Wednesday, July 16, 2014


My emotions had a rough go of it last night. My good friend Jennifer said I was showing signs of "reconciliation." I thought about that all day today. And I think it's true. My blog over the last 52 days has shown twists and turns, but ultimately reconciliation.

I'm a social worker, so forgive me while I go all "therapy" for a moment. Grief is an internal process. Lots of emotions come into play and the process is different for everyone. Mourning, however, is grief that is expressed to the world. Mourning is how a person works through her grief by outwardly expressing the things she is feeling inside.

Mourning is what I do on this blog.

In grad school and during my time doing a graduate internship with hospice, I was taught that grief without mourning is frightening and destructive. Grief without mourning is how people become shells of their former selves. How people succumb to demons and emotional pain. How people get stuck and cannot move forward.

Mourning is a healthy process.

It looks different for everyone. But it's healthy. The timeframe is different for everyone. But it's healthy.

Reconciliation comes later... or rather, is often part of the mourning process. Nothing will ever be the same. Rick is dead. I know that. You know that. And the reality of that is difficult to process and difficult to accept. Reconciliation is the (sometimes long) process of becoming more and more accustomed to a new life. It is adaptation.

Part of reconciliation in grief and mourning is processing the reality of death in outside, outward ways. This blog is a perfect example. It's a nightly ritual for me, and no matter how sad or heartbreaking it might appear, it's a healthy one.

Another part of reconciliation is allowing all the horrible, sad, painful feelings of grief and loss, but at the same time allowing the understanding that life goes on. For me, it means reminding myself that I am loved and heard.

Yet another part of reconciliation is altering the thinking about the person who is gone. For me, it means adapting to the fact that Rick is no longer physically here with me every day, and is instead a spiritual presence or a collection of loving memories. I can't interact with him anymore. I can't hold on to him. But he's not gone from my thoughts and emotions.

Another part of reconciliation is developing a new life - maybe even a new role or identity - without the presence of the person who is gone. In my case, that person is Rick. I'm working out the new life bit by bit.

Another part of reconciliation is - and I think this is a big one, at least for me - finding some kind of meaning in the death. My life is forever changed. And like I said in my post A Different World, I know that so many good things will come of this unfortunate loss. The world may be different because Rick is no longer in it, but the world will also be different because I am being shaped by this experience to do/be things I might not otherwise have done/been.

The last part of reconciliation is developing a support system. A network. People to help through this whole messed up process of grief and loss. I have that. I've been cultivating it. And I am lucky.

Grief and loss create a whole crazy world of their own. They beat down the door of the regular world and then wreak havoc on everything. I'm cleaning up the debris. I'm tidying the chaos. I'm sorting through the pieces that are left behind.

It's different every day. And it's all mine. No one can enter this world. My grief is mine alone. But I share the parts of it I can, because it's part of my reconciliation. The phoenix rises. The phoenix shares. The phoenix grieves. The phoenix reconciles. And so, the phoenix lives.


  1. Thank you for sharing part of this process with us. I hear you. You are going in the right direction. I know that you will find reconciliation and peace, in time. Sending love.

  2. I think that reconciliation is a process, which involves a fight.
    And when we fight, we longer feel the razor's edge than the land under our feet.
    But perhaps it's precisely at this time that we can show the best in us.
    I believe that a further part of the reconciliation process consists in realizing and accepting the fact that when certain things happen, you can't blame anyone
    Of course there is always the famous triad to blame:
    God, mom and bad luck
    But I don't think so.
    I think sooner or later everyone gets alone in life. Whatever the matrix of this loneliness.
    And in these moments, only you can decide if you want to get up or to stay in bed.
    To take out with friends or to lock yourself in your house.
    To go to work or to walk fast.
    I think that a process of reconciliation is essential to not live forever in the impasse of mourning. To leave behind the feeling that the ceiling is always ready to fall down if only you let the moths eat the wood.
    Yeah, it would certainly be easier to let go and rot in grief, but it is also true that things can get better, if we work for.
    And the biggest thing I've learned in life, it's that everything can really change, everything can really happen ... not if we wait for it to happen, but if we DO it happens.

    [Again, sorry for my mistakes...]

  3. I read every day and sometimes I find it difficult to hear you going through so many of the things that I did, both feeling for you and reliving for me. And sometimes, like today, you teach me something that helps as I look back on my grief journey and look forward. I am glad that this is helpful for you, you are doing good work here for others as well.


Help me feel less alone.