Monday, October 17, 2016

Oh Good Grief

Grief is a bitch. Please, pardon my language, but she is, and I will tell you why.
She is unpredictable, exhausting, interruptive, rude, messy, and she thinks the world revolves around her.  She does not give a flying flip about your schedule or your priorities. You can try to ignore her, but she will just silently stare at you from the corner and wreak havoc on your life in her passive- aggressive way. Then, maybe one day you decide to address her, and she comes out swinging and knocks you flat on your back.

I was working on a post all last week, but nothing was flowing right. I've been writing a letter to my mother in honour of her birthday which was this past Thursday. I told myself that I would post something to somehow consecrate that day and make it special. Life happened (and keeps happening) and her birthday came and went. I wasn't able to pause life and give that day the attention that I wanted to. I was really caught off guard at all the emotions that surfaced (predominantly anger), and even some sickness and crazy stiffness in my muscles that I think are probably related.

How do you know when to give in to your feelings and when to fight them? People say, "oh, listen to your body and let it tell you what you need." Well, if I listened to my body, I would be staying in bed a whole lot more, the kids would be eating junk food and constantly staring at screens, our animals would be dead (well, the kids actually feed the cats so they might survive), I wouldn't have a job, and I would be too isolated to experience the love of my community through the coffee dates, prayers, tears, hugs, music, and texts. And so, I guess it's back to that annoying concept of "balance". Collapse when you can.. get up and fight when you have to??

One of my dear, very wise friends is going through some grief of her own. She is good at reminding me to recognize what is going on in the present and grieve for what is there, instead of rushing forward to how you are going to fix everything or how it's all going to be ok in the end. Even as a little girl I was an optimist.  One of my dad's favourite memories is of me raking leaves and singing "the sun will come out tomorrow..".  I think in Christian circles especially, we try to rush through the suffering and death part and get to the celebration of the Resurrection. Jesus was called "a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief" (or another version says "familiar with pain"). Familiar with pain? Not cool. Even He had to go through the agony of Gethsemane, the floggings, and the cross. I can so relate to His question in the garden, "will you take this cup from me?" I'm like, "Beam me up, Scotty. Get me out of this mess!".  For whatever reason, I am not being rescued from the mess this time. Can't go under it, can't go around it, have to go through it.

I was going to keep this short and bittersweet, but the words just kept spilling out. I will close with this beautiful quote that my friend shared the other day. I think this is an example of Good Grief.

“Someday you will be faced with the reality of loss. And as life goes on, days rolling into nights, it will become clear that you never really stop missing someone special who’s gone, you just learn to live around the gaping hole of their absence. When you lose someone you can’t imagine living without, your heart breaks wide open, and the bad news is you never completely get over the loss. You will never forget them. However, in a backwards way, this is also the good news. They will live on in the warmth of your broken heart that doesn’t fully heal back up, and you will continue to grow and experience life, even with your wound. It’s like badly breaking an ankle that never heals perfectly, and that still hurts when you dance, but you dance anyway with a slight limp, and this limp just adds to the depth of your performance and the authenticity of your character. The people you lose remain a part of you. Remember them and always cherish the good moments spent with them.” Christopher Walken


  1. So well written! I'm glad you pushed through and pressed the "post" button. <3

  2. So enjoyed reading your newest post. Your words are written with clarity and honesty, so refreshing! I look forward to reading the next edition.

  3. Wow! That was beautiful Ashley and brought tears to my eyes! I love you and am praying for you every step of the way!
    Much love,

    1. Thank you, Maureen. Much love back to you! :)