Behind closed doors, I have cried until my tears have run dry. On the outside, I am certain I appear “recovered” to most onlookers. They do not know.

Bellyaching is not my style, nor is self-pity. I remember the day I was out on the mountain teaching a private snowboard lesson, when my much older female student said to me after hearing my story, “but you look like you’ve recovered just fine!!!” It cut to the deepest spot in my heart, though I did not let her see that. Obviously, this woman had never been a mother.

Being a snowboard instructor, it is my job to ensure my students have the time of their lives up on the mountain. Smiling and having a good time are literally what I am paid to do—along with sound, safe instruction of course! If only they knew how many tears I have shed behind those goggles on the quiet lift rides up to the top…

As I traveled home that day, and every day after that, I would ponder her words. It bothered me greatly that anyone might think, because I had a smile on my face, I was somehow over the pain and doing fine. Little did that woman know that the very job she was paying me to do, was actually playing a vital role in helping me survive the ebbs and tides of my broken heart. 

Grief takes as many forms as there are people who experience it. It looks different to all of us. For those who have been so fortunate to not have experienced it yet, it is easy to judge. I recently heard a grieving widow say, “We are either judged because we grieve too much, or because we do not grieve enough!” Isn’t that the craziest thing ever?

What appeared to one as me being “recovered,” was in actuality “me coping.” As I contemplated the beauty of my drive over the Grand Mesa, I found increasing strength and hope in what God had given me—a most perfect coping mechanism! Some grievers drink—I have chosen to ride…

Now, several months since then, there are plenty of days when the coping mode is passive somewhere in the background of my daily activities. It feels good to be pressing forward with intention—never to be confused with the expression of “moving on.” Little by little, my life is starting to decompress like a squished-up sponge and become saturated, once again, with all the things that truly make life rich and worth living. 

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