Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Gift of Grief

It's been 65 days since Rick died. 65 days since I went from wife to widow. 65 days since I became the sole homeowner. The suicide survivor. The bereaved.

It's been 65 days since the worst day of my life. 65 days since I came home to a suicide note. 65 days since I called 911. 65 days since my life changed forever.

It's been 65 days since I kissed my husband for the last time. 65 days since I last saw his face. 65 days since my grief began...


In the duration of the last 65 days, a metamorphosis has been happening. A transition. A transformation. Evolution. Life. 

Yes, life without Rick is still a life. And a damn good one. He'd never be upset to hear me say that. Living is what I was meant to do. I embrace it with both arms. And I realized something else today too:

I embrace grief. 

I embrace my grief.

Maybe it already seems obvious, considering I began this blog just 6 days after Rick's death when my heart was aching and my world was in pieces. Regardless, today I fed the cats, I worked hard at my job, I ran errands, I went for a run, and I embraced my grief. Every day, every night, the pain is excruciating...the circumstances of my life are not at all what I had planned...the emptiness in my home is close to unbearable...but I embrace my grief. I say, "thank you." 

There are lessons here. There's a life-altering action at work. I am sad, I am mourning, I am grieving, I am coping, I am hurting, and I am traumatized.

But I am thankful for my grief.

I realized firsthand just how much I can endure. My resilience pushes the envelope. When I smile during the day, my smile is real. When you see me, I am open. No facade or brave front. I cry out the bad to make room for the good...and whenever I can, I let the good fill me up. 

The number of positive things in this world has not decreased just because Rick is gone. 
I get to witness the miracle of true friendship. 
I get to experience the joy of a family who buoys me up when I feel pulled under. 
I get to see the sun. 
I get to feel the warmth of a day...the coolness of a night. 
I get to wake up to the beauty of every day. 
Each day of grief is better than any day without emotions. Without experiences. Without lessons.

As humans, we only know the joy if we know the sorrow. If we turn off our feelings, we don't experience sorrow...but we don't experience happiness either. We miss out. If we numb ourselves, if we stop living, we throw away the gift of life. We throw away the gift of grief.

Yes, the gift of grief. What a strange thing to say. Grief does not always feel like a gift. But even at its worst, I know it is one. And the knowledge that it is a gift helps me push through to the next moment when I can feel the meaning of my emotions, my lessons, my story, and my life. 

I cry, I swallow, I breathe, I stand tall, and I smile...as I embrace the gift of grief.

Rick always was the best at giving gifts. 


  1. Dear Arielle i was thinking last night how we have so many bad things happening in the world we live in and then i thought of you and how strong and positive you have been with what you are going through you are right we need to express ourselves and feel our feelings and be thankful for what we have its people like you that make a difference in the world we live in thankyou once again for sharing your wisdom with us. sending love and hugs Ann richardson xxxx

  2. A, I've been vacationing and am just now catching up on your posts. I am sobbing right now. I needed these words today. For my own grief - different from your own, but still grief, nonetheless. Thank you for these beautiful words. You are beautiful.


Help me feel less alone.