No one told me that the losing wasn't the hard part. It was the living day after day with loss.
No one told me that there is no right way to grieve, that there is just your way to grieve; quietly or wildly, for months or for years, in solitude or with support.
No one told me grief wasn't just in my mind; it was also in my body. I discovered all the places it had burrowed its way into when I began to practice yoga. All the unmoved, unheard, unacknowledged pockets of grief began to speak, to weep, to flood out in gratitude.
No one told me my grief for a husband was not like your grief for a husband. I remember commenting to a woman, who had also lost a husband but had small children, how maybe that made it easier in a way because she had the children.
"No. It doesn't," was all she said.
There is no education on grief, whether that's how to survive it or how to support someone in it. There are no safe spaces for modern mourning; for coming together, not to fix each other but to acknowledge our pain and our process.
Family, religion and society had not prepared me for the tidal wave that grief is, for being dragged along by its undercurrent for years. I received well-meaning gifts and gestures, but no space for the rawness and anger to be heard and acknowledged.
Grief isn't like an injury where the pain is immediate and then the healing begins. The pain is immediate and long-lasting. The healing doesn't begin right away. Sometimes it never begins.
I crawled my way out of seven years of complicated grief by finding the courage to wade through my grief instead of trying to get around it. The path from surviving to thriving was rocky, difficult, and life-changing.
Now, 13 years later, I will not hide grief, mine or yours, behind closed doors, speak of it in hushed tones, or cloak it under fake smiles.
Grief is not one of those things that dance proudly on the stage of our lives, but it has a voice and a part in this play of life. Its voice, as translated through each of our hearts should be welcomed, both her roar and her whimper.
I wonder if we as individuals, as families, as society, as human beings can pull our grief a little closer instead of pushing it away.
It requires a big heart. A bigger heart than we were told is safe and more vulnerability than we feel comfortable with. It requires inviting grief to the table of our lives and letting her speak her piece.