I’ve had my fair share of grief over the years and when you have a real conversation with just about anyone, you realize they, too, have had theirs. We live on the surface so much of the time, nodding our heads hello and nice to see you, which is to be expected when we’re all surviving with our heads just above the surface.
I’ve learned that to release grief and move beyond it, you truly have to feel it. That can be scary. It can feel like you’re probably going to die. There are usually a lot of tears involved and sometimes kicking pillows or throwing rocks into the sea followed by deep, cavernous silences that go on forever and never reach the bottom of your soul, occasionally ticking the sides making an other-worldly clanging sound.
For me, now, it involves some kind of conversation with God. A lot of me telling Him why I’m feeling so sad and a lot of Him listening. What I love about my conversations with God is that he doesn’t try to just go and fix things. He listens. A lot. I feel Him there, empathizing with me. And that’s what I need. And after I’m all done going on and on, I listen to what He has to say. About 99% of the time, He just tells me He loves me and that I’m doing great.
I wrote an essay for Blogher this past week. It’s the first time I’ve really spoken about how devastating the end of my first marriage was. When your kids are young, you don’t want to add anything to the pain they themselves are experiencing. I tried never to speak ill of their father to them or around where they could hear. It was hard. There were some really rough years where things were very unfair and it would have felt great to unload on them. But even now I’m so glad I didn’t do that.
If I could add something here to the essay, it would be to caution those going through similar circumstances to consider how your children are feeling when you speak ill of their other parent. Remember, your kids are made of half of them.