‘Mommy what does it mean to dance with grief…how can you dance when you are crying?’
Instead of just giving her the answer I asked her:
‘Do you remember the days after daddy died and when we went to the beach and had fun with the waves?’
‘Yes I remember we were having fun while we were still sad.
Mommy now I understand what grief is.
I can always have the same feelings about daddy even though I am having fun.
Laughing and crying could be the same thing in a way, I remember daddy when I am doing both.’
As I am listening to her words and her wisdom I realize how much our society and culture has dictated our approach to grief and loss. Dancing with grief is not understood unless you have the heart and the young mind of a child who has not been introduced to the world’s reaction of her loss.
In her journey of grief she has been bold and adventurous, she has tried new experiences, she has made new friends she has loved a new dad and can still hold on to the daddy in her heart.
And in a soft voice and with the sparkle in her eyes she says to me ‘daddy is very proud of me for being brave.’ A smile is forming on her face and you can truly see how both strong and vulnerable she is.
That is what I ask of you, to be, both brave and scared, to have the thirst to move forward but the need to stay back.
When you realize grief can mean both worlds you will start seeing the life that is standing right in front of you.
And as my 9-year old daughter would say:
‘I love my dancing with grief life.’
I hope today you take her advice and go dance with grief.
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