How to Know When You’re Getting to the Better Side of Grief.
When drinking out of that one striped coffee cup (his)—which you relegate to a special place and celebrate sipping from, holding the connection to him the way a child holds her Teddy Bear—no longer feeds you an emotional feast.
Of course, you still choose it the way you’d still choose your beloved were he alive, but its existence, meaning, and memories don’t grip as tight as they once did.
When you flirt with other men because you want to, not just to prove to yourself you still can.
When meeting potential suitors, you no longer seethe from your soul the words that rolled off your tongue fresh after his death: Every other man is going to be such a f*cking disappointment!
Although each one will say or do the wrong thing by virtue of not being the man you called Fire!.
He lit you, warmed you, melted you, and went out in the night while you each slept snuggled in the peace you’d longed for your whole life.
Yet, you remember you once gave him a hard time, too–even considered him unqualified.
Until he shattered your walls with his Southern, all-in, “I’m not those other guys” determination and dedication without expectation.
Damn. He showed you how a real man steps in.
So, you might be getting to the better side of grief when you believe maybe there’s more than one emotionally courageous man on this earth, even another for you.
You stop banking on your beloved coming back, although you still secretly believe.
Your fascination with the other side, psychics, and signs subsides.
Sure, the songs still come, like Summer Nights for your sister, the flash from her first date with her husband some 35+ years ago, before he died after decades of love and a devoted family foursome.
That same night in the Bahamas, gals sing and slaughter Ice, Ice Baby, the song that originated Fire’s nickname for you in 1988 when your friendship began, as playful as a paintball tournament.
You’re getting to the other side of grief when these songs, reminders, and hellos from heaven break a smile instead of your heart.
You find yourself fully present vacationing with your sister, letting the alligators in the Everglades and lobster on the beach in the Bahamas own your attention.
Easy, one might say, but to grieve is to always wish you were elsewhere: with him.
When every breath isn’t I wish you were here; I miss you so much! Although the thought still indulges your days, it’s not every. single. moment. Progress!
Now, you’ve done 30 Days of Meditation, cleared everything from your chakras to your lineage, and found your heart bursting with love.
Determination isn’t only in your head; you embody it.
Goals and dreams matter, rather than just trying to convince yourself they should.
You might be getting to the to the better side of grief when birds singing and feeding at the feeder that belonged to your beloved goes from bittersweet to simply sweet.
Morning air and the wearing of his KISS robe isn’t ripe with flashbacks of early country mornings, arising from his bed and arms to let your dog out, hearing your favorite holler, “Come back, Icey! Come back!”
When you stop betting 100% he will.
Once again, you start finding two pennies repeatedly. Then a nickel and a penny, hearing him say, “For your sixth cents,” laughing, and you laugh, too.
Your own laughter rings as real and unrestrained as it flowed back in 1989, before your brother died, when you called The Fire! only Kevin, and he helped you pack your Honda CRX hitched with a U-Haul, so you could haul your ass out west and run away from husband number one.
You no longer want to run away from your own life.
Instead, you lean into the laughter and how it feels in your belly and looks on your face reflected in the eyes of your sister, friends, and strange folks you’ve yet to know.
You could be getting to the better side of grief when gratitude doesn’t feel like false affirmation, when you look forward to time with friends, and frankly, you stop wishing you were dead.
When you don’t keep your eyes on the clouds, begging for the heart shapes so prominent and clear in the first year after he died.
You begin looking at all that is before you.
You stop carrying conversations on autopilot like your decades spent in sales. You listen to others’ pain as more than pacifier for why yours isn’t so bad.
You still yourself and speak from your soul without the deafening echo of his goneness.
You hear joy—theirs and yours—and let it rise like a favorite song you sang in your 20s. Passion!
I find I’m getting to the better side of grief when I want to grab every morsel of life.
I don’t want to miss out on one grand, or even mundane experience, like savoring coffee, because I’m so damn busy missing my beloved, my Fire!, although I always will.
I crawled through the dark tunnel of grief after experiencing the ecstasy of sacred love.
It hasn’t died. His love lives in me. I’m forever his Ice Baby.
I’m all that he fell for—broken, vulnerable, smart, strong, feisty, funny, and beautiful.
We were crazy, sexy, cool. He still is; I still am.
I’m alive, eager for the moments before me, and excited for the chapters unfolding.
I feel like me again. I’m a woman who loved unbounded and grieved with every fiber of my being.
I’m not a fool. Grief will grab me again. She can knock me down with the power of a colossal ocean wave. I accept her power, her nature.
But, we may be getting to the better side of grief when we once again feel our own power and God’s grace within this brutiful life.
And giddiness! There’s no such thing as giddiness in the grip of grief.
So, if you’re in it, I extend my hand in hope to hold with your honorable despair.
There’s another side to grief. May I see you there.