Listen to The Beauty in Grief Playlist on Spotify
I dream a lot at night, and my dreams are not always rational or coherent. But I take them very seriously and write them down so I can remember them and call on them at a later time. I don’t really consider why there was a recurring green giraffe. What makes the most sense to me about a dream is its emotion. Fear I can understand and unpack. The green giraffe I can’t. So I pay attention to what makes sense first and go from there.
To me, songs are like dreams. All the lyrics of a song may not fit my experience, but there might be a verse or stanza that seems like it was written directly to or for me. This first song has become an anthem for me in my newly initiated life. I like the whole song, but the opening verse speaks of what is unfolding in front of me.
This could be the very minute
I’m aware that I’m alive
All these places feel like home.From 2003 Final Straw by Snow Patrol,
I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel since Karen passed in November. Currently I find the road is a better companion than the empty house. Nothing against Hank the Dog. He does the best he can, but he can’t silence the four walls that tell their stories whether I want to hear them or not.
I don’t ever want anyone to ever feel like my experience in grief should be theirs. I can only bear witness to what is happening in my soul. This is why I feel compelled to write about it right now. I don’t want to wait until it’s over to say something. My writing is like a flashlight, searching for a path out. And if it brightens your way, then let’s walk alongside each other. Together we’ll find our way out. And I’ve made a new friend as a result.
I’ve been to some beautiful cities in the last two months and I’ve reconnected with some beautiful people. I’ve gathered with them around incredible food, inspiring music, dark coffee, in the confines of an airplane, and in the serenity of a ferryboat. I left tears in each place. But they weren’t just tears of sadness. There were many moments of transcendence, of awe and wonder.
All these places feel like home.
In order to live my life to its fullest, I’ve discovered I must be willing to feel every single emotion that comes my way. To the degree that I refuse to be present in the valley is the degree I am unable to experience the bliss of the mountaintop. I can’t just choose the good and ignore the painful. I can’t make music on my guitar without a string held in tension between the tuning peg and the bridge. It’s this tension between two opposing points that causes the vibrations that can be turned into music. It takes both.
I feel the fruit that is starting to be borne out of the loss of my wife is a new opportunity to become more and more alive. I’m less fearful today than ever before. I’m less afraid of what others might think. I’m less afraid of my past mistakes. That’s why I can sing along:
With a name I’ve never chosen
I can make my first steps
As a child of 56
Today’s a new day. Make it count.