They may not have told us fear keeps company with grief, but I get how it does.
When someone we love dies, we lose more than just that person: we lose the role they played in our life. That whole chunk of who we are dies with them. And so does our identity.
When a spouse dies, it’s the demise of a big part of our life. All of the little things we shared are gone, in an instant. What does that new life look like without our partner?
When we lose a child, it’s gut-wrenching. It means an entire overhaul of almost every aspect of life and can be pretty scary to consider. In fact, we may ask the question, “who are we now?” We’re unmoored. Disconnected. Floating free in some new place.
So yes, fear.
I spoke with my mother by phone every single day and when she died, it took years for the urge to call her to wane. Those calls were a big part of my routine, my life. It was how we stayed connected across the miles. Who would I share good things and bad if she were gone? Who could I ever be that close to? She was part of my life and I didn’t know how life would be without her. So yes, I felt fear.
A mother I know who lost her child told me she awakens every morning in fear of another day without being mother to her daughter. She’d rather pull the covers over her head than deal with that fear. Or that fact.
So here’s the thing: there is no easy answer. No easier path through. All we can do is feel the fear and keep moving, breathing through it, walking through it.
Because grief is one of the hardest journeys anyone can take. And the truth is, we take it alone.
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