“Good grief” is a term that I associate with the Peanuts characters, specifically Charlie Brown with his hands above his head yelling through the caption on top of his head! Good grief is an oxymoron. How can grief be a good thing? I researched how this dichotomy of phrase came to be and found that it most likely arose in England as a polite way of saying “good Lord,” which turned into “good God,” and finally came to be expressed as “good grief!”
Good or not, grief is a full-time job! No matter what I do, somehow, the loss of Peter clouds my every move. On the surface, I am functioning like a pro! I resumed all my activities at full throttle. I can be alone on weekends without a hitch. I am eating and sleeping normally. But, underneath the façade I have a deep and cavernous pit in my heart that occasionally becomes a thorn of incalculable pain. I use the word occasionally, because the grief bursts have abated and I am finding small joys in life. But I still know inside that: “my name is Laurie and I am a griever.”
I am not a perpetual griever. I grieve, but have learned to find meaning in my grief. The sensitivity I feel from my loss continues to make me question who I am and where I am going. My style of grief is “grieve and grow.” Losing Peter has enhanced my ability to write and blog about my feelings. I am grieving well, (if that is not an oxymoron), and I am not stuck in my grief.
There are many who “grieve and go.” This is a perfectly acceptable form of grief. Grieve and go people choose to move ahead and stockpile the memories of their experiences. They accept death more readily and don’t need to constantly revisit the experience, or glean any knowledge from it. Grieve and go people have said their goodbyes, fulfilled their relationships, and have stored the memories of that relationship in a sealed bank vault in their heart and mind. This is normal and totally common.
I am however, a “grieve and grow” type of person. I have internalized Peter’s soul in my heart and have journeyed through a long process of grief, saying goodbye on a constant basis. I have learned to say farewell to the “us” we were. I have learned to mourn the future that could have been without dissolving into a puddle. I have learned to shore up the me that needs self-compassion to function on her own. I have shouted Peter’s praises from the rooftop to honor his memory and keep it alive. I have internalized his goodness into my heart making me a better human being and a more complete soul, even though he is not physically here. I have learned tolerance and compassion and the intuitive sense to listen to others. I have learned not to look too far ahead and only exist in the safety of “now.”
My writing keeps Peter’s memory alive in me and affords me the opportunity to continually search for meaning in my loss. I know that I will continue to move forward from this seismic shock and find some kind of equilibrium in my life. It’s not that the painful feelings will go away, it’s just that they will become a badge of pride. I choose to grow and live my life in a way that Peter would have applauded. I can see him now, giving me a standing ovation and it makes me cry and laugh at the same time. I will always grieve the loss of Peter because it inexplicably changed my life, not for the better, but for a better purpose.
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