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Picking Up the Pieces in the Aftermath of My Grief

When he, my father, passed, I didn’t even know it. I didn’t know how different my world would be, how differently I would perceive it, nor how differently I would interact with everything around me now.

The two-year anniversary is approaching. I just realized moments ago that, like the wine glass that fell earlier in the evening, I am shattered. Now I’m cleaning up my pieces. They are sharp, they cut, no longer beautifully assembled as they once were, but spread out, and broken. The blunt force of my initial grief has faded. Now I’m in the aftermath, cleaning up the pieces of my being and trying to put myself back together again in some resemblance of my former self — post-storm.

As my husband leaned in to kiss me goodnight, he groaned from his post-workout pains. I responded, “That’s what getting stronger feels like.” The echo replayed several times in my head as it sunk in. This is what getting stronger feels like for me. It feels like pain, like fear, like missing your best friend, missing yourself because you can’t find those pieces that were destroyed in the fall. It feels lonely and so morbidly sad. It’s feeling yourself breaking, still. It’s being lost, not knowing which way to turn, not knowing how to navigate my new world. It’s an insatiable craving for connection without a cure.

Yet, for me, it also feels like enlightenment. I’m learning so much all over again. Step by step and day by day, I find my way. It feels like the brink of discovery as I rebuild. It feels like placing my pieces back together, and somehow they fit better than they did before, truer this time. I am simultaneously weaker and stronger in different ways.

This is the aftermath: assessing the damage, redesigning and beginning repairs. A painful process of rebuilding complete with setbacks, delays and missing materials. Maybe once I was a wine glass, beautiful and delicate. Perhaps someday my pieces will fit better as a juice glass, smaller, sturdier and more functional. In the meantime, this is what getting stronger feels like. Come my completion, I will be built stronger.

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