“Some things cannot be fixed; they can only be carried. Grief like yours, love like yours, can only be carried.”
– Megan Devine
I approach this week with a sense of dread, heart heavy. This Wednesday is the anniversary of my wife’s passing, three years past the day.
I know that I’ve struggled this week to write, to express myself in both fiction and fact, on the page and out loud. And so I try to unwind the emotions like woven fabric to its threads. Maybe it’s not possible, and I have only to see it as its whole, to know that it feels wrong but it’s what I’ve been given to bear.
The temptation for me, for any creative person who’s been through something traumatic or heart-wrenching, is to give advice on how you should approach your craft in these times in order to keep creating. To use your skills as a tool to process your emotions.
The truth is, when my wife passed away three years ago—when I was an artist by trade—I didn’t create any artwork for myself for a year. To this day, I stand by my decision and my need to step away from the craft.
I’m not the person who’s going to tell you to work on your craft despite all signs telling you to stop. Grief, suffering, pain, loss, trauma, it’s more than what you create. It eats into you, down to your bones. If your craft isn’t serving you, then drop it until it does. Don’t infect the wound to explore its edges; if it doesn’t help heal you, it’s not a priority.
On the other hand, if writing, drawing, painting, singing—if any of that becomes a way for you to express your emotions and dig into the parts of yourself you can express in no other way, absolutely do so. If you can let life’s struggles be part of the process instead of a detriment, that’s lovely. Do it with intention.
Know that both are correct to different people, and you’ll only know for yourself if you observe your own emotions and needs consciously and non-judgementally.
For those of you hurting, I’m sorry for your pain. I’m in the ravine with you watching the mountain and wondering how we could have fallen so far and how we can get back up. I wish you the strength to carry your pain until it becomes a part of you.
I wish you peace.
I wish you love.