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When Grief Moves In and Unpacks Her Bags: How Grief Changed Me

When grief officially moves in and unpacks her bags, she becomes a part of every breath and every moment whether we like it our not. When she came to visit me, I was barely hanging on. Every moment I was hurting, but I was also healing and I realized that the only way out of is was through it.

My eyes were swollen and tired. It was officially day five of becoming a family of four. My body ached and my cheeks were covered in tears—not just regular tears, but the tears that burned my eyes and left me wondering if they would ever stop. The sun rose but I didn’t have the energy to enjoy beautiful colors and fresh start that comes with a sunrise. Inside I was screaming. Screaming for the me before kids. For the me who had it all together. I was screaming for the me who enjoyed the beauty of a sunrise. And for the me who loved being a mom. Grief had officially moved in and unpacked her bags.

I was supposed to love the pleas from my sweet girl for snuggles. I should enjoy holding our newborn as we introduce him to the world. My heart should long for family time. I should have been able to tell my friends that adjusting to a family of four was something that was hard as hell for me. But it wasn’t that way. Insides grief’s bag was anger, hate, frustration, and a crippling pain I had never experienced.

Crumbling Foundation

I cried emptying the dishwasher and when I was pumping gas. I cried while doing the grocery shopping and in the shower. The waves of grief hit me at the most unexpected times. Some days it brought me to my knees and other days it was a fairly quick rush that would come and go, but still left me feeling out of control and spiraling. Grief had completely crumbled my once strong foundation.

A Hardend Heart

The pitter-patter of my daughter’s feet brought sheer panic instead of joy. It took every ounce of my energy to hold my beautiful daughter, and after I let her go, I was utterly exhausted. My tone was different with her. It was short and harsh instead of soft and kind. My grief had hardened me.

Frozen in Grief

The baby snuggles from my newborn son were few and far between. He spent more time sleeping in a bassinet than in my arms. I love him with every part of my being, but my grief had taken over. His baby sounds brought some joy to my days, but his cry would make my heart crumble, and I was frozen and unable to comfort him. Frozen in my grief.

Falling Apart

Have you ever felt more like a burden to your partner and best friend? I was constantly apologizing for my shortcomings and my tears. A constant phrase was, “I don’t know what is wrong with me. I am sorry for crying all the time.” My husband no longer heard my belly laugh. Instead I lashed out at him for things that no rational person would even notice. Grief had brought out parts of me that I didn’t even know existed and in the midst of that I was falling apart.

Walking Through It Alone

My thoughts were so far away that I couldn’t even make sense of the world around me. I longed for connection, peace, and joy. Oh, how I longed for joy. My outside appearance was strong and put together, but the moment you walked through my doors my grief was everywhere. The piles of laundry, the dirty dishes. The toys scattered across the floor. I kept thinking somebody else could fix this for me. Time with friends maybe? The loving touch from my husband? The words of encouragement from those closest to me? Nothing fixed it, so I learned that grief was something I had to walk through alone. Yes, having all of those things previously listed helped ease the pain, but I had to sit in my grief. I had to process my anger. Nobody else could do that for me.

So, I did. I found a journal. Quotes inspired me. I spent numerous hours awake during the quiet of the night just holding my grief carefully, like a newborn baby. This devastating and numbing feeling had completely broken me. It had left me walking blindly down a path that I thought could only lead to darkness and anger, but after sitting with it and allowing myself to feel each emotion, each sharp jab, and my rock bottom, something changed within me.

We Can Learn From Grief

Grief led me to understand that no matter how hard today is things will get better. Maybe not tomorrow or the next day or the next month, but they will. It helped me find courage within my pain and anger. The courage to accept that not having all the answers on this journey is okay, but no matter what I have to keep searching for them. I had to quiet the world around me that focuses on hustle, perfection, and expects us to always wear a smile. I had to truly listen to what this grief and pain were telling me.

Grief Changed Me

It was telling me to let go of any and all expectations. My grief helped guide me to this beautiful place of self-love. A type of self-love that left me bursting at the seams to feel the light, smell the flowers, and love wildly in a world of chaos. I am forever grateful for my grief, for it has changed me to the woman I have always wanted to be.

Emily Jorgensen

Emily's roots will always be in Michigan, but she loves being able to call Colorado home. She has been married to her hunk of a husband for four years and they have two of the most amazing children. She believes in showing up for each other. Showing up to share the real, ordinary, and extraordinary parts of life. She thinks the three most beautiful traits a human can possess are grace, rawness and vulnerability. When people possess those traits and if they are willing to do the hard work of leaning in, feeling uncomfortable and owning their stories, they can find their true purpose. When Emily started doing the hard work, she came to the realization that her purpose was to serves others, while giving grace. When people are fully granting grace to others, they are loving them without judgment and accepting them for who they are at that exact moment in time. When people do those two things, they are able to truly show up for each other. It might be hard. It might take courage, but it is the most important thing people can do for each other.

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