We’re trained to look at the big things when we’re grieving, but if we overlook the small things – the details – we will miss important milestones toward healing.
The funeral is a big thing. Firsts are a big thing. The first birthday, the first Christmas, the first anniversary. Those are huge.
Society is likely to recognize the big things. It is accepting of these moments. It gives us permission, sort of speak, to grieve a parent or other loved one.
But the little things aren’t so visible, aren’t so expected, and yet our grief pathway is littered with the little things. They are important, too.
The so-called little things are often big with meaning. One night, I dreamed of head butting my dad’s pillowy tummy.
I’d forgotten I used to do that as a girl. A silly, affectionate thing. We laughed together. He accepted me for who I was.
I loved head butting him one more time in my subconscious world but the fact I would never experience that again in this life was a downer that blanketed my whole day.
I was grieving one of the “little things.”
Despite the pain, I treasure the resurrected memory. It also was a very specific reminder – eyewitness testimony, if you will – that we shared a special, precious love.
The “little things” do stuff like that for us.
Maybe we cannot link a specific moment of grief to an interconnected moment of healing, but each step on a journey gets us where we want to go.
Collectively, the little things matter. Step-by-step, we get closer to a sense of healing.
Pushing Grief Away?
Probably the last thing you want to do is grieve. These “little things” come up and you don’t want to mull over the details. It hurts.
I totally get that, but to be entirely real, the only way through loss is through grieving.
We all must go through grief or we will stand still.
We will not be free of grief as long as we love, but we can find healing within this new reality.
What if grieving was not possible? What if humanity was saddled with loss and had no process in which to potentially evolve? We would end up like a patient whose doctor, deciding small bits of particles in our wound did not matter, left them in a wound.
Infection would be bound to follow.
Pushing down the little things pushes away the bits of healing that could be ours and that would lead to a broader sense of healing.
See, we did not lose only the big things when our parent died. We lost each little part – their endearing expressions, their incredible wisdom, the tender ways they loved us.
They are all glittering gems, all worth our attention. All worthy of our grief. All leading to a place where sadness and joy, gratitude and regret, longing and love mysteriously reside in the same space. And become what we call healing.
What is the “small thing” you grieved or you are grieving that seems to be leading you to a greater sense of healing? Or is there a detail that you’ve hung onto that is pulling you through your most recent steps in the grief journey? Let me know in the comments.
Copyright © 2023 by Toni Lepeska. All rights reserved. www.tonilepeska.com
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