There’s no one way to grieve.
There’s no one way to walk through a separation or divorce.
I’ve had to feel my way through this fog as best I can, not really knowing what I’m doing. But I’m trying to listen… listen hard. Because there are deep soul things to learn, buried in this fog of grief.
A little while ago, I took off my wedding ring. My body and heart gently told me, it was time.
I stood alone in my bathroom and slipped it off. I stared at my bare finger almost incredulously, the indent of the ring still there. I was painfully aware I hadn’t removed it since my wedding day in 2011.
Isn’t it strange how the same object can represent extreme joy, and then with time, intense heartache?
Much of me wanted to hide the ring in a drawer, distract myself, and run from the tsunami of grief headed my way.
But I didn’t.
I stood my ground.
I clutched the ring tightly in the palm of my hand, I closed my eyes, and I felt. I let the wave of grief crash over me. A flood of memories cascaded from the feeling of this little circle in my hand. Years of love and joy and life and…well, all of it.
Many of those beautiful memories had been coated in a layer of sadness. Which part do I grieve first? Where do I even begin?
I clutched the ring tighter, and put my other hand on my heart. “It’s okay, I’m here,” I reminded myself. I let the tears flow, and I didn’t ask for explanation or specifics. I gave myself permission and space to feel, without question. (A practice I am learning, thanks Therapy!)
I thanked the ring in my best Marie Kondo way, because the truth is – so much of what it represented to me was joy and growth and beauty. That matters. That will always matter.
I think that’s what makes the grief so much bigger and complex. It’s a reflection of love and life. As I stood there crying over this inanimate object, I realized something.
We often put large parts of our identities in these small objects, and when they’re gone, we find ourselves disoriented. My heart and mind were scrambling for direction, like when you unexpectedly tip your canoe.
The ring is off, and I’m no longer a wife. Massive life changes like this are uncomfortable and heartbreaking and just so… raw. Even though this is the right decision for me…it hurts deeply. It makes sense wanting to avoid feeling it.
My friends, if I have learned anything it’s that we must feel. We must grieve.
We must grieve forward.
This term came to me the other day. For me, grieving forward has meant honouring whatever comes up, whenever it comes up. A memory, an emotion, a question… Holding it gently and with care, feeling it, and letting it go. Without judgement.
And then maybe… grieving forward can translate into healing forward.
Saying goodbye to a relationship, an old version of yourself, the stability your previous life offered….it’s a lot. It’s just a LOT. But in this life sometimes it’s necessary for growth. We have to acknowledge and feel the ending of something, in order to move into new things.
“You cannot hold onto the old, while declaring you want something new.
The old will always defy the new.
The old will always deny the new.
The old will always decry the new.
There is only ONE way to bring in the new: YOU MUST MAKE ROOM FOR IT.”Richard Rohr
Grieve forward what you need to, even in the smallest of ways. Together I believe we will feel our way through.
Much love to you, my friends.