Often times in grief we can feel isoloated, as if nobody in the universe could ever begin to understand our pain. And then, thanks to the internet we’re instantly connected with someone who may not have walked in our exact shoes, but it feels close.
This happened to me recently and it took my breath away and left me astonished. To have someone else put into words what I have not been able to is confounding. Immediately healing. And gave me a sense of connection.
My hope is the following will ingnite recognition for you or bring clarity about something you haven’t been able to parcel out (…which is absolutely normal btw). Sometimes in grief we can’t logically wrap our minds around what’s happening. It takes time to process (a little perspective) and then we can put the pieces together. Whatever the case, the following is beautiful and real and true in my own experience.
MY 60 SELVES AFTER LOSS by Christina Rasumussen, acclaimed grief educator and author.
It has been 12 years.
He passed at 2:00 am EST on July 21, 2006.
If I could count all the selves I have been since that night I would probably count at at least 60. The first 4 came in and out really fast. I will tell you about them later on.
There were 40 or so the first 3 years.
Then 4 every year for the next 2 years, one every 3 months or so.
After the first 5 years I evolved a little slower than the beginning.
Maybe 2 new selves in a year.
An now in the end of my 12th year I can say that I have been with this self since January.
7 months and going strong.
This self is the most equipped to stick around.
She is persistent.
She thinks she is the self that can outsmart all the ones before her and stay the longest.
You see, evolution immediately after loss is quite intense and fast.
We change rapidly.
It is almsot like you are reborn.
You know I call it reentry.
But nobody tells you about this.
Grief is an evolutionary experience. It hurts so much it changes our DNA.
It changes our thoughts. Our emotions. Our taste buds even. Yup.
Everything we were made of, gets unmade.
Pain of the soul is evolutionary.
I look back at all 60 selves and each one of them was different.
The first one came along in the hospital room, she walked me out and gave me strength to make the calls.
The second one helped me tell my girls about their dad. She stayed for about a week.
Got me through the funeral, the kids sleeping with me and moving the beds around.
Then number three came along and got me running outside, and moving my body when I thought I would lose my mind.
Number four, helped me take the girls to the UK for their first adventure without their dad. Number five got me through the holidays.
Number six got me my first job since his passing. And it goes on, all the way to now. They all did their part.
It has been easier to think of myself as 60 versions of me.
I understand what happened better.
Loss brings rebirth. Plural yes.
It is time to start looking at grief and its aftermath as a reentry of selves.
How many selves have you been since your loss?
So many lines and words tug at my heart and soul. This one…“It hurts so much it changes our DNA.”
Or how about…“It is time to start looking at grief and its aftermath as a reentry of selves.”
Thank you, Christina for helping me again, open up this journey in deeper and more profound ways.
*Are you interested in learning more about grief guidance and wayfinding? I offer a complimentary 30 minute session.
Photo credit: Taha Mazandarani