Grief Relief: When You Can Talk About “It” and Do Laundry Too
You may not be ready to hear this, but that’s okay. I wasn’t ready to say it, until just now.
It came without warning.
There wasn’t a day marked on the calendar.
We weren’t waiting for it, honestly, I figured it was just a rumor. This place where all the sudden, I wasn’t in shambles on the floor. I didn’t need a Xanax or someone dear friend, who has heard it all and is willing to hear it again.
It happened on an average weeknight, the dishwasher was humming in the background. Our teen was on the couch with her beau, some random romcom spouting awkward, yet predictable banter.
My husband, Justin, sat at the kitchen table with our two young sons. They drank milk and dipped Chips-a-hoy. I could have embellished and told you warm, homemade, chocolate chip cookies… but it wasn’t a special occasion. It wasn’t even a slice and bake kind of night.
No, it was just another average weeknight.
I was laying out clothes for the next day, signing notes and sorting backpacks, desperately trying to find a mate for a sock.
Where do the other socks go? I assume they are gathered together somewhere with my spoons mocking me.
And in the well-managed chaos, I heard my husband say her name. Our little foster love, who for this post and many others I have referred to as “Joy Baby.”
Sam, our seven-year-old said, “OH! There she is! Our widdle sister! I miss her.”
Charlie, our four-year-old said, “Wow, herms was pretty fat!”
I stopped the insanity of sock search. Honestly, I was waiting for the sound of Justin’s chair to start scooting back and for his booming voice to announce, “Time for bed!” Which is code for, “Stop! Things we don’t speak of lest we all curl up and die from the anguish!”
But, he didn’t.
“Yes,” he said, “there that little muppet is.” He flipped to the next picture, “There we are in the pool!”
Sam said, “I wonder if herm misses us.”
No words, but obviously, another picture.
“LOOK!” combined laughter, “Mommy was potty twaining herm! Herms got underwear on herm head!”
The banter continued. Questions followed by sweet answers and the occasional, “I wonder that too.”
I kept looking for socks. But I wasn’t destroyed, I was flooded with delightful memories and sudden gratitude.
This… this was new.
Their voices and the dishwasher still vibrating through this house, a different home, in another town, where we came to heal, felt for the first time like, grief relief.
Justin’s voice sounded jovial, peaceful.
“That’s my mom Sam. She was very sick in this picture. She was in a wheelchair, but she loved to have you in her lap.”
Seriously, things we haven’t spoken of without the abrasive sting of missing.
I listened in. “No, you didn’t get to meet her Charlie, she would have gotten a kick out of you.”
And so, it went.
This, the first time I recognized grief relief.
Honestly, I don’t believe the hurt ever goes completely away. There are the classic seven steps and there is certainly hope and healing for those who walk out their grief with Jesus. But I didn’t know when it would ever really come, or if it was just a legend, like Robin Hood, Santa, or Hobbits.
But it showed up.
In an instant, we laughed at a baby girl’s photo. A baby girl who brought much joy to our lives. She took us on a wild ride and helped us see the importance of loving and losing for the good of someone other than ourselves.
In a brief moment, the pain of “Mimi’s” last days, were explicitly fond and altogether precious.
Instead of the agony of gone, there was the ecstasy of having loved well and a really good goodbye.
Grief relief.Instead of the agony of gone, there was the ecstasy of having loved well and a really good goodbye. #grief #rageon Click To Tweet
I stand by my belief, grief is the celebration of a loss. A loss that deserves the party of brokenness and torment.
But now, on this side of that, where wisdom and growth have blossomed, I picked up a delicate, little white sock from the bottom of the laundry basket. She would have long since outgrown it. I rubbed it between my fingers. I studied the lovely white ruffle on the cuff, a tiny bow, embellished with a feminine pearl and smiled.
How many times should I have thrown it out?
I don’t know.
Truly, it is silly that I let it mull around with the other misfit socks, especially when it usually… almost kills me.
But, then there was this night.
I may lose it again tomorrow, but for now, I wanted you to know, it isn’t a myth or a legend.
Grief relief is a real thing.
If I might offer some advice, don’t rush ahead, don’t pace the floor in want.
Feel all the feels. Cry all the tears. Grieve like you loved, madly. But take it from someone who has loved and lost, someday relief will sneak up on you and grief will finally add a new dimension, peace.
Suddenly, you will remember and smile and keep looking for that other sock, albeit in vain.
Until then, rage on great lover! Scream, cry, yell at the moon, God, and the stars. Ponder the loss, revel in the pain. Relief comes in a wave of normalcy on an average Thursday, Monday, or Tuesday night. I do not know how long relief stays, but it is nice to know… it is real.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love and tears, Jami
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4)
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