One of the necessary elements for me to maintain my recovery is to have order in my life. If you come into my home, everything has a place, rooms have themes, things are organized by size, shape, color, and function. I have a giant weekly to-do list on a dry erase board hanging on my fridge, a paper weekly to-do list on my coffee table, and countless notepads to make daily to-do lists to carry on me at all times.
But you and I know that life doesn’t always work this cleanly, mostly because I don’t live in a bubble—my reality consists of a world engaging with a multitude of people who do not function in the same exact way I do. It took me a while to accept that my perfect system is not the absolute perfect system for everyone in existence. And just because I accept it doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with this reality pretty much on a daily basis.
Grief laughs in my face when it comes to my system. Grief is like a sleeper cell that could detonate at any unknown possible and most likely highly inconvenient moment. Some days I’m perfectly fine kicking ass and taking names—in alphabetical order, of course. Other days there’s a grief explosion that destroys everything in its path. What I can appreciate about grief is its ability to keep things interesting: sometimes it’s Hulk-like rage, other times it’s ugly, hyperventilating crying, and once in a while it’s this black hole of nothingness where the mute button got hit on all five of my senses.
More than anything, grief is a teacher. It is within my grief I am reminded of the importance to breathe in a state of deep reflection for what was, what is, and what will now never again be. Grief throws me in the lake with a life vest, yelling, “Sink or swim! You choose.” My choice. At the end of the day, the beginning of the day, all day, every day, it is my choice what I’m going to do with the all-consuming THIS of my life.
I love order, I need order, I crave order, yet I cannot always have order in my life. Grief reminds me of that. Grief is that trust fall I did in Girl Scout camp where I hoped they’d catch me, but I never 100% knew they would until it actually happened. Does that mean I just stay there standing on that rock, never even trying? Absolutely not. It means I need to use this grief to build me up, not tear me down and place my faith in the universe that things are going to be okay. I need to place faith in myself that I am going to be okay.