You know, there is this post out there that talks about how everyone you meet is grieving and to just be kind. I’ve thought a great deal about that post and grieving and the impact on this world we all have.
Sometimes I don’t think I’m grieving. Sometimes I know I am. Sometimes I don’t know that the lady in front of me taking so long with coupons at the grocery store is grieving. Sometimes because of an update I know a friend another friend is.
I do know we all have these stories, these chapters of loss. And I also know that grief covers so many spots, not just death, but those places where there is deep pain in one’s heart over the broken pieces.
It’s been almost 16 months since I’ve seen my almost sixteen year old son.
He decided last summer to live with his dad 900 miles from me and in that time I’ve seen him (his choice) for only three days. I didn’t want to let him go, but in those minutes, those days, there wasn’t a choice, but rather the surrender of my heart for the greater good of his.
Friends, I grieve for him.
How could I not? How does a mother’s fierce love simply vanish?
Most days I’m good. I know it sounds strange, but most days I feel like I’ve moved to this place of loving him deeply and being grateful for our time together, but in it I am willing to let him go. I don’t know how a mother ever can get to that place of letting go, but grief is like that – it teaches a courage and bravery where one thought they might not bear it.
Somedays I feel guilt for grieving. Guilt that I should have done more or that it isn’t severe enough to deserve to be in the category of grief. Or guilt that I’m feeling happy and am good despite the hole in my heart.
And yet, there are other days where the pain of his absence sneaks up on me and hits me in the gut with intensity. I never know when, but when it does it surprises me with the depth of sorrow I feel and how quickly my eyes fill with tears.
I miss him. I miss the moments that once were. I miss the moments that should have been.
You might not know that if you saw me at Target today. You might think that I had it all together. You might see the snacks in my cart that I bought for the kids and think all was well in my world. You might never know.
It’s easy to judge others from the outside and to miss the stories on the inside.
Which is why the words “just be kind” matter so greatly.
You have power. You have impact. You can spread a ripple of kindness just by deciding to not judge, but rather to love.
We all have stories. Stories of adventure and wonder and greatness. Stories of sadness and grief. Stories of bravery and every single day normal. Stories that accumulate like the papers in my office that one day become the story of our lives.
You know, you have power and potential and a gift. And that is to be the person in this world who adds kindness to another person’s story. Maybe it’s a smile, some understanding, a door held, a dinner brought over, patience as you wait – just kindness. Love.
You might not ever understand the depth of another’s grief. But you can understand the gift of kindness.
Be that today.
And to all of you grieving today – you are not alone. I see you. You matter.