Kansas’s weather can be described like the seasons of grief. Some days it is so cold you wonder if spring will ever come. Then a day comes when the sun shines bright and the birds start to sing and you know spring is on its way.
You may have also asked “how long?” How long does grief last? When will I feel better? Grief has its own calendar. Usually the pain gradually eases over time although unexpected events can trigger its re-occurrence. Molly Fumia describes grief as being like a leaky faucet. “Just when you think it’s fixed, it comes back again, more bothersome than ever.” Sometimes you may think it is taking forever to feel better, yet at other times you may be surprised at the recovery you have made.
Anne Philipe, widow of the French film actor Gerard Philipe, writes in her journal: “I don’t really remember the day I first felt that all was not irremediably lost. Was it a child’s smile that awoke me, or a sign of sadness exposed in a place I didn’t want it seen? Or a sense of responsibility? Or had I finally used up despair? Perhaps I was simply caught up again in the game of life…One day I became aware that I had stopped being only a facade. I existed, I breathed. I wanted once again to act on the events of the world.”
Recovery means you have dealt with your loss intellectually and emotionally. You will know you have recovered when you can look ahead and believe life is worth living. Life can be enjoyed without feeling guilty. Recovery may not be easy and can require all of your strength and resources. You may need to think about your life, as changes may be needed.
Judy Tatelbaum, in her book The Courage to Grieve states recovery from grief takes “a willingness to hope, a willingness to go on with one’s life, a willingness to let go of the pain, and a willingness to heal fully.” If you cannot find the willingness within you, then you might think about what is keeping you from healing.
Spring comes even when the winter has been especially long and hard. May you have the openness to allow yourself to grieve and to heal so the new growth in your life can flourish.