Brace yourself.

I always find a way to prepare myself for grief when I know it's coming. Holidays, birthdays, significant milestones or memories...like I can brace myself knowing that grief will feel heavier during those times. And sometimes the brace is what makes it a little more bearable.

But it's when grief hits me outta nowhere that I find myself whirling without a clue. Tonight as I sit in the pews at church, it occurred to me that the last full day of Jeremy's life I spent in that auditorium with him. This was not a new thought, but I hadn't thought it in awhile and it suddenly felt new. Fresh. Raw. The last evening I shared with my husband was in that room. It instantly made it harder to breathe. And how could I forget that I was also 6 months pregnant....

was that really me?
did this happen to someone else?

Sometimes in those moments, it feels like a lifetime ago....maybe even someone else's lifetime ago. Not mine. Surely I can't be still standing here after having gone through all that. It's almost like I imagined it all.

Then I look down and see my 5 year old who looks exactly like his daddy with his hand in mine, and peaking out from behind is my tattoo that is a constant reminder that this IS real. I didn't imagine it. And sometimes I can pretend long enough to feel normal again, but then I remember where I've come from.

And those out of nowhere grief are the hardest to swallow. I have no time to brace myself. No time to put on my brave face or choke down the tears. I've got a good game face, but not good enough to catch every unforeseen grief moment that crosses my path. And that's ok. I can still smile knowing that I am living out my life soaking up the moments I have left and trying to make Jer proud. And those moments I can't brace myself for remind me that I am human. That I loved and felt loved. And it reminds me that the love and loss I experienced was worthy of a deep and heavy grief.

It's ok if you can't always brace yourself for grief. Sometimes the best thing you can do is allow yourself those moments, experience them to fullest and give them due time. It's at the end of the moments you realize you're still standing.

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