The only way through it is over it
Grief is like a mountain that patiently waits for you to climb it.
It doesn’t move — ever. It doesn’t need to (let alone the fact that it can’t, of course). It’s job is to sit and wait. And it will wait forever.
One day you may find yourself at the foot of this mountain, sometimes very unexpectedly.
In the blink of an eye, someone you loved is gone and there is no going back.
You open your eyes to find a mountain in front of you. When you turn your head and body to go back you find you can’t; because in fact you’re now standing on a cliff.
Behind you and below is the ground, now far away. If you step back, you’ll fall; you’ll die. If you stay still, you will literally not move foreward in your life.
You’re not between a rock and a hard place. You’re between a crumbling cliff’s edge and a huge mountain that is as wide as it is high.
The choice is yours how you proceed.
The mountain is an invitation. It invites you to climb it to begin the rest of your life without the person you lost.
The mountain is calm, peaceful, beautiful to look at.
But you’re not fooled. You know how bullshit hard it’s going to be to climb that mountain.
For a while you might stare at it, rage pulsing through you. You might yell, kick, scream, turn yourself inside out in toddler-like refusal to climb it.
You didn’t ask for this damn mountain, and yet here it is. Literally blocking the view to everything else in your life. You know you have to climb it and you know it’s going to be hard.
And the mountain waits in its stillness and solidness. It’s waiting is an invitation; an open invitation with no end date.
There is no end date togrief.
At the foot of the mountain (and having decided that falling off a cliff is not a viable option, but it’s not to say you won’t attempt to try and climb down or occasionally want to throw yourself off because you can’t stand the grief) you look up.
Yes the moutain is beautiful, but you notice it is also wild. It’s very steep in parts. Rocky. Thick trees and bushes. Possible scary animals. Rough ground. All of which you feel grossly unprepared for.
Surely there has to be another way, you try to reason with a God you still don’t exists. Surely I’m not really here and this is a dream.
But standing where you are you notice a breeze. The weather continues around you as you feel paralyzed and concreted to the ground.
I can’t climb that mountain, you say to yourself. I won’t.
I’m here without any choice.
I’m here without them.
Why do I need to climb this fucking mountain? I didn’t ask for any of this.
But most likely neither did your dead person.
And your duty to your dead person is to mourn, regardless of the terrain.
Take everything you need and make up the rest
If you’re lucky, you’ll have people around you to help you climb your mountain.
They can’t climb it for you, ever, but they can provide vital information, some tools and most importantly love and a belief that you can do it. Even if you’re convinced you can’t.
Because you don’t want to — and everyone knows that.
You feel so different. So so different. Everything that you knew for certain has shifted. Your world is the same, but so different you can hardly recognise it.
The paradox of it all stuns you.
It’s noisy at first. So many things to do, so many people talking to you. So much help and love and support (ideally).
But you know — and they know — that you are totally on your own now. Because everyone’s grief journey is different.
Some people try to warn you but it backfires. Since when did saying ‘I don’t envy the next few months for you’ be helpful for anyone??
I’m not stupid. I know what’s ahead of me.
And it’s one great big fuck-off sized mountain.
Nevertheless, in you’re weakened and vulnerable state, you decide to accept the help. You listen to the words spoken to you from so many angles and you take what you like and leave the rest.
Because your grief experience is unique.
Just like your dead person.
Just like you.
Just like the relationship between you and your dead person.
You breath in deeply. You remember that YOU are still alive, albeit without your dead person.
You can do this.
You have to do this.
There is no deadline, no rush, no rules except one: just start.
Take a first step. Look at you go!
You’re doing it, you are!
You wake up another day, you live through another 24 hours without your dead person.
You cry. Then you’re numb. Then you start thinking or doing weird shit because your brain isn’t working properly right now.
And that’s ok.
Each day that passes is sad because it’s another day without your dead person. Each day that passess pulls you further and further apart.
Because they’re gone. And each day and night is a reminder of that.
The sun rises over the moutain and sets over the moutain. The night sky above the mountain is more beautiful than you could ever imagine.
The mountain waits for you.