One of my favorite authors at present is Nora McInerny. In the final chapter of her book, No Happy Endings, she tells how her life has grown in love since her husband’s death. I am especially interested in her ability to accept life and death, happiness and sadness, simultaneously. It is like manna to this hungry soul.
Love, to me, has come to mean understanding. It’s the ability to see others with a new perspective, especially after one’s own gut-wrenching loss.
I have this amazing extended family with cousins who are more like siblings. Many of them have suffered great personal loss and admittedly, it wasn’t until experiencing my own pain, that I understood theirs. I now see them as brave, beautiful people who continue to help and think of others despite of and because of their suffering. That takes guts… and love. I need only to remember the support they gave me this fall when we packed up and moved my house of 20 years, no questions asked. They were there raising mattresses from the ground, organizing kitchen cupboards, and taking orders from a woman whose sanity might have been questionable at the time (I mean me, not you, Nancy).
When you lose the other half of you, companionship shifts and you look for conversation and compassion from some unlikely sources. Sometimes the friendly voice on the other side of the Tim Horton’s speaker would send me into a flood of gratified tears, especially in the early days of my grief. As an educator in the public school system, I am surrounded by young people. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for their presence in my life at this time. I used to covet my space and quiet time during breaks in the school day, but now I often find myself with my students at these times, knitting (do not get me going on the joys and benefits of that past time, more to come, I assure you), talking, and a lot of laughing. We enjoy each other’s comforting presence.
So, your heart withers and it grows when grieving because you cannot help but feel this growing appreciation and thankfulness and yes, LOVE for the people who try so hard to make things better for you or, in the case of my students, those who may be blissfully unaware of how they have made me start to feel whole again.
Until next time,