Thursday, March 22, 2012

Grief: Riding the Grief Train

A little metaphor I wrote for a friend and wanted to share with all of you.

When the grief train pulled into my station I got on and found a comfortable seat to snuggle into.  I watched the world go by and was quite content in my unhappiness.  Then I saw that other people were getting off the grief train.  Some of them I never saw again and I didn't know where they went.  Others would get off and get back on again.  We talked about the adventures they had.  I began to realize that maybe my comfortable seat wasn't so comfortable anymore.  Maybe I could participate in some adventures instead of just being an observer.  I took my baggage with me and got off at the very next station.  I had quite a lovely time.  Now I had a story to tell when I got back on train.  I was surprised when someone told me that I could leave my baggage on the train when I decided to get off.  I was rather attached to my baggage.  However, I decided to try it.  I was given a golden receipt to reclaim it and that reassured me.  This time when I got off of the train I decided to stay off longer.  I had several adventures.  When I got back on the train, there was all my baggage waiting for me.  I didn't need so much of it now.  The man in charge of the baggage compartment told me there were a lot of people who loved to carry a lot of baggage and he would give some of mine to them.  And so it went. 

I still like to journey on the grief train.  Sometimes when I look out of the window I see wonderful memories of events that happened in the past.  Sometimes when I curl up in my seat I spend time with people who have died.  I've kept the parts of my baggage I'm not ready to let go of yet.  I open it up and unpack it a little.  It is lighter now.  I've discovered that the people who I'm lonely for don't have to stay on the grief train.  They come with me wherever I go.  I like having them with me on my adventures.  I had turned the grief train into a prison.  It isn't.  It's a way to journey to new places, especially when I am willing to go through the open doors to see what is waiting for me. 

I would have rather not been a passenger at all.  However, now that I am, I am beginning to see that I am not a desperate or helpless passenger.  I am also the person who plans the journey and makes the adventures happen.  I have been given tickets to an unlimited number of places.  Many colors of tickets.  Many sizes of tickets.  It is up to me how many of them I use.  How will I figure it out?  Partly by talking to other people - those who are on this journey and those who are on other journeys.  Partly by listening to the spirits of my beloved dead who still talk to me.  Partly by listening to my own heart.  Sometimes by looking at myself and the world through the eyes of those who love me instead of my own eyes.  Perspectacles.  There are many maps and I have time and freedom to find the one that is right for me.  Sometimes staying on track.  Sometimes getting off and wandering around discovering things.  Sometimes getting off with a definite plan to accomplish. 

All these choices are mine because I am among the living still.  The more I can do here the more I know those who have gone before me will be proud of me that I am still learning.

When   you are ready to get off your own grief train I wish you many adventures and that   you find that you need less and less baggage as your journey continues.  xo


  1. This really spoke to me, Jan. What a beautiful analogy. I'm on my own grief journey, which recently took a U-turn after another difficult loss. Please pop over to my blog sometime to visit and share: And keep doing what you're doing! There are people like me out here who appreciate it. --Angela

  2. Perspectacles- perfect word!

    1. Hi Jan, I found your Facebook page and you were so kind in your words to me last night i decided to check out this page too. I know I am very comfortably snuggled up in my seat on the grief train surrounded with all my baggage and I know that I am no way near ready for getting off but I finally see how it might be possible in the future. You describe it perfectly. Thank you so much. Sophie

    2. I am furious as I post this!!! I have in one day had two "loving relatives" tell me 1. For my son, I should maybe think of putting on some makeup and bright clothes to make him feel better! So . I did it, very overtly. I sent her a photo of me in a red jumper and lots of bright makeup. The response was" Oh well done! I am so happy!!!!" As though if she cant see my grief and sadness by looking at me then she will feel better and thats good. 2. On my facebook page, I have as my profile pic the angel of grief. She is truly beautiful and is me at the moment. My beautiful husband died only 8 weeks ago and was only 35. We were married nearly 6 months. This second person told me that every time she sees my page it makes her sad and that I should think about changing it to something happier. ----- Am I meant on this grief journey to be worrying about how I am making everyone else feel??? If i hide the inner me and they see a fake lie of facade does that make it all better. If they dont see how sad I am and that makes them feeel better is that what its all about???? Why should I have to protect others? I could not imagine feeeling any worse than I do but is it my fault that that upsets others? I am so dumbfounded by these people I had to post here where I hope some of you out there will agree with me that I am not resonsible for making everyone else feel better while I die a silent death inside every day. Thank you for listening to my rant. Sophie x

    3. No, it is absolutely not about making others feel better. Some will understand and others wont. I would not take it down. They really think they are helping you even though they are not. I hear this over and over again. Grief changes everything about us. Hopefully the people in your family will understand in their time. But no, its not about them.