Getting a Grip on Grief

Today is Saturday, my sadder day. The eighty-eighth one. It’s odd that my body remembers this is the day of the week my life mate/soul mate died. Even when I don’t remember, I wake up sadder than I normally do. (Whatever it is that remembers, though, can’t count. For that, I need a calendar to figure out exactly how many Saturdays he’s been gone.)

Despite the lingering sadness and random bursts of grief, I am healing. Today I casually picked up a glass, and it felt solid in my hand. Or perhaps I mean my hand felt solid on the glass. Seems a small thing, doesn’t it? But it’s a big step that came so quietly, I don’t have any idea when I got a grip.

During the first months after he died, I lost my grip, not just figuratively, but literally. Things often slipped through my fingers for no apparent reason. I simply couldn’t hold on. It seemed as if when I lost the connection with him, I lost the ability to connect with anything. Or maybe grief sapped all my strength. One night, a mug slipped from my hand. My fingers were crooked through the handle, so I don’t know how it happened, but all of a sudden the mug hit the hard tile floor and exploded. Well, actually, the mug shattered, but it sounded like an explosion. It wasn’t an expensive mug, nor did I have a particularly sentimental attachment to it — it was one of two give-aways we’d received from the phone company during a local festival — but I wept as if my heart had broken. Or as if he had died again.

Gathering up the shattered pieces and slivers of the mug, I understood for the first time that as the months and years passed, all our things would break or wear out, and every loss would take me one more step away from our life. This had such a profound affect on me, I made sure I had a good grip on anything breakable before I picked it up. Until tonight.

By such small steps, we heal the ragged wounds where our loved ones were ripped from our lives. By such small steps, we move into a life far from the one we once shared. By such small steps, we get a grip on grief.