When days become months and months become years it’s hard to explain to others how grief is both always present but not always in focus.
I’ve struggled to help those outside the loss community understand that the absolute weight of the burden is precisely the same as when it fell on me without warning that dark morning.
Dominic’s absence, if anything, has seeped into more places, changed more relationships and influences more choices than it did seven years ago when I was only just beginning to comprehend what a world without him would look like.
But I, and my family, have continued to live.
We’ve added family members through marriage and birth. We’ve gone places, made memories and made career moves. We’ve gotten older. My husband retired. Children moved away.
All these things and more mean that life is simply bigger than it was when Dom left us.
It’s a slow, gradual process. And for some hearts who are forced to endure multiple losses in a short time the circle may never get very large because the grief is so great.
I remember when I realized that sorrow was not ALL I felt nor Dominic’s absence ALL I saw. It was a bit frightening to be honest.
Did that mean my love for him was waning or that his importance in our family was forgotten? Was I a bad mother because I no longer cried every day for the child not here? Had my heart grown cold?
But then I realized none of those things were true. What allowed me to feel joy again, to participate fully in family outings or gatherings, to plan holidays and birthdays once more was instead that my heart had found a way to hold both sorrow and gladness at the same time.
There are still days when grief looms large and my world seems too small to contain it. But those don’t come as often as they once did.
Life will march on, regardless of how hard we might wish it wouldn’t.
And, in large measure, life after loss is what we choose to make of it.
I’m not abandoning Dom by embracing my life now.
In fact, I’m sure he’d approve.
3 thoughts on “Life Grows Around Grief”
I so needed this today. Coming up on the third anniversary of Jacob’s accident and I feel all of this. I really am struggling with the guilt. It’s like you are putting words to my heart.
“ Did that mean my love for him was waning or that his importance in our family was forgotten? Was I a bad mother because I no longer cried every day for the child not here? Had my heart grown cold?”
Probably my biggest struggle currently.
I totally get that Dominic’s absence seeps into everything. That my decision making process was altered when Luke died. Lots of things I do or understanding of the world is a result of his absence in a way, as it would have been had he still been here.
I’m not sre I expressed that correctly.
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Thankyou for these words. Grief can be so conflicting. I love the jar graphic! It explains it so well.
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