“The only way out is through.”
I first recall hearing that phrase in the final months of pregnancy. I’m not sure who shared it with me, but like all first-time moms, I was terrified of what was ahead of me. I couldn’t wait to meet our baby. I just wished I could avoid the pain that I feared was coming before I could hold him in my arms.
But, like the phrase says, I had to go through the pain to get to the other side. There was no avoiding it.
That phrase has served me well in grief.
No one wants to face the pain of grief- certainly not me. When the initial shock of loss began to wear off (so many months later than I could ever have anticipated), there was the temptation to avoid the grief. Stay busy. Stay distracted. Work harder. Eat more. Eat less. Travel. Move. Tell no one. Avoid conversation. Act like my husband was alive. Anything but feel the grief and face the loss.
I’ve learned a lot these past 18 months and one of the things I’ve learned is that grief can’t be avoided. As soon as you slow down, it is waiting for you. You can’t go over it, around it, or past it. You have to go through it.
Like the pains of childbirth, the goal is something so much better. No one of wants to stay in that place of pain forever. The pain isn’t the point. The reward on the other side is.
As I share about our grief journey, I want you to know that I am leaning into it so that I can come out on the other side. I will surely be a different person and grief will have forever changed me and left scars- just as becoming a mom forever changed me. But I am trusting that what is on the other side can be beautiful too.