Even a Rex sometimes cries…

I cried the other day. That doesn’t sound like much of an event, especially when I have friends who cry at least once a day over what seems like trivial events to the outside world. I realized afterward that it’s been about a year since I had a really good, ugly cry. That’s a long time for someone who previously would cry at the sappiest of movies.

Leading up to my dry spell, I spent so much time crying, mourning my lost loves, that one day, I had to stop. I had to stop crying. I had to stop to survive. If I kept mourning with so many tears I would wash away my resolve to live. So I stopped crying. I put up a wall and tried to find other outlets for those emotions. Crying couldn’t be one of them.

Then the wall was punctured. A long, stressful day led me to crumble the next morning over a seemingly dumb event. It wasn’t the event that made me cry. It was the build-up of all that emotion that I tried so hard to acknowledge and let go but never really let go of. It’s the emotion that hangs onto the edge of your heart or gets stuffed into the fringes of your mind. That emotion needs out, and like water flowing downhill, it will find a way. It will leak out in the worst of places if it’s not dealt with, felt and really, truly let go.

I admitted defeat. I admitted the Universe got the best of me. I let down my walls.

Time stood still for a moment. That pesky and persistent resolve to carry on swelled up. My emotional self wanted to bash it back down.

It is in these weak moments that I think of a young woman* Oprah interviewed many years ago. Her ex-boyfriend had set her on fire and she survived but with terrible scaring. She’s had dozens of surgeries and just living is a challenge. Although she wanted to give up, her sister tells her to take 5 minutes a day to feel bad, to cry, to let down her walls. At the end of the timer, she has to stop crying and carry on.

That interview has stuck with me. That young woman was honest, vulnerable and so sad. Her strength and carry-on-ness has stuck with me.

Allowing myself a few moments to feel sad, it was soon time to stop crying and carry on.

When I looked up after drying my tears, this is what I saw.

heart in the sky

When was the last time you let down your walls? When was the last time you really felt, and then truly let go of, those bottled up emotions?

*I tried to find the story of the particular woman mentioned above, but could not find it. If I do, I’ll add it in the comments.

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Grief: the silent RAWR

Grief. Loss. I am not a fan of those words for so many reasons, but they hold weight over us in a way that few other words are capable of.

Grief we feel, loss is what we almost had or had once upon a time. Beyond the letters themselves, there are few other words that can adequately describe to another human being what grief feels like. Wanting someone to understand grief without experiencing a loss is, in my humble opinion, darn near impossible. What is also striking is that the loss or reasons for grief can vary dramatically from person to person but the depth of pain, hurt and fear knows no bounds.

Whether you’ve lost a friend, a grandparent, a parent, a spouse, a child, a fur-baby or any other being or maybe even a job or the dream of a future, it hurts. It hurts a lot. It feels like your heart has literally been shattered into pieces, left in broken tatters. You wonder how you haven’t died from a broken heart…yet. You wish you could go with them just so the pain will stop. You wish you could turn back time to when that future was possible. Each breath hurts. Each smile takes pain to crack. Some days you wonder how you will ever carry on.

I say carry on because moving on is not possible. You will never forget, not for a day, rarely for a moment. Moving on, getting over it, letting it go, growing up, all of those mean words imply forgetting. You can’t forget. Forgetting is not an option. Carrying on is. When you carry on, you carefully and compassionately pick up the pieces of your broken heart (oftentimes with help) and with a brave face, move into the next present moment. You carry your loss with you, in your heart. The scars on your heart make you stronger. If you allow it, the cracks in your heart let love sweep in and out like the ocean waves.

Frozen tear on leaf

Grief hits your insides like waves, sometimes a large wave tumbles over you when you least expect it. Sometimes you brace for impact only to find the wave barely crossing your toes. To lessen the waves of grief, there are things you can do. There are tools to help you find and pick up those broken heart pieces.

When faced with a wall of grief and a shattered heart, it is time to mourn. Mourning is the work you do to process the grief. Mourning takes many outward forms: crying, writing, crafting, talking, sharing and so many more. Mourning is what saves us.

You will mourn not only the past and the present but also the future. Honoring the future you thought you had by acknowledging the present you’ve been given requires a strength that feels impossible to summon at times, but is absolutely possible.

If any of the above strikes a chord with your heart, I encourage you with all of mine and all of my RAWR to find a HEALTHY outlet for your grief. Many people turn to destructive behaviors which will only cause more pain and suffering. It takes strength to talk to a friend, go for a walk, cry, smile, write, sing, play, work, create, and mourn.

Just when you think you can’t go on, you can’t possibly be strong enough to [insert mourning activity here], that is the moment to think of your loss. Feel the love you had for that person or dream. It is in that love that you will find the strength to carry on.

Marie and Rauls lucky 5 leaf clover

searching for clovers of hope

I carry on. I am a survivor of grief. I mourn. I mourn on a daily basis. This post is my mourning. This post, and so many other moments of mourning are what saved me. What moments of mourning have or will save you?

*this post was originally published on A Day at A Time

**this post is dedicated to Indy and George. ❤

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