Thursday, January 17, 2013

Can I get off this roller coaster?

I love a good roller coaster. Well, now I do. My first experience riding a roller coaster wasn't so pleasant. I was afraid. Just seeing that first big hill was enough to scare the bejeezus out of me!

As I think about riding roller coasters, I'm struck by the similarity of the enormous mass of twisting steel (or wood) that is a roller coaster to the mass of twisting emotion that is grief. You may be thinking that I've totally lost it, but stay with me. On the surface, these two things couldn't be more different. However, the similarity comes in the wide range of emotions you experience both in riding a coaster and in living with grief.

In my experience on roller coasters, I've reacted with anxiety, screams of utter fear then laughter and excitement. The range of emotions that come with grief is like a roller coaster in itself. There's sadness, anxiety, longing for what was, longing for another close relationship and numbness, but there's also happiness, laughter and hope. And, the most important of these is hope!

While there are many, many, many days I want to get off this roller coaster of grief, I can't. It doesn't happen that way. I know the ups and downs of grief will still come. What I can do is learn to live with it and manage it as best as possible.

I have chosen to really live the rest of my life. I want to live it fully. For me, that means deepening friendships, choosing to love again, taking joy in the simple things in life, caring for myself so that I can care for my children, embracing new opportunities and approaching work with confidence.

There will be bad days and things that trigger a grief response. On this journey to a new normal, I'll continue to learn how to manage the twists and turns that cause grief to rear its ugly head. Because it will!

So the journey continues ...