My Opa was quite a craftsman.
Even in retirement, he spent many hours in the wood shop of his condo complex, creating all sorts of beautiful pieces – we even have a few in our home.
One smaller piece I remember him making was a wooden labyrinth.
Perhaps you’ve seen one of them before. It’s a game where a wooden tray sits atop a hollow box. Two knobs allow you to move the tray so you can navigate a marble through the little alleyways until you reach the finish. It would be simple were it not for the holes that line the path. One wrong twist of the knob and plop! You’re back at the beginning.
Grief is kind of like that labyrinth.
At first you’re a mess.
You’re falling down holes all the time.
You feel like you’re always starting over. You wonder why you even try. You entertain thoughts of giving up daily. Hourly.
Then you get a bit better. You’re able to navigate. You steer clear of the holes that sent you down before. But then there’s another one you weren’t anticipating: a face, a phrase, a smell, a look . . .a photo frame in Chapters with ‘Me & Papa’ engraved at the bottom of it.
And plop! You’re back at the beginning again.
I’ve been trying to catch myself.
Trying to catch those around me. Yelling “Look out!” when I see a huge gaping pit in front of them.
But that’s the thing with grief.
Everyone has to navigate it for themselves. Everyone’s path looks different. And their triggers will too. The best you can hope for is to find your own way through so you can be there to cheer others on.
I don’t know if there is an end to it. Maybe we’re only meant to get to a certain point. A point where we’re just left with memories and a deep dull ache. Or maybe we arrive at a finish line, where heaven reaches down and draws us close, before sending us on our way.
But right now I feel stuck in the labyrinth and I keep dropping down all these holes.
So I go back to the beginning and start again.
Maybe I’ll make it a bit further next time.