The thought that grief is something you live with, rather than something you recover from – move on from – are at danger of slipping back into – are not processing in a healthy way, is a comforting thought in itself.
From It’s OK That You’re Not OK.
We are changed by our new realities. We exist at the edge of becoming. We don’t recover. We don’t move on. We don’t return to normal. That is an impossible request.
A dear friend of mine spent a good part of his early life working in mine restoration -the environmental practice that attempts to heal landscapes polluted and destroyed by intensive mining operations. This is such an intense–and often failing -prospect that many environmentalists have written off the restoration of mine sites. They are simply t00 damaged to be restored. My friend worked with, at the time, the only person who had found a way to restore these sites. It involved collaboration with native tribes, research into mineral and biological needs of various landscapes, and patient study of the land itself–watching the wounds, using them.o inform the ecological changes moving forward. The work wel is intensive, backbreaking labor. It takes decades to see the results: flourishing ecosystems, the return of native plant and animal species, a landscape healed.
My friend says that people visiting these restored sites see only the beauty there. There is no obvious evidence of the destruction that came before. But for those who did the work, for those who saw what lies beneath all that new growth, those wounds are clearly evident. There are whole lifetimes buried beneath what now appears so beautiful. We walk on the skin of ruins.
The earth does heal and so does the heart. And if you know how to look, you can always see the ravages underneath new growth. The effort and hard work and planning and struggle to make something entirely new integrated and including the devastated landscape that came before-is always visible.
That the devastation of your loss will always exist is not the same as saying you are “eternally broken.” It is saying we are made of love and scars, of healing and grace, of patience. Of being changed, by each other, by the world, by life. Evidence of loss can always be seen, if we only know how to look.
The life that comes from this point on is built atop everything that came before: the destruction, the hopelessness, the life that was and might have been.
There is no going back. There is no moving on. There is only moving with: an integration of all that has come before, and all you have been asked to live.
It’s OK That You’re Not OK, Megan Devine, Sounds True, 2017, pgs. 168-169.