I used to wonder how people “do it” when they experience big loss. How did they get out of bed? How did they go on trips and continue making memories with friends? How did they post pictures with smiles? How is that possible?
Then my daughter died.
The answer, I think, is balance.
Today on my yoga mat, I thought a lot about this. My word for today was “strength” but for the entire hour, I couldn’t hold the poses that required balancing on one foot. I was getting frustrated with myself. I was feeling weak instead of strong but, I kept trying to come back to my balance.
And it reminded me of balance in grief.
Balancing being strong and giving in to the weakness has been vital to my survival over the past year.
In the beginning, you are strong because you have to be . . . you weren’t given a choice. Decisions have to be made. Papers have to be signed. Outfits have to be taken. Breathe in. Breathe out. Right foot. Left foot. Survival.
Then, when it inevitably overwhelms you, you give in to the weakness and collapse onto the shower floor, the couch, the crib mattress, the stuffed animal, the aisle in Hobby Lobby . . . wherever you need to.
And when you feel slightly better, you get out of the house simply to escape the couch. Because you know if you stay there, you’ll stay in the hole forever, and life has to go forward. So you take the trips for distraction. You make the memories for joy. You stay busy.
Until you can’t, and then you get back on the couch. And on it goes, day after day.
The bad days are bad but, the good days can be really good.
It’s a daily, sometimes hourly balancing act.
And you just keep going.
Because you have to.