I am in a season of grieving, and I’ve been reminded that such sadness is a deeply physical human experience. During seasons of grief, there seems to be a need to take extra time and extra care to attend to nurturing ourselves physically. When I think about my recent loss of a friend to cancer in five short months, I am aware of a powerful experience of grief that courses through my entire body. As I reflect on the funeral three days ago, I can see the images in my mind of my young friend and her three children sitting next to the casket. I can feel the cold midwestern wind blowing in representation of a very chilling experience of loss. I can feel the tears on my face, and hear the sounds of the pastor’s voice trying to instill a sense of enduring comfort in the midst of the tragic immediacy of pain.
I have needed more sleep, needed to cry and talk to friends, needed to continue being active and eating well, needed to reschedule and ask for help with some of my weekly commitments. I’ve done these things, and they don’t make the grief go away, but they allow me to exist in it feeling comforted and cared for by myself and others.
If you are in a season of grief, allow yourself to mourn, knowing that there will again be a season of dancing. But allow your emotions to be what they are, for as long as they need to be that way. There is no one timeline for grief, so allow yours to be your own. Acknowledge your emotional experience while actively nurturing your physical needs and pursuing connection with others and more than enough self-care. Despite the sadness that often accompanies it, death provides an acute reminder to embrace life, just like my friend Chris did, and to keep in perspective the importance of lasting versus fleeting concerns.