An Open Letter to My Grief.

Sweet grief, it’s been so long. Truthfully, I didn’t expect to see you again. Not here, at least. Not right now. Not during a period marked by such intense joy. But joy and sadness can exist in the same space at the same time, and here we are.

I owe you an apology.

When we last met, I was drowning in the pain of rejection and longing—an arduous swim I grew too tired to complete. When I could no longer kick, the most tender part of me reached inside my broken heart, pulled you from the crack, and placed you in the water beside me. You watched as she filled my lungs with air and called the swells to carry me ashore knowing she wouldn’t return for you because you were too heavy. You were left to drift with your own rejection, longing for the only suitable place to exist in this world: me. That must’ve been devastating.

I trust my tenderness severed us to give me a chance to heal not knowing I couldn’t do the work without you. But you required energy I couldn’t give then and she made a decision she felt would ultimately lead me to peace. I don’t blame her for the choices she made, even if they weren’t quite right.

When I opened my eyes and found myself washed at the edge of a sea that nearly swallowed me, I assumed you left on your own. I couldn’t have known I abandoned you and I wouldn’t have accepted the truth. The sun felt so warm and your absence was balm for my wounds. I desperately needed to rest.

It’s obvious now what I thought was our conclusion was actually our stagnation. The time and space I provided wasn’t enough—we never arrived at acceptance. Had I been more clear-headed, I would’ve flagged this perceived conclusion a fallacy. Grief doesn’t vanish, it only grows smaller. A part of me knew you still existed somewhere, but the distance between us felt safe.

It’s been years. You are terrifyingly formidable. You waited for me to return to the source of my pain knowing my heart would scream loud enough to rip the ocean in two and lead you back to me. I heard you in its echo. I knew you were coming. My pain became your path. And I watched in fear as you emerged from old waters, alive as the day I left you, to reclaim my body as home.

I couldn’t welcome you with the compassion you deserved. You see, I’m wired for resolution. As a problem-solver, I demand it. But you can’t be resolved in the way I desperately crave. I tried to deny you space because no set of steps exists for me to process you quickly and painlessly, and yours is the pain I fear most. How long (and how deeply) can I grieve this intangible loss? A lifetime? This feels so dramatic.

Grief, I’m sorry I mistook your heaviness for harm. You never intended to sink me. After all, you were born from love, not malice, and you are steeped in sweet memories. You deserve to be acknowledged and you have my attention. I’m writing this letter to tell you I see you.

As sure as the moon, so too will you wax and wane. Rest assured when I enter the darkness and find you most visible, I’ll open my heart and let you flow through me in a way that serves us both.

I’m ready to sit with you now.

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