Leaning Into the Discomfort

I like to think we're all a little like this window, rough around the edges, reflecting out to the world all that we see.
I like to think we’re all a little like this window, rough around the edges, reflecting out to the world all that we see.

Even though I’ve been dealing with the loss of my dad for over nine months, I’m still trying to wade through the whole complex grieving process, and from what I can tell, no two days are alike. About the only consistency I have found is that grief brings up all kinds of unpleasant and uncomfortable feelings. Not all of which are necessarily tied to the person you’re grieving.

Grief dredges up anger, sadness, loneliness, melancholy, envy, resentment, fear, guilt, regret, anxiety and basically any other human emotion that we  actively try to avoid. But with grief, you can’t sidestep it. Grief is like an indignant individual that gets right in your face and yells I will not be ignored.

So, of course, you can’t ignore it. And anyway, sidestepping it  just makes things complicated and even more painful. Besides, it’s kind of liberating when you lean into the discomfort of grieving. At least if you give into it, you uncover things about yourself you’ve spent years trying to hide. Or maybe that’s just what I have discovered in my grieving experience.

Over the course of this entire process, over the last nine and a half months, I have learned that just when I think things are finally getting better, or just when I think I am healing, something happens that turns my theory on its ear. The strangest thing I’ve found so far is that there is no rhyme or reason to where and when these feelings start to creep in. They just keep showing up like a pest you can’t get rid of.

In roughly one month’s time I faced Thanksgiving, Christmas and dad’s birthday. I’m not even going to pretend the past six weeks or so haven’t been hard. My writing progress, both here on my blog and in my work in progress, have been next to nothing over that time. Inside I am rejoicing that the holidays are over. I am sure each season will bring about its own sadness or melancholy memories, but I think this first year will probably be the hardest.

Right now, I am straddling this line of understanding that I need to lean into the discomfort when it strikes, but I don’t have to dwell on it. If I’m being honest, I have to admit that I don’t want to be sad anymore, and maybe, that’s the first step to moving on. I know I can’t rush through grieving, and I am not trying to, but I want to let go a little bit. I don’t want to forget my dad, I don’t want to forget about his life. I just don’t want to focus so much on his death, on the loss. Maybe by doing so, I’ll be able to focus more on my own life…or should I say I hope to be able to discover my new life.

I say new, because I am sure my life won’t ever be the same again. I can’t expect to go back to feeling the same way or being the same person I was before. But I accept that wholeheartedly and I am ready to start fumbling my way through this new life, whatever it may bring. Right now, I’m still figuring out how be me while embracing and interweaving all of my new experiences into my work, my soul and my every day life.

7 thoughts on “Leaning Into the Discomfort

  1. The sneaky thing they never tell us about grief is that it never really ends; it’s always with you. And as a result, every time you suffer a new loss, it brings back all the old ones. When you lose someone, you don’t just grieve one loss – friends, lost relationships, pets, loved ones, death, or breaking up or other loss – you grieve them all. I compare grieving to being tossed into the emotional equivalent of an industrial clothes dryer full of rocks.

      1. I wish I had good news for you. The ups and downs will smooth out, but the pain never goes away. Even years later, I still think, “oh, Steve [my cousin, died 2002] would get a kick of this’, or ‘Aunt June [died 2009] would love that!’ and just like that, it may as well be the day they passed. With Dustin, it all hurts, all the time, and on a certain level, always will.

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