I don't blame people when they assume grief has a beginning and an end. It's something you learn from experience and also from time.
A book I'm reading describes how we don't get over hurt from loss but we absorb it into our life. If we allow it - the grief expands our soul. We feel more sadness- but feel more joy too. I definitely believe that to be true!
Today was our annual Harper's family reunion. Like many recent social gatherings I didn't want to go- to be truthful, if I could I'd stay in bed and watch The Office or Friends and put off chores and fighting through these feelings. But I keep getting into the shower and putting on some make up and facing life!
And inevitably some sad things occurred. My great aunt Berna pulled me into the kitchen and showed me some pictures she'd pulled aside just for me and my siblings - my grandpa as a little guy and also my dad.
Then later my Grandpas youngest brother - "uncle Ben" wanted to tell me a story. One where he put my Dad on the handle bars of his bike and how they crashed....and how he took Dad to Canada on a fishing trip when he was 12. He cried then and said how Dad was his favorite and how sad he was that Dad passed so young. I didn't know this but Great Uncle Ben had wanted to give him one of his kidneys too....
These are things that happen to me now. A new norm. Sadness pushing in.
Letting me feel joy for the bits of my family tree that remains- for the picture and the story.
A soul that's experiencing growing pains.