A Hike in Unfamiliar Woods

Kincaid Lake Recreation Area – Kisatche National Forest

Grief is a hike in the woods on a trail you’ve never taken before. There is a pounding fear of being completely lost interrupted by the relief of seeing a trail marker. The path ahead is long; so long in fact, that you might never see the end. But there are signs along the way to remind you that you are on the right track, moving in the right direction. Coping with loss is more about looking for the trail markers than it is about seeing the end. It’s the things that bring you joy or break your heart along the way that remind you that you are still on the hike. It’s when someone calls you a mom after a miscarriage and you realize how badly you needed to hear those words. Or you are flooded with a memory of your grandmother before she died, before she was sick – a force to be reckoned with in this world; and it makes you proud. It’s when you make decisions that hurt but also heal. When you work as hard as you can to cover more ground one day; and you are too exhausted to even move at all the next. It’s memory and motion, forward and backward – never the same from one day to the next. It is scary and hard, but good. It is difficult to keep walking in the woods when you feel like the trees might swallow you up. But it is good to see the markers that they bear, pointing you in the direction of your wellness. Follow the trail, one day at a time. You are not lost and not forgotten; you are just on a hike in unfamiliar woods.

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