Grief is something I’m not sure we ever really get over: the loss is always there, forever a part of our lives. Feelings of grief come and go, but over time we learn to live with them, learn to thrive again in the space of it.
In the early days of my grief, I often felt as if I were in the midst of ruins, standing in their falling embers. An entire world had been destroyed and I could see all the remnants of the life we had created. As more time passes, I begin to venture farther from the ruins, but always returning, always circling back to be among their midst.
I stay in that world for a while, finding comfort in the few embers I can hold onto. I’m alone there, but every once in a while, Brian comes back to say hello. I'm proposing to Cassie, he says. Okay, I think, as I stand at a lake, where we once rowed a boat across the fall waters. I look out into the distance as he comes and goes. But soon he begins to visit less and less.
Time passes and it’s summer now in this world of ruins. The heat is unbearable. I’m standing at the lake when suddenly he appears. Hello, I say, with a sad smile. He hesitates. I was going to text you this, but I'll just tell you instead since I have you on the phone. Cassie’s pregnant. We’re having a baby.
It’s something that I already know somewhere deep in my bones, and yet when he says it, I suddenly understand that he is no longer of this world. He is of another. I understand that this world is no longer inhabitable. There's no place on it for me to live anymore.
So I row across the lake and I get into a spaceship. I put on the safety harness as it launches into the sky. I watch the view of our lake as it gets smaller and smaller. And I make my way across the the universe to a planet of my own. It's odd, but throughout all of this, I’m scared and yet more calm than ever all at once.
When I get to my new planet, I look out in the sky and I see the world I once inhabited out in the distance. And as I go about building a world of my own creation, I find comfort in knowing I’m no longer living among the embers. I look up and admire the beauty of that world, now a star in my sky.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also find my book, Grieving the Loss of a Love: How to Embrace Grief to Find True Hope and Healing After a Divorce, Breakup, or Death helpful.