Written by Christine Thiele
When I began my journey grieving Dave’s death, people spoke of fog. Commonly thrown around in grief circles, “the fog”, refers to those early days, months, even years that we move through after a loved one’s death when we feel lost, confused, well…foggy. We hear from people in support groups about the fog. We talk to each other about the fog. I can tell you when I thought my fog was clearing…it seemed to happen in phases, slowly for me.
This weekend I had a different experience of fog…the real, atmospheric kind. I haven’t seen fog in a while. I was traveling and woke to a morning consumed by fog. My mind immediately thought of “fog”…the grief fog. As I stood out in the early morning air on the balcony, I was only able to see a short distance. That’s how fog works…I can’t see ahead…kind of how the grief fog works…I felt so broken after Dave died, I couldn’t bear to look ahead. I can see why the analogy to fog works so well with grief.
Something struck me as I stood in the fog. I could only see what’s was right there. I could only see what was right in front of me. I really wasn’t able see the buildings across the street. I really couldn’t see how I would survive after he died. Seeing the real fog, feeling the real fog brought another idea. What if being in the fog is a gift because of just that? What if looking to the building across the street or a future I didn’t know or couldn’t comprehend isn’t the point? What if the gift is seeing what is only right in front of me? What if the gift my pain has brought me is the ability to be present in each moment and to appreciate only what I can see, have, or do what is right in front of me?
Before I was a widow I was busy. I was always running from one place to the next. When he died, the world stopped. The world started moving again whether I wanted it to or not…but I was myopic. I could only focus on the fact that he was gone. That was ok. That was what needed to happen. I needed to sit in the fog.
So I sat, I grieved, I survive day to day…but now because of the grief, the fog, the sadness I am more present to the moment I am in. I really only have this very moment for sure…I want to see it. I want to be loving, kind, patient, a good parent, and a good friend. I want to be grateful for what is, not what might be. I want to stand in the fog, see only what I can see and be glad to see it.
The one thing about fog is that it always clears. It burns off, it dissipates, and it fades away. I hope as I continue my journey, I don’t let the fog clearing burn away my gratitude for the moment. I hope I don’t let the ability to see the building across the street, the ability to look ahead again cloud what is right in front of me. I don’t want to miss the moments, the gratitude or the blessings that being present to now can bring me.