by Tom Swift

This, to the extent I am aware of such dynamics, is my experience of — my view on — grief.

Grief is sneaky. Stealthy is perhaps the better word. In any event, you often do not see or feel grief until it is already on you, in you, surrounding you. Even then, even when, you do not always know that grief is in your midst.

You can live in a cloud of grief and not even know it.

Grief is pervasive. Grief seeps and spreads. Grief attaches itself to thoughts and things that are unrelated to the grief itself.

Grief is not logical.

You can experience grief about the future. You can feel grief for a loss you have not yet experienced. The body knows.

Grief disguises itself. As fury. As sadness. As more things than be counted here.

Grief is a combo-platter emotion and yet also distinct. That might not make sense but then I do not purport to make sense of grief.

Grief is decidedly uncomfortable. We do so much to avoid grief. We try to outrun grief. We try to bury grief. We look away from grief. We pick up our phones and our drinks and our potato chips. We do almost anything if it means not dealing with grief.

It is understandable that we do not want to deal with grief. Grief is hard. And not nearly as fun as a video game.

Grief is seldom speedy and usually grief is slow. It puts its feet up and stays a while. You might think you set grief aside but grief remains in the guest room. Grief lingers under the covers.

Grief is cyclical. And its orbit is impossible to discern. What you know for sure is that grief will be back. Without question grief will return.

You can’t defeat grief. You can’t control grief. To try is also to increase grief’s strength.

We are not, however, despite these views, helpless to grief. We can lessen grief and sometimes even resolve grief.

Grief loses its power when we see it, feel it, let it be. Look grief in the eye; you are stronger than grief. Really, you are.

Yet, to be sure, you do not want to identify too closely with grief. There is no shame in grief but you do not want to make grief your friend. Grief is no badge of honor. Grief can teach you things but grief is not a buddy. Don’t put grief on any flag you fly.

Respect grief. Accept grief. Allow it to do what it must. Allow it, too, to be its best good — allow it to remind you of the love that is lost so that you can be present to the love that exists and be open to the love that may come.