How Do You Protect a Grieving Heart?

Heart Picture

I try to guard my heart. I take seriously the business of protecting the wounded center of my very being. Each morning I wrap it in pillowy softness to shield it from over-exposure or vulnerability to further damage. It’s already been broken and I work hard to keep the break from splintering into tiny, jagged pieces.

I do this by spending time with positive people and surrounding myself (as much as I can, anyway) with those I love and people who love me. I spend time with “my Rosie,” who counsels me on coping with my grief and how to move forward after losing my Mother, my best friend. I am taking charge of my mourning; if I’m in control, then I can manage it and mitigate the impact. Right? No, that’s not right. It’s wrong in a big way.

Grief always has something new to teach me. First of all, it’s a constant, shape shifting, companion. Sometimes it shrinks down to almost nothing, a tiny speck, small but visible (to some) on my sleeve. Sometimes, it’s hidden in my pocket where no one can see it. Even I might forget about it for a minute or two…maybe longer. But it’s always there. Like a gum wrapper or a found penny stuck in my pocket the last time I wore these jeans. Forgotten until…yep. There it is again. Found it.

The monstrous thing I am learning about grief is that it has a way of sneaking up behind me when I least expect it. Tapping on my shoulder.

Tap, tap, tap

“I’m ignoring you.”

Tap, tap, tap

“Excuse me! I’m in the middle of something here, can you come back later?”

“No. I will not…I come when I come. ‘Manage’ me all you want, but I am here now. What’re you gonna do?”

What will I do? Go run? Write? Fold into my husband’s arms? Put my head down and do my work? Look at pictures and remember? Or…look for the butterfly? The butterfly imprinted on my heart or, like yesterday, the one fluttering by when I needed her most.

Yes, grief is here. But Mom is here, too.

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