I don’t like grief.
I don’t like death, or break ups, or the loss of a loved one in any capacity.
It’s a pretty shitty thing, but I think I’m slowly getting better at it.
I read a story once about how grief comes in waves – at first, they just about drown you and there is no break between sets. But at some point you are able to catch your breath, get a glimpse of the shore and get your bearings before the next onslaught. And then eventually they spread out a little more, and you can start to read the signs and prepare yourself for when another breaker is coming in.
I miss Cat. I grieve the loss of my best friend and mentor, still battered by those waves – although somewhere along the way they did begin to spread out a little more.
I want to walk out this grief well; not only here, but throughout my life. I want to look my pain in the face and not fear it. I want to trust in a grounded assurance that I won’t drown. If I just hold on, the waves don’t last forever, and one day I will be able to think of her laugh and her infatuation with Aldi and how she always remembered my favourite mug and coffee and I can smile freely once again.
This is a process I am acutely aware of during my time walking. I feel like this journey holds keys for me yet, and maybe even ones I can pass to others down the track.
Today, as I walked through pine forests lined with exquisite detailed tiny purple flowers, past creative carvings left for pilgrims, by tractors and cows and more and more fields of gold, I faced a wave.
I cried, I mourned, I smiled through the tears and I appreciated what a blessing my great friend was.
For hours, I got to walk in solitude. I listened to the birds and rustle of squirrels, the crunch of rocky ground beneath my feet and the rhythm of my own breathing.
In the afternoon, I found some of my Pack again. Together, we climbed a mountain and stood in front of a cross at the summit. Someone had an idea to take a photo of our bags all heaped underneath, and I found it symbolic of my day: picturing the sacrifice Jesus made for me, so I can leave my baggage at His feet and walk freely.
I’m still learning, but I am walking more freely. And I know every step I take is one with her by my side and in my heart.