It’s been three years since my daughter’s death and I think I do a pretty good job of keeping my grief in check. It seems that I keep all my grief in what I call a “heart shaped-box.” It’s that place in my heart where I keep all my Gianna things: my tears, our memories, my trauma, signs of her presence, my sadness. In a word, it’s where I keep my GRIEF. It’s a sacred, messy box, full of things that cause me pain. But it is HER. It is what I have left of my daughter so it is worth the pain. I think the farther one gets from the death of a loved one, that is how grief becomes. It gets tucked away in our secret spot because frankly, we have to survive and keep on going with life. I know I have times and places where I can take out my heart-shaped box and open it. There are safe spaces where I feel comfortable doing so: at therapy, talking with my husband, when I am alone at home, during my time of journaling, writing, or meditating. But in order to keep up with life, it is easier and almost necessary to keep that box tucked away. It is too emotional and draining to pull it out all the time or to have it staring at me in the face all day.
But then there are times when I don’t want to take out the box, yet it has been opened unwittingly and it is staring me down. Its contents are pouring out all over the place and I have no control of what is happening. I find myself swept up in memories and tears again. Ugh. Why is this happening? Why is something that I had under control now blindsiding me?
This is what I call a “grief burst.” I think we’ve all had a similar experience at the ocean. [Read more…]