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Boxes of Grief


When does grief stop hurting?


Grief can come from any loss: loss of a special person, loss of hopes and dreams, loss of opportunity, or any other loss of value. Real grief comes from losing something that never can be replaced--at least not in this life.


At first, the event that caused the grief is spread all over the living space in our minds. It's on the carpet, the tables, in between the covers at night. Grief is in every corner.


Then over time, we pick up that grief and put it into boxes. We don't throw it away; we just collect and file it. And we leave the boxes stacked in the corners, maybe we're still tripping around it a bit.


Then later we put the boxes up on a shelf in our minds. Still there, just not in the living space.


Those boxes are important. We can't just throw them away and act like nothing ever happened. Those griefs did happen.


So, every so often, we pull down a box of grief from the shelf, ruminate over the contents, cry, cry more, then we put the items back and put away the box again.


The box is there, just packed away for the next time we need to pull it out and remember.


Sometimes, the shelf gets jarred and the box falls on your head unexpectedly. That's from some trigger--news or circumstances; a trigger which doesn't go off every time the news or circumstance happens, just sometimes.


When that box falls on your head unexpectedly, look through it. Cry. Don't just pack it all away again as if it isn't there. Give your grief box the time it needs.


The older we get, the more grief boxes we collect on the shelves in our minds. That's life. Though we "move on," we never throw out that grief; we just don't leave it lying around all our the living space in our minds.


I have grief boxes for my deceased grandparents; for my brother; for the babies we've lost; for the dead hopes of having more; for the griefs other dear friends and family have experienced; for time wasted.


All those boxes matter, and the grief never completely stops hurting.

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