Have you ever lived through a hurricane? When they talk about the "calm before the storm" or the "eye of the storm" it is a real thing and it is eerie.
We went through several while we lived in Houston. The eye is a surreal experience. You have been pounded and pounded by wind and rain and then it stops. Just as suddenly, it stops. It is quiet and calm, and on more than one occasion, the sunshine came out for a bit and the animals started to peek out.
Then BAM! Out of nowhere it starts again, the wind the rain, the hail. It is relentless.
When you come out the other side, when the storm finally passes, you hope that is the end. You look and you see the sun, you see the debris, you see the damage. You see your neighbors. Everyone is helping. You chat, you wonder if there will be any "trailing". You know, other storms that follow the hurricane.
Grief is kind of like that. At first it beats you up. The wind howls, the tears fall, you rock yourself to try and find some solace. It takes a lot of time but believe it or not, you actually get used to the storm and you start to slowly go about your daily duties. You get dressed, you do the dishes, you do housework. After such a long time of being under siege, you are used to functioning at that same capacity. You wipe your tears, you sleep when you are too exhausted to cry. If you are lucky you have a great support system to cheer you on.
One day you wake up, and you smile. A nearly imperceptible smile, but a smile nonetheless. You are in the eye of the storm. You go about your life, you put one food in front of the other you notice the sun on your face, you feel a gentle breeze. You survey the changes in you and the changes around you.
You hope and you pray that it is a big eye. That the storm give you enough of a break to actually clean up and repair a little bit. You look at the storm behind you and you are grateful that you survived. You don't take your time in the eye for granted. Oh no, you know that the other side of the storm looms. You have no idea when it will hit, but you know in your soul that it will.
You feel it come, the winds whip at your face and the tears start to fall. Perhaps it was because you smelled something or touched something that reminded you of life before the storm. But know this, when you are in the second side of the storm, you stand a little taller, you don't hunker down quite as long. You have done this once.
The knowledge that you have already survived the worst gives you the strength to stand up and move. It doesn't stop the tears and the pain, but it does give you the fortitude to push through. After all, nothing that the second side of the storm throws at you will be as shocking or as crazy as when the storm first came to uproot your life. You know you can do this because you can.
It doesn't mean that you go running and chasing hurricanes-it simply means that when they come to rest at your door, you know that you can survive what they bring.