“Behind a smile and a genuinely happy moment, there are always moments of grief just below the surface. Grief never ends. It’s a never ending journey. You don’t get to accept or decline your entry to the journey, but you do get to decide how you wish to travel.”
These are the very wise words from the co-producer of the 2015 Listen To Your Mother Baltimore performance, which I had the great honor to be a part of last month. Taya Dunn Johnson lost her husband a few years ago, very suddenly. She’s now living her journey, and deciding how she’s traveling. Her blog post about this made me think about my own journey, and the journey of so many other women who are finding new normal after a pregnancy loss.
As a bereaved mother, as a mother who has been pregnant after a loss, and as a mother who is now parenting after a loss, I’m trying to figure out how I’m traveling. Some days I think I’m on the Pacific Coast Highway in a brand new 911 turbo. Other days I’m a tugboat on train tracks. Every day is different. Some days grief is in the backseat, buckled in, quiet. Some days it needs to drive with the radio blaring.
I’m trying to accept that my journey will always include something tragic and painful that I never want to forget. I’m trying to be conscious about my grief, and use it productively. Grief comes in many forms and not all of them evoke the same emotions and not all of them deserve the same response.
An old friend remarked to me once that sharing my grief and talking about Hank wasn’t good for me. I remember looking at him incredulously. Grief is a part of who I am, I wanted to scream. It doesn’t mean constant sadness or depression or desperation. It’s the mourning of love. It means you had love for something, or someone, and you’re choosing to live on without, the best way you can.
For all of the ways grief has impacted my journey, there is beauty there. Grief puts a filter on my life that no Instagram software can come close to touching. It allows me to see what was, what is, and what could have been, all at one time. It’s a heartbreakingly bittersweet way to focus.
Never ending grief isn’t always about disappointment or crying. It’s about finding a new reality and a new perception on what you thought was normal. Thank you, Taya, for sharing your perception of grief.