Can Grief Become Familiar?

cc gadlI was writing up my editorial schedule for the next two weeks tonight. This involves a fair amount of geeked-out color coding, cross-referencing, and general obsessiveness. Clarity helps me function.

I was adding dates to the daily boxes when I noticed the upcoming collusion of day and date: Sunday, June 12th. June 12th. Even though I know my seven year date is coming up, somehow seeing a Sunday the 12th come up on the calendar just floored me.

In just over one month, I will greet the day, seven years ago, that changed this life intensely. Irrevocably. Entering into that vortex of death and grief took me by surprise. Which is totally weird.

I spend all day, everyday, inside grief. Rooted in my own, reaching out to you in yours. I wake up thinking about a passage from our writing group. I spend hours every day, locked away in my office, working on my new book. I go to bed thinking of what I can do for you tomorrow, to make this road just the tiniest bit less lonely.

I am steeped in grief, and yet my own still catches me by surprise.

It hasn’t become “less.” It hasn’t become “better.” I think, if I had to choose a word, I would say my grief has become familiar. I’m accustomed to it. It makes up such a huge part of me, it largely is me.

It’s – normal. After nearly seven years of carrying Matt’s love, his death, my grief, it’s become – normal. How strange. How not at all what I thought it would be, during those horrendously hard first years.

That I can still be surprised by the date on a calendar, that I can even breathe and live and actually be happy inside this life I did not want – it’s pretty stunning.


grief support that doesn't suckHow about you? If you have lived with your grief awhile, has it become familiar? Does it still surprise you at times, even as it never actually leaves you?

If you are new or tender in your grief, does it help at all to hear that grief gets… different? That this massive weight becomes, somehow, familiar, if not altogether comfortable?

Let us know in the comments.