Friday, October 2, 2015


Grief isn't a straight line. There is a popular image on fb of the common conception of grief, a smooth arc, contrasted with what it's really like, a dark scribble, crossing over itself over and over again. I am reminded of that today.

My life is rich and I am repeatedly astonished by how okay I am most of the time, 18 months after Kevin's death. But not right now. Right now I am on a plane in the midst of ten days of personal travel. My work life requires a lot of travel so personal travel is always a bit conflicted. This is a long time away from home right after some work time away from home; in the last 17 days I have been home for two.

I am finding myself homesick and in that feeling I am back in harsh grief. I miss Kevin. I miss him with a visceral longing and I am sitting here with tears on my cheeks, for all that part of this trip is to visit my new love, a man who is able to accept all of these contradictory parts of me more easily than I can. It is hard to hold the new love along with the old and in this moment it just hurts.

I know this feeling will ease. That's part of what has gotten me through the worst of the grief, whether it was in the days immediately following his death or in the past few weeks. The body can't hold these feelings for too long and soon enough I will be back to a place where I can function. In this moment? All I know is that I hurt. I miss him. I am grieving. 

By the time you read this I will be okay. I will be back at a point of some kind of equilibrium. I am constantly reminded that grief is not linear and, even in the best of moments, there is still the longing for and memory of the one who has died. 

Our lives are a compendium of everything that has happened to us and grief is no less a part of this than love, hope, failure and success. I remind myself that no part of this journey is simple and, if I find myself back in a place of acute pain it is no less permissible and honorable than any other feeling. I would rather let myself live fully, feel fully, even if right now I am back in the place of raw wounds.

The geography of grief isn't regular. It's neither a flat plain nor uninterrupted jagged peaks. Really, there are no detours, only the ongoing twisty road with switchbacks, overpasses and always, if you look, a noteworthy view.

(c) 2015 Laura Packer
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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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