Today as I was running, an activity that helps me to remain sane, a conversation was started with regard to grief and how it has a habit of arriving when you least expect it. Now one of my previous blogs, “Ambushed” and other blogs I have read all address this, it is real and no matter how fresh or distant your grief might seem it can arrive in any moment.
It was then that I got this vision of walking around with a suitcase which is holding your grief monster. Your grief experience and your journey with it. It is a suitcase that I and those dealing with grief will forever carry around. Even though we carry this suitcase around with us it however does not have to be the suitcase that defines who we are as a person.
There are those who like to open that suitcase at every opportunity, they like to identify with the suitcase and it’s contents. For them it is the suitcase by which they are defined and most relate, this is perfectly normal and the time frames vary from person to person. The joy of being human is that we are all uniquely unique. They open it often to ensure everything is packed correctly, nothing missing or lost. Nothing misplaced or in the wrong place. This suitcase holds many defining moments, many dreams and aspirations, most importantly it holds the memories. Memories are incredibly important when that is all you are left with.
There are others who are trying to navigate life and know that there is this suitcase to carry around however choose not to be defined by it. This to is also okay. They to might have a look now and again at the contents but these are spaced further and further apart.
Then there are those who ignore the suitcase, they continue with life as if this suitcase doesn’t exist. Unfortunately this is a mainly male trait from years and years of conditioning. Remember cowboys don’t cry, what nonsense is this I hear some say. This is however a learned response and it too can be unlearnt with great patience and understanding.
There however is one common thing that happens to all who carry a suitcase, no matter how you carry it, and that is the lock has a tendency to spring open. The contents being spilled out when you least expect it catching you unaware and probably at your most vulnerable. When this happens sometimes we want to repack that suitcase as quick as possible hoping no one noticed. I personally find that this happens for a reason and rather than quickly packing it away I choose to slowly repack, embracing the grief monster and letting him know that I keep him locked away in the suitcase for his own safety. I hope by doing this to encourage less surprise attacks and to be able to face life again.