Living abroad is an amazing adventure, but it comes with some baggage. And sometimes, the baggage fees are hidden, catching you by surprise, costing more than you planned. You thought you had it all weighed out, you could handle this, squeeze right under the limit.
But then it got heavy. Your new friends moved away, or your child’s new friend moved away. Far away. Like other continents away. And your kid’s broken heart breaks yours.
Someone died and you didn’t get to say that last, fully present, goodbye. Family members celebrate a birthday, or the whole family celebrates a holiday, and you’re not there because the Pacific’s really big, and you’re on the wrong side of it.
Or your child can’t remember her cousin’s name, and she doesn’t even know that’s sad.
And you realize there are just some things Skype cannot fix.
And you grieve, and your kids grieve. Maybe. But what if all these things happen again? And again. You have another round of airport goodbyes, another holiday season with sand. Another Christmas with crying.
What if grieving gets old and annoying and time-consuming and exhausting? What if it becomes easier to just not grieve? To not let others grieve?
I’ll tell you what happens: Grief itself gets outlawed and a curse descends. And everyone learns that some emotions are spiritual and some are forbidden.
Has your grief ever been outlawed? Have you ever felt that your sadness or grief was “wrong and not very spiritual” and you should “be over this by now”? If so, I am very sorry. The prohibition of grief is a terrible, terrible curse.
Sometimes it’s outright, “Don’t cry, it’ll all be ok.” But oftentimes, it’s more subtle (and spiritual) than that. It’s the good-hearted person who says, “It’s not really goodbye, it’s see you later” or “You know, all things work together for good.”
What if your kids miss grandma and McDonald’s and green grass, and someone tells them, “It’s for God,” or “It’ll be ok someday; you’ll look back on this as one of the best things that ever happened to you.” What if you tell them that?
Grief gets banned, and what was meant as a balm becomes a bomb, ticking. The intended salve starts searing.
When loss happens, why must we minimize it? Why are we so uncomfortable with letting the sadness sit? Are we afraid of grief?