Learning To Dance With A Limp: Why Dealing With Grief Is The Only Way To Heal
From the loss of a relationship to the loss of a loved one, suffering is never easy. You will always feel that a piece of you has died inside. Often, we are afraid to grieve or show our sadness. Now, I'm not saying you should wear your emotions on your sleeve, but grieving is a healthy, normal and necessary reaction to loss.
One summer day at work, I got a call over the radio that a police officer was looking for me with a question. When I met the officer, he told me I needed to gather my things and come with him. My initial thoughts were, "F*ck, what did I do?" I was playing every possible scenario in my head. I got in the back of the police car and asked what I was in trouble for to which the officer replied, "Nothing." He gave me two options: he could tell me the news, or I could wait until I got home to hear it. I went with door number one. "I'm very sorry," he said in a monotone voice, "Your sister was in an accident and she didn't make it."
Surprisingly, I didn't cry. As upset as I was, I just couldn't. Not in front of my parents, not in front of my siblings, not in front of my friends. Being strong isn't always a good thing; you need to express your emotions. This is what many, including myself, fail to realize. Grief is a natural response to loss, something we resist and prolong.
I went back to work as soon as I could to escape being home. I took a road-trip with my friends shortly after to get out of town. I thought these were great ideas to distract myself from what my family was going through. Little did I know, in order to start healing, you must face your problems, not run away from them. Before I knew it, it was time to go back to college. I could not be any happier to get away from home and be with my school friends. This was just another escape, so I thought.
One night, I was laying in my dorm, staring at the ceiling, thinking, when out of nowhere, I cracked. Every memory I had of my sister, both good and bad, came flooding through my mind. Normally, I was able to turn it off, and start thinking about something else. This time, I couldn't. All those weeks of acting like everything was okay and forcing a smile drove me to a breaking point. Luckily, I had a very good friend to help me pick up the pieces.
Grieving is natural. Grieving is normal. Grieving is necessary. Had I just dealt with my emotions in the first place instead of running from them, I would have been much better off. Know that it's ok to cry, it's ok to express emotions; it's ok to hurt. Acting like everything is fine does not mean that everything will be. Unfortunately, our thoughts can only do so much.
Whether it be the loss of a relationship or possession, or dealing with death, know that, besides it being necessary, it is ok to let out your emotions. Bottling up feelings will do no good. You may think you are being tough, (I know I did) but you'll get to a point where you've reached the end of your rope.
No, you can never completely get over the loss of something or someone, but they do live on forever - in your heart. A friend of mine once told me, "It's like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly, but you learn to dance with the limp."
Will you every fully recover from a heartbreaking loss? No. But, you sure as hell can keep moving forward. Learn to dance with a limp.
Photo credit: Getty Images