Leaning In

Loss is a tricky thing to navigate, as it brings up a number of unwelcoming feelings all at once. Similar to an emotional car crash, one that happens quickly and without warning, leaving a trail of pain in its wake. I never know the right way to handle these types of situations. If there really is a right way. In the past, I have either jumped into my work or found an activity to distract myself from having to face reality. In these moments, my house has never been cleaner. And yet, these form of escape routes do nothing but prolong the inevitable; grief.

Yesterday, I said goodbye to someone I loved dearly. My pain is palpable and I feel raw with each breath I take. I don’t want to feel this way, and I desperately wish I could push pause; temporarily putting an end to the hurt I am experiencing. However, that is not going to do me any good in the long run. That I have come to know.

I had the best of intentions today. Get up, take a shower, work out, head into the office, and keep my head down. I could almost hear myself saying “I’m fine,” over and over again. Not the greatest mantra for a time like this, but certainly one I gravitate towards as a form of self-protection. When I woke up this morning, my heart had another plan. Instead of burying myself in busy work, which doesn’t have much meaning in this moment, I am making a conscious effort to not take the easy way out. Instead, I’m allowing myself to cry when I need to, say prayers, snuggle with my sweet fur-baby, and just be. No distractions, no hiding. Making the choice to sit here, vulnerable and exposed; in hopes of working through the inconsistent waves of grief, and coming out a clearer, softer, braver version of myself.

As I sit quietly, I’ve reflected on parts of myself I am not proud of, and still exist, despite years of personal development. Ego, anger, resentment, insecurity; all lying dormant, waiting for a moment like this to reveal themselves if I allow it. I take comfort in knowing I have a choice whether or not to use my pain as justification for acting out. The only way to heal, is to move through the darkness. It’s so easy to remain stuck in this place of anger or pride, all of which only serves to hinder relationships and suck the joy from our lives.

For today, I will cry, wish for more time, remember to breathe, and hold space. Above all else, I will embrace my bruised and aching heart, and wrap it with love, while leaning into my pain. This beautiful vessel that gives us life, still needs to be cared for, now more than ever. I am grateful for the gifts that are sure to reveal themselves once I take the time to grieve. Life can be short, but it always goes on. Sometimes gracefully, sometimes not. What I know to be true is that despite how we may fight against the pain associated with our experiences, we can never truly heal if we hold onto a way of coping that no longer serve us.

We all have the opportunity to change, and evolve and make different choices. I encourage you to take a moment to look at your own hurts, see where you can soften, and make amends if necessary. What are you holding onto and how can you move through it?