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The Paradox of Grief

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

par·a·dox /ˈperəˌdäks/ noun

  1. a seemingly self-contradictory statement that may prove to be true. (Opposite things being true at the same time.)

This is the beginning of year 3 of my grief journey and each day after Dec 11th, 2019 has been different. I think the most interesting part of where I am on my journey now is that I assumed that each day gets better. I thought that as I continued to heal, I wouldn't have days where my grief was as heavy as it was in the beginning! Sheesh! Was I WRONG! I have noticed that now, since the shock has warn off and I am no longer as numb, I am actually feeling more emotions than ever before. These emotions can be even more complex at times. Many times I feel guilty for enjoying life. Other times I find it difficult to hope and dream for the future. Being excited for what the future holds is the ultimate paradox in my grief journey. The most challenging thing that I have expereinced is missing Chris and looking forward to being in a relationship at the same time. That is truly a paradox. I am grieving what was lost, and who I lost, while simultaneously looking forward to eventually building something with someone new. As a widow, this is the area that you feel the most guilty about. When I initially considered dating, I felt like I was cheating when I would talk to men. I felt like it was wrong for me to like them or enjoy talking to them. Becuase Chris and I have a child together, I never want to feel like I am phasing him out. I want to remain intentional about making sure that his picture is visible for her, that I talk about him to her and that his legacy continues. This can be extremely difficult when trying to navigate a new relationship.

Many widows may find themselves worried about what those on the outside may think about thier decision to date or how quickly they decide to do so. Becuase there are so many complicated nuances emotionally, I have chosen to keep that part of my life private with only a select few knowing information about the people I am dating. Some days the grief that I have is attached to Chris directly, and other times the grief is connected to the life that I thought we would build together. I know that the Lord is a restorer and He will give me the desires of my heart even if it's not with the person that I thought it would be with. We have to understand that whatever we go through in life happens exaclty the way it is SUPPOSED to, even if it's not the way WE PLANNED it to.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.”
Isaiah 55:8 NIV

Each day that I get closer and closer to my future, I feel like I am getting further and further from my past life with Chris. For the last 3 years his car has still been at the house. When he passed away, I kept the car and offered it to a few of his friends. Some may not know, but he actually passed away in his car which is why many people didn't feel comfortable driving it. I just could not let his car go in the beginning. So I kept it. When my brother moved back from LA, I told him that he could have it. For him, it was like having his big brother's presence with him everywhere he went. Eventally the car stopped working and it was parked outside of the house. Initally it wasn't a big deal, but as the weeks turned into months the car went from being my little brother's car to the car that Chris died in. Although that fact was always true, it was something about my brother driving it that made it feel like it was his car and not Chris's. The car became an area of torment. Every time I would leave the house or come home I would be reminded of my reality. December 2022 was my breaking point. I could no longer face the car emotionally. In the begining of January I came home and the car was gone. My brother had finally gotten it towed. Part of me was relieved. I thought to myself, whew, I can breathe again. And the other part of me felt like I was loosing Chris all over again. Yet anothet paradox. I was being tormented by looking at the car that he passed away in everyday, but now that the car is gone, I now feel like his memory is slipping away. I know that I will never forget the times that we spent together and the memores that we made. I know that he will contunie to live on through ChristenDrew, AND I still soemtimes feel like I wish that he was here with me. All of these feelings are normal. All of these feelings are natural. I am learning that it is ok to embrace them. Understanding that 2 things that seem completely opposite can be true at the exact same time is soemthing that we all have to be able to embrace. It is normal to acknowledge what you have loss while preparing and maybe even being excited about what is coming. Life is full of paradoxical expereinces.

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