If grief could speak it would say, I'm sorry.
I'm sorry it's me that arrived at your doorstep instead of love. But I am made of love too. In fact, it's because I love so much that I hurt so much when I lose the people I love.
If grief could speak it would say, You can survive.
I know you may not want to. I know life may not be worth living without them. I know the earth collapsed beneath your feet. I know a part of you died with them. And I know you can survive, one breath at a time, one moment at a time, one day at a time.
If grief could speak it would say, Please don't hide me away.
I know when people see you with me they get uncomfortable. I know your friends don't know what to say to me. I know it's easier to hide me away when you have company over for dinner.
But I'd like a seat at the table. Will you let me speak? Will you listen to me? I can't promise I'll be polite or calm. I may raise my voice because I'm angry or I may collapse in a pile of tears, but if I can let it out then I don't have to hold it in here, in you. I'd like to create some more space inside you for all of us to coexist. You, me, love, anger, laughter, peace, hope, joy... there's enough room for all of us in your heart.
If grief could speak it would say, I love you.
You may not love me, but I love you. I love how you love so big. I love how you keep taking care of your babies who lost their papas or their mamas. I love how you keep taking care of that space your loved one took up even though they're gone. How you leave their favorite book in the same place, how you leave their clothes folded, how you let them live a little longer in the things left behind. I love how you don't let the world forget they were here, that they mattered, that they were a part of you. I love you.
If grief could speak it would say, Find your own way.
There seem to be a lot of "experts" out there about me. They say I work in stages and they make it sound like I'm something to get over, like the flu. What I can tell you is there is nothing wrong with me and there is nothing wrong with you. I am not a sickness, I am grief. I am a valid experience and emotion and there is no right way to hold me. There is just your way. No two people receive me the same way. Let's find our own way to dance together, to cry together, to break together, to heal together.
Let's find our own way through this brief and beautiful life.
Monique Minahan writes about grief, loss and being human. She offers Yoga & Grief classes to bereavement groups. She believes in standing up to live before sitting down to write and listens to her heart to keep her words alive and authentic. Connect with her at moniqueminahan.com and on social media here and here.
This post is part of Common Grief, a Healthy Living editorial initiative. Grief is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn't make navigating it any easier. The deep sorrow that accompanies the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage or even moving far away from home, is real. But while grief is universal, we all grieve differently. So we started Common Grief to help learn from each other. Let's talk about living with loss. If you have a story you'd like to share, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.