I never knew, really, what grief looked like. We are very good at hiding it, compartmentalizing it. Grief is experienced in private, mostly. You are, of course, allowed to actively grieve during a wake, a funeral, a burial. Perhaps you can keel over your husband’s dead body, your brothers dead body, your friends dead body, your mothers dead body. Post a few sad status updates, write a blog post. But did you know that grief isn’t just crying? That grief isn’t a facial expression or a physical act? Did you know that a grieving person can do a lot of things, like laugh and go to movies and grocery shop and raise a child all while bleeding to death internally?
Well, now you know, so you won’t be surprised when it happens to you! That grief—that sneaky, stalkery, internal bleeding kind of grief—can’t be posted to Instagram. It can’t be performed on cue when you run into former friends who’ve evaporated from your life, or acquaintances you recognize you from the Internet.
Grief was my constant companion. I didn’t totally hate it, either—I still don’t. It is a bruise I get to push, a pain that reminds me that what I had and what I lost is real. It is the price I paid for loving deeply, for being loved. It is the evidence that Aaron was here, that he is really gone.
Falling in love didn’t take my grief away, and didn’t diminish it at all. My grief scooted over a bit to make room for Mister Hart, it invited him and our relationship to live in my heart at the same time. But happiness, love, are so much easier to demonstrate than grief. They are so much easier to see. And something about that made me uncomfortable.
Its OK to grief.