What’s Saving My Life (Mid-Winter 2021)

Grief. Grief is saving my life. 

Grief is not welcomed in our society. We put our arms around those who feel its heavy sorrow. We try to comfort and say stupid things hoping to make them feel better.

But let me tell you, grief is a whole pile of feelings and not all of them are sorrow.

They are deep, piercing feelings of what we miss; for what we’ve lost.

With more time to think about my life, I’ve been able to verbalize the feelings I had numbed. I can name the hardest ones now as feeling I was robbed of my family, a sense of belonging, and of feeling secure.

A few days ago I told my husband I felt I’d been robbed of my family. He said, I know. It’s not right. What else can you say?

My parents divorce did more than split us. It quickly separated us by miles and then more miles. Both of my parents had to fly in from other states to my high school graduation. 

I didn’t recognize the anger in those days. The feelings of loss were hidden by school and work, of figuring out life, living on my own and forging adulthood. 

Daddy died before he was 65. Mama developed dementia a few years later. As it progressed I lost her too. My last visits were with a mother who no longer knew me as her daughter.

Moving state to state every six months in high school left me feeling without a home. It manifested itself in feeling a loss of security and belonging. Even today I don’t expect people to remember me.

When the anger surfaced years later I wasn’t able to name it. It felt wrong to be angry at my parents, to be angry at God.

So how is grief saving me?

It’s saving me because grief includes all the times we had together that I miss. Because I am recognizing these feelings, though at times they are dipped in anger, I realize the anger is because I’ve experienced much loss.

When I recognized grief’s purpose I was able to allow it to save me.

I know its name.

Though my feelings can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, I’m not numbing them. It’s been a long time coming but I’m not afraid or embarrassed by the grief anymore. I finally see it’s part of the healing.

2 thoughts on “What’s Saving My Life (Mid-Winter 2021)

  1. Beautifully said! You put words to emotions that are hard to explain. Thank you for your authenticity.

    1. Thank you, Cara. It’s taken years – literally.

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