A post recently made me think about grieving, and healing, and reminded me of how far I’ve come, and more importantly, how I got here.
Not So Mommy wrote about advice that it was “okay to be sad,just don’t stay there,” which sounds about right, doesn’t it? But whilst it might be true (as evidenced in Brandi's post), I don’t think it is helpful to tell someone not to "stay there” in sadness, because – whilst I recognise the temptation to do just that, when grieving becomes so familiar and almost comforting to us – when, in time, we want to move away from the sadness, we don't always know how to do that, which in turn can bring feelings of inadequacy or guilt or disbelief.
With the benefit of hindsight, I think the main thing I needed to know was that it would help me to welcome joy, and gratitude. Even in the midst of grief, there were occasional fleeting moments of happiness that visited unexpectedly –the feeling of sun on my back, or a hug from a loved one, or a surprising belly laugh at something silly. I felt guilty at first (which I explore here), but they also made me realise that joy was possible. It was still okay to be sad, but feelings of happiness, or gratitude, or joy, taught me that I wouldn’t stay there forever, and many years on, I know that is true.