I set out to write about what my grief looks like 18 months later, and I kept circling around the same theme: freedom.

I grieve my mom’s loss every single day, and it’s something I’ve become accustomed to. When I saw this on Pinterest:

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I felt that familiar longing. Yes, it’s gotten easier —  but that doesn’t mean my grief is behind me or that it’s not something I ever think about anymore. The other day I heard Mindy Smith’s beautiful One Moment More and the line give me just one part of you to cling to was hard to listen to. I read Tina Fey’s prayer for her daughter and the last lines, while funny, were like a punch in the gut. So my grief is very much still a part of my life.

But it’s not something I have to spend a lot of time on anymore. I have a lot less anger, and a lot less of that mental fog*. And more than anything else I feel lighter.

I finally feel like I have some emotional and spiritual freedom not being shackled to the chains of grief anymore. I feel like I’m finally free to just be myself and live my life without having to constantly tend to my grief — which, in retrospect, is incredibly draining. (No wonder I was so tired all the time.) Where my grief at first made me an angrier and more high-strung person, I think it’s now allowed me the perspective and grace to mellow a lot, even though it’s not always easy.

I spent a lot of time last year working on making my life about more than just my grief, but it always felt like something I had to put a lot of concerted effort into — the default otherwise was always sadness, mourning, tears, lethargy, depression. Happiness was a massive effort, and striving to be happy while also tending to my grief often left me feeling so worn out. But now happiness doesn’t seem to take as much effort. My default is no longer that sadness, that longing. It’s just life.

And that feels pretty nice.

* The mental fog did lift for a time — but it’s settled back in again, this time thanks to my wacky thyroid. I’ve adjusted my medication and go back again in about six weeks to get re-checked — and in the meantime I’m looking forward to a) being able to string together more than a few coherent sentences (which explains the lack of blogging; I can barely think), b) a desire to get up off the couch, and c) maintaining a body temperature that’s higher than 97.0. Whee!

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