I’m sure this comparison has been made by someone else at some point, but watching clouds out my window on the flight back solidified the idea in my mind. Grief has so much in common with these clouds.
One minute the sky is clear and the next it’s completely covered. While weather is somewhat predictable, the clouds themselves are not. They’re hard to measure, to manage, to anticipate. Some move quickly across the sky and others linger.
The sadness that comes with grieving drifts in and out of my days, constantly unpredictable. Some moments it’s heavy and impossible to see through. Other times it's a wispy, fleeting feeling. And then once in a while I look up and there's not a cloud in the sky.
On this trip, I read a great article by Stephanie Quick that referenced clouds and contained these words:
I imagine what a world of uniformity would look like, demanding we all see the sky the same way, from the same angle. Or I wonder what life would be like if we all believed the clouds to look like the same kind of animal. — Darling Magazine, Issue 19
And that's where the analogy gets even stronger. Not only are there different types of clouds that can change from one minute to the next, but every cloud will look a little different to each of us. Everyone’s perspective is unique, so we will all experience and process grief differently. And clouds are as universal as grief is.
The night we arrived in Murren, the sky was foggy. At dinner, we watched clouds blow in and out, obscuring parts of the view, but they didn’t keep us from being amazed by what we could see of the lush green mountains so close. Toward the end of dinner, the clouds lifted just a little and we discovered an entire section of mountains above us that we hadn’t even seen yet!
The next morning, we woke to find ourselves in the middle of a cloud. We could barely see the balcony outside our window. We started rethinking our plans for the day but 5 minutes later the sky was clear. We snapped some photos and watched it turn to fog again.
I checked to see if we took any photos of that deep fog, but there are none. At the time, it didn’t feel beautiful or worth trying to capture. It was just dense white fog. And we knew exactly what we were missing.
For now, this analogy is helpful. The fog that initially felt so thick and heavy after losing Emma is starting to thin and break apart from time to time. Cloudless days are becoming more frequent, but I'm still not interested in talking about silver linings, rainbows or anything of the sort.
I don't expect the clouds to ever go away completely.
But I don't think I would want them to.