Grief, it’s the strangest thing. You don’t know what it’s going to be like until you’re in it. Of course, you don’t want to be in it, but you are.
I was originally due to return from maternity leave April 1, but just a week before I was set to get back to it, I lost a parent.
I have read about grief, seen it in movies, on TV, and interviewed many families going through what I just so recently went through. But I never knew until now how they felt.
It’s true when they say grief comes in waves. And when it all comes crashing in you don’t know if it will just be for a moment, a day, or even a week. You don’t know if you’ll be able to resurface at all, or if you’ll be pulled down deeper by the undertow.
When I lost my step mom, it hit me like a tidal wave. When people ask if it was expected, I almost want to shout “what does it matter? It doesn’t change the fact that she’s gone.”
It doesn’t change the void that has been left in my life.
Once that initial storm of grief passes, you assume it’s over, everything will be okay. But then there are these ripples, these painful moments that you can’t predict.
Like drinking a cup of coffee on your back deck while the sun shines down. What seems like it should be this picture-perfect moment is suddenly drenched in grief, because it all reminds you of the person you love and lost.
It could be a song. It could be a tall glass of wine. It could be a place, or a smell, or a sound. It could be all of these things.
I feel it when I listen to music, when I watch my son do something new, when the sun shines down on a beautiful day, and in that first sip of coffee in the morning. It’s not always a bad feeling. But sometimes it takes a moment. Sometimes I have to pause, take a breath, and remember she won’t ever truly be gone.
I recently watched a TEDTalk my dad shared with me by author Nora McInerny on grief. She said you never move on from it, which is true, but you do move forward.
Sometimes that feels like the hardest part of my grieving process - watching life carry on. But, just like everyone else who has lost someone they hold dear, I put one foot in front of the other, I smile up at the sky and remember, she would have wanted me to keep moving forward.