People tend to think that loss is harder on certain days. You know, "special days" like birthdays, a particular holiday or a death anniversary. Logically, it does make sense that those particular days would trigger more memories or more sorrow or that "special days" would lead to more grieving than "normal days." However, grief has proved itself to be anything but logical in my experience.
In anticipation of certain days, I give myself permission to do whatever feels helpful to me. Sometimes that means working out extra hard and sometimes it means staying in bed. Sometimes that means spending time with others and sometimes it means being alone. I try hard not to force emotions or create waves of grief; I simply accept whatever my grief brings. However, like I said, grief is not logical. Or predictable.
October 10th marked two years since Katie's death. Other than taking a day off from work, I planned nothing. Chad and I spent some time alone but together. It was a beautiful day and we walked to the cemetery with flowers. That evening, our kids' schedules worked out to allow us all to go out to dinner together as a family, leaving an extra large tip for our server (#katiecobbneverforgetya). It was a good day to remember Katie, but the day was not filled with tears for me. Memories, yes. But not an abundance of tears.
Yet the weeks prior had been very difficult. Some of the days since have been as well. Perhaps that is the anticipation and let down of those "special days," but I think it is simply the illogical way of grief. It is not predictable. It is not linear. It does not get better and better and then resolve. It is not something that anyone ever gets "over," although we can learn to navigate it. And it is so incredibly different from person to person that it is impossible to understand another person's grief.
Sometimes I want to hit a heavy bag or pound the pavement under my feet, releasing the anger building inside me. Sometimes I cry at football games and National Honor Society inductions and cross country races, letting the tears wash down my cheeks with no regard to appearing overly sentimental. Sometimes I just cannot handle one more piece of brokenness in my life, and I yell at the dog for coming in the back door with wet paws. Sometimes I am so bereft of the strength to even stand that I go to the cemetery and lay on the ground. But sometimes - a lot of times - I can talk about Katie and her life and her death without tears or anger or even a lot of pain.
I believe that, although grief is illogical in many ways, it is also beautiful. And important. In the book, How People Grow, Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend describe grief as the most important pain there is because it heals all the other pain. It may seem paradoxical; yet, by embracing grief, my soul is able to release the painful experiences and open itself to enjoy new experiences. I believe that is why the ancient sage Solomon once said, "Sorrow is better than laughter because by sadness of face the heart is made glad" (Ecclesiastes 7:3, ESV).
I have learned the value of grief - not only grief over another's death but grief over any loss, any pain, any desire unfulfilled. Acknowledging when life is not what you hoped it would be and embracing the pain that brings is imperative for emotional and spiritual growth. In order to receive the comfort that Jesus promises, I have to allow myself to mourn and grieve (Matthew 5:4).
I love my illogical grief, and I will not apologize for it. Because my grief puts me on a path to healing.