Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Seattle for work. As I walked into the hotel lobby, one of the first things that caught my eye was this large, white pig covered with very colorful bling. As I was meeting new friends in that lobby after checking in, a little boy walked right up to the pig and punched it as hard as he could. Poor little guy. I imagine he thought it was stuffed and expected it to be soft and squishy. However, he ended up grabbing his hand in tears with his mommy running over to tend to him. He was sure fooled by the little piggy.
I thought it might be interesting to compare that little piggy to the grief journey you travel when you face the death of a loved one. What do grief and this piggy have in common and how do they differ?
There is irony regarding this dressed up little piggy. There are some great things about pigs. They certainly can be cute and sweet. A neighbor down the street has a little pig as a pet. We’ve nicknamed him Bacon, although I’m not sure his owners would appreciate the joke. He is fun to watch as he plays, enjoying the sun, and rolling around in the dirt of their backyard. Pigs do serve a purpose. They provide good and nourishing food. Their heart valves have even been used in place of failing human ones.* But let’s face it. Pigs can be dirty and smelly. They have a reputation for eating slop and things people would consider uneatable. Not everyone appreciates the pig.
There are times when you walk through grief that you try to dress it up and make life look pretty. You feel pressure to disguise the true ugliness you face each day. The difficulty of tears, lack of sleep, and loss of appetite certainly present challenges to living well each day. In order to make others feel more comfortable in your presence, you put on a brave face and insist that things are good and you are fine. However, this “artificial bling” you put forth cannot fool the wise. No matter how hard you try to make your life pretty again, the ugliness of grief will continue to present itself when you least expect it.
No matter how hard you try to make it different and better, there are days when your loss is ugly and dirty. It requires hard work to deal with grief. You must get your hands dirty and dig down deep at times to face your fears in order to move forward toward healing and happiness. Nothing about grief is fun. It stinks – plain and simple.
However, just as those who accept the little piggy into their home soon loves and embraces it as a pet, when you accept the grief you face, it can propel you forward in your journey. There is a difference between the two things that cannot be reconciled. Living with loss will never be fun like having a pet. But embracing the truth of loss and being willing to admit that life will be different is the first step to healing and finding joy in life again.
Each day as you wake up and remember the harsh reality of life, do your best to remember the lesson of this little piggy. While you can life dress up and pretend that your grief journey is going well, remember that it is okay to have some harder days. Embrace them and look for the bits of joy and healing you will find when you keep working to move forward through loss.
Until next time –
Choose to give hope to someone in your life today. Share Grief Letters with those you know walking through loss and sadness. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief.
Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.
Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674
Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667
E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650
Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.