The Goodness of Grief

Lately I’ve had cause to ponder the role of sorrow in our lives.  From losing several pregnancies to learning that my best friends were moving away from San Francisco, I’ve faced a variety of losses in the last year or so.  And yet, I am in a better place now than I was before I faced these heartbreaks, and I am more hopeful about the future than I have been in a long time.

For one thing, these sorrows have caused me to look again at the blessings in my life.  Losing three unborn babies made me tenderly aware of what a miracle my three-year-old son is, of how much I love him, of what joy he brings into my life every day—even the no-nap, won’t-eat-his-vegetables, temper-tantrum days.

And losing some of my friends to the transiency that is seemingly unavoidable in San Francisco (and any big city for that matter) has made me aware of how healthy it can be to grieve for something.  In the past, I have often tried to hold grief at bay, to tell myself “it’s not that bad.”  But all that did was to prolong the process.  Loss always leads to grief, whether we acknowledge that grief, or just stuff it away in the back closets of our mind to face another day, another year.  This time, I chose to acknowledge the pain from the get-go.  I told my friends repeatedly how much I was going to miss them.  And I let myself cry several times over the weeks before our impending separation.

And now I find that I’m actually able to let go without the intense anguish that I’ve sometimes felt in the past.  Because I’ve allowed myself to engage with the grief of my loss over a period of weeks and months, it seems to be ebbing away now, like the slowly receding waves of a waning tide.  I know that the sorrow of losing my friends will never abate completely, and my life will never be quite the same without them.  But by grieving openly and outwardly throughout this process, I find that I can now look to the future with hope and even excitement, instead of the bitterness that has often plagued me in the past.  So, here’s to the next season of life, with whatever joys—and even sorrows—it may bring.

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