days it's a frivolous indulgence for which I have difficulty justifying the time. Yet grief is often hard enough without the added pressure of self-improvement or other serious endeavors. So delve into your guilty pleasures. Allow yourself to get lost in fanciful, imaginative places. Let the mystery and awe of otherworldliness soothe your soul and bring you back to life.
- Let the river flow. Once you have clothed yourself in kindness and given yourself a safe and beautiful space to rest, by all means, let the tears come unabated. Tear down the dams, clear the roads, and give in to the release. Emotion needs flow, and flow it must have. So for just a little while, give yourself permission to let go.
I believe that good things are ahead, and that greatness lies just around the bend. And I want to send this hope and healing to you today.
But before we get there, let's give ourselves time to wrap things up, to feel the big feels, cry the big cries, and say the necessary goodbyes. It's going to hurt, but it's also going to feel a lot better on the other side.
Grief is a wayward mistress, but she knows her way around. She'll tidy things up and leave something fresh and new in her wake. She'll also leave the door open on her way out, and she may even offer her hand to help you step outside into the beauty of a brand new day.
Cheers to you and yours, and Happy Holidays.