Grief. What is it? Some say it’s like waves in the ocean, crashing over you, knocking you over, swallowing you up in a blue, dark expanse.
You may have read about those I have lost before. We’ve all lost those precious to us. I’ve had the privilege to be part of a group that supports parents when they’ve lost a baby. I’ve learned that there is no right or wrong way to greive. Some people perhaps grieve too much, some not enough. Others seem to let the grief become part of them.
For me, grief is like a beesting. I know this is hardly a perfect analogy. A be brings sweet honey. A bee pollinates a plant, bringing forth colourful flowers. A bee brings sweetness and colour, much like a loved one both sweetens and brings colour to our lives. The loss of a loved one stings. It stings and stings and stings. The closer to the heart that person was, the more it seems to sting. It stings like no ice, no balm, no soothsaying can ease.
Like the beesting, the pain of losing a loved one fades. At first, it feels like the sting of loss will never subside. It’s excruciating. It feels all encompassing. Over time, the sting eases. Looking at your skin, the mark remains. It remains sore and red. Tender to touch. After a while, you remember the sweetness and colour that little bee brought you, and the pain just subsides – just a little.
After time passes, you forget that initial sting. You forget that pain. On your skin, on your heart, a small mark remains – a permanent reminder etched into the very fibre of your being. The pain is no longer there, but the mark remains forevermore.
Grief isn’t about remembering the pain. Grief hurts at first. It stings. But grief should not own you. It’s not part of your identity. It might shape part of your life, but it shouldn’t become you. The pain of loss should not continually consume.
Grief, for me, is remembering the sweetness and colour that the bee brought – not the sting they left when they were gone…