Discover more from From Streets to Scholarship by Terence Lester
Finding My Way Through Grief
A Journey of Healing, Growth, and Resilience
The past month and a half have been tough. Lately, I have been wrestling with post-traumatic pain from the accident I was involved in a little over a year ago, and some days have been more painful than most. I am not talking about minor pain. I am talking about the pain that brings your eyes to tears.
And although it happened a while back, the pain causes me to process what happened to me all over again. Recently, my grief has been at an all-time high, reminding me of the loss I experienced and the time I will never get back.
Have you ever been there? Have you wondered, why me? Why then? Why now? Giref has a way of knocking on the door of your heart and demanding to come in as an uninvited guest.
There are nights when I still have nightmares about the accident and reflect on the months I could not move. I still sometimes have a fear of getting on the road in a car and a fear of riding in cars with other people.
There are days when I am doing work that I process, and grief feels like navigating a maze without a clear exit.
This is not to say that I have not been blessed or grateful. I have achieved some things, written a book, and resumed work, but those outward symbols of progress pale compared to the inner grief work I have been doing for a little over a year.
The one thing that has caused me to grieve more lately is realizing that I still have ‘first moments.’
These ‘first moments’ are those I am experiencing for the first time since being able to move around on my own and the ones I am still fighting to achieve. It’s a part of the ongoing journey, a path filled with triumphs and setbacks.
Also, realizing that my body is different, and while I might not appear to have a disability, the truth is that I do have one. My life has changed forever; the trauma from that is a daily weight, a burden woven into the fabric of my grief.
One year ago today, I was right in the thick of it—fighting to stand on my own again. Wrestling with doubt, fear, and that relentless question of whether I’d ever make it through this grueling life event.
Learning to navigate life with a disability has been a unique journey, filled with its form of grief. A heaviness comes with recognizing the things I won’t be able to do in quite the same way anymore, all because my body has undergone permanent changes.
But you know what keeps me going? I think right now; it has been a deep commitment to learning how to journey with grief and a commitment to keep working through grief and healing each day. And this isn’t to say each day is perfect, but it is to say that each day I show up with everything I have, and on days I can’t, I permit myself not to show up.
But, I refuse to let my heart grow cold; I believe better days await me.
Through this experience, I’ve understood that healing from grief has no expiration date. It’s not a linear journey; it’s slow, continuous, and constantly unfolding new parts of your experience to process. Here are a few things that I am learning about grief:
Grief doesn’t go away; you learn to journey with it: Sometimes, you can tend to want to rush past grief or get over it completely when in reality, you find new ways to journey with it.
Grief is complex: Because grief doesn’t have a predictable rhythm and can come and go just as quickly as the wind, you never know when it will hit you—which makes it complicated and something that is not linear.
Grief can coexist with progress: Sometimes, you will make strides outwardly but still process things that happened to you slower than the success or progress you can make outwardly. Outward progress doesn’t make the grief disappear but can coexist with it.
Grief can be marked by ‘First Moments’: Moments, where you do things for the first time can remind you and trigger you in ways that make it challenging to think about what happened, but sometimes, they can be moments of celebration as you move forward.
If I am honest, healing takes hard emotional work because you realize some things will never be the same. And that is where I truly am.
If you’re finding yourself in a similar place, may you, too, find the strength to keep pushing forward in your healing journey.
You know you’re healing when you walk through it all, and on the other side, you don’t allow it to make your heart cold. In other words, you care for your heart but refuse to lose it.