What is the answer when you want to smile and know it’s a way to avoid the inevitable sadness and grief of losing a loved one?
Some Factors to Consider
Indeed, the answer may include many factors.
- Your relationship with the loved one.
- A support system.
- Outside influences.
What You Can Control
Although none of the factors in the list above is under your control, there is one area open to you – how you choose to live.
- Allow the grief to come in.
- Acknowledge this part of the healing process.
- Live in the moment.
My Personal Experience
When I returned home after twenty-one days of dealing with the nuts and bolts of widowhood, I was delighted to see my weeping cherry in full bloom. The deep blue skies accentuated my joy.
Throughout the twelve-hour drive from central Florida to northwest North Carolina, I focused on living in the moment. All along the interstate in South and North Carolina, the pure white dogwood blossoms created the illusion of an open weave lace pattern among the leafless trees. Soon the vibrant purple of redbud trees joined the dance, both in native and landscaped stands.
When there were vistas of blooms at rest areas, I walked my dog where I could see the entire scene. In the North Carolina Welcome Center, I strolled through the pollinator garden created by the local garden club chapter. For me, nature always pulls me into living in the moment.
Tears still flowed in private moments, sitting in my car when my deep sadness overcame the moment. I surrender then and continue to submit to grief. The intensity isn’t linear. Instead, my grief follows a path including both current and past losses. This time I’m allowing the flow of emotion, welcoming quiet solitude, and feeling the difference.
The Next Phase
With this newfound flow, I feel hope. As I move through grief, my strength increases. I’m learning how to allow life to move at a slower pace. Completing necessary tasks, I feel alive, more whole.
Each week I dip my toe a tad deeper into my adopted community. Perhaps the local garden club chapter will offer the expertise needed to add season-long perennial color. Does the inaugural High Country Jazz Festival appeal? Or maybe the monthly Candlelight Ghost Tour in Wilkesboro. When you want to smile, I find life offers all the opportunities we allow to come into it.