As a counselor, I am not immune to the hardships of life. I must deal with the constantly changing circumstances of life just as I ask my clients to. Today was one of those hardship kind of days. I awoke to find in my photo memories a picture of me and my mom, who I've always referred to as my momma. Little did I know that when that picture was captured, it would be the last one we would ever take together. Today doesn't mark the one year anniversary of her death, but it does mark the anniversary of the last time I saw her, and it certainly stirs up some feelings that quite frankly, I'd rather not have. But, such is grief.
Grief is always an unwelcome guest. It shows up suddenly pounding at your door. You want so badly to slam the door in it's face, but it is way too persistent for that. Instead, the best thing to do is to go ahead and open the door to it's big ugly face and invite it in. It is with this undesirable welcome that you provide it all that it needs to be satisfied, while constantly thinking it's insatiable. It does indeed find it's fill, at least for the time being. You sit with it awhile, you converse back and forth, you allow it to toss everything about, begging for breaks in between. You eventually surrender to allowing it to stay as long as it needs.
It is in providing grief all that it demands, that you will have the chance for it to ever leave. Had you just slammed the door and not allowed it to enter, it would only stand there and rage. Grief can outlast you. It never gives up and it never gets tired, it is relentless. It will stand there banging as long as it needs to, for it will be heard.
As I speak this to myself today, I also speak it to you. Whenever grief comes banging at your door, as much as you don't want it's arrival, go ahead and let it in. For once it is satisfied, it will leave. It will also return as often as it deems necessary, although it's visits won't be for near as long. Before you know it, after you've spent due time with grief, it will one day return bringing with it it's friends. It's friends that always follow behind and never in front. It's friends called joy, hope, laughter, love, memories and celebration. It is then, when the "Grief Lives Here" sign can be taken down, and the "Love Lives Here" sign can be restored. Only then will it be time to accept and understand that grief is a necessary part of love, and it just might not be as unwelcome as we thought. It is within our grief that we find our deepest expression of love. Life will go on, never again as it once was, but as it can be now.
For after all, if love doesn't have the ability to hurt, than you're simply not loving enough.