Currently listening to: Cloud Nine by Ben Howard

I just tweeted:

Yes, still up & writing. Going w/it. This week: all abt going w/what feels good. My mind & soul r a bit beat. Being careful w/them.

If I’ve learned anything in the last 15 months of dealing with loss & grief, it’s to go slow, to take my time, to go with what feels right in the moment. Believe me, I’ve had more than a few people in the last year tell me to hurry up and move on, to dive into work, to drown myself in it until I’ve managed to forget. The problem is the death of a loved one cannot be forgotten. And avoidance only avoids your new reality.

I’m back in the throes of loss and grief this week. I know some people won’t understand how I can equate the loss of my dog Leo to the death of my mother. I’m not. My mother’s death shredded me in a way that nothing else ever could. But, Leo was a connection to her. He was her dog before he became my dog. In my family, with my mother, our dogs were always considered members of the family. And he was a member of this family for 11 years. So, I have lost a member of my family and I am grieving, and I am just letting this grief run its course because I’ve learned that there is nothing better to do. So, if I feel like working, I work. If I feel like staring at a wall, I stare at a wall. If I feel like staying up late to watch a movie, then I stay up past my bed time and watch a movie. And if I feel like writing, I write. I let myself off the hook for a while. I lower my expectations and just go with my moods.

This may seem weird to say, but I can honestly say that I have learned something from my losses and from my grief. While I would trade anything to have my mother (and my dog) back, if I can’t have them, then I will gladly accept what I have learned about myself and about life in this time.

I have learned what I believe in and who I want to be.

I have learned that I am more emotional and yet stronger than I thought I was.

I have learned the difference between being grounded and connected and being scattered and lost.

I have learned that the little stuff really doesn’t matter.

I have learned that loss and grief are to be experienced, to be sat with patiently. They are not to be rushed through and avoided. The heart, the mind, and the soul need time to recover, to reconnect, to reorient. Nothing can be learned from avoidance or denial. I choose to find some positive in the dreadfully negative. I choose to find the valuable lesson in the worst moments of my life. And if those lessons are going to take time to discover, then I’ll give them the time they need to surface. In the end, the lesson gleaned from these experiences will be worth more than whatever work I could have thrown myself into.

So, this week, my heart and soul are a little battered and I’m being careful with them because I know it’s the only way to move through this. It’s the only way to find the lesson. It’s the only way to emerge from this stronger and a bit better.