I had a super new-to-me experience this past weekend when it comes to grief and my process, and while I shared it over on my IG Stories, it feels equally as important to share it here, too. I spent most of Saturday listening to this playlist (it makes me so happy I can’t even tell you) – dancing around, singing at the top of my lungs, letting it all go. The stressors from the previous week, what was to come the following week, and I just surrendered into being. I hopped in my car to run some errands and to go see some friends, and all the while I kept listening to this playlist. It consists of a lot of 70’s music, which was some of my dad’s favorite to rock out to when he was alive.
As I was driving, I had this overwhelming sense of joy – I could feel his presence and while it’s super hard to explain (unless you’ve experienced this type of sensation yourself), I had no doubt that he was sitting next to me in my car, dancing and singing alongside me. I could hear his voice (he had a good one) and picture so clearly how he’d be dancing to each bit of the songs – the smile on his face, the sound of his laugh, and just witnessing the zest and joy he had for life just as I had all of my years with him Earthside.
All of a sudden, I felt this urge to go and visit his grave. This is worth mentioning because this is the point of the story. The only times I’ve gone to visit his grave (which is a lot) has been when I’m in deep mourning. Those deep belly sobs or that piercing heartbreak and it feels like the only thing that will comfort it is to get a little bit of tangibility (his grave stone, a place). This was the first time that I had arrived there feeling light, joyful, excited to sit with him in that space and not feel like I was going to drown in my own sadness.
It felt like a victory.
I feel like it’s worth sharing for a couple of reasons. The first is that I understand how fleeting this feeling is. Grief is anything but linear. One day you’re dancing to 70’s rock alongside the ghost of your dad and the next you can’t breathe and you wonder if you’ll ever feel okay again. Some days you’re numb, other days you’re back to being in denial and you can convince yourself for a good 24 hours that they’ve just been traveling internationally for a really long time, but “don’t worry, they’ll be back.”
So I wanted to etch this experience in stone (or here on my computer). I wanted to write it out and remember it forever. To remind myself that living in grief and with grief doesn’t always have to equal being in misery for it to be significant. Therein lies yet another misconception of how loss can be portrayed and the many things that “they” don’t tell you about grief and its rollercoaster process.
So you see, this isn’t a post to try and tell any of you out there navigating the same murky waters that it does, in fact, get easier. Because it doesn’t, and it won’t. You are without something that’s detrimental to who you are – they’re your insides. They are a part of you, and now they are no longer here in the flesh. That shit is excruciating and you will feel that forever. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.
What I am here to tell you, is that you will be given the gift of lighter days. You will get moments where you can breathe deep, where you can celebrate a life that once was, where you can bask in the joy of their nature here on Earth, and feel gratitude for the ability to feel them still.1