Grief is a Cocoon
Grief changes us. It reminds me of the caterpillar and the butterfly. The caterpillar is who we are before grief. Grief is like the cocoon that the caterpillar is wrapped up in for a season. The butterfly is what emerges after grief. Grief has changed us; we are no longer caterpillars. That former part of us changed. Grief is really the beginning of a new life. A life with wings! We are not completely changed in this transformation: the butterfly still has the head and body of a caterpillar. But going through this grief experience has given the previous caterpillar amazing, colorful, magnificent butterfly wings.
Who I was before Mike died does resemble who I am now, but there is a dramatic difference. I am a familiar resemblance to the old Kristi with an undoubtedly strange new twist. Grief changes us. I believe grief is meant to change us, and change us for the better. There is a gift in the cocoon…wings. There is a gift in grief…new life. Having gone through this cocoon of grief, I am able to emerge with gifts and abilities that I did not possess before.
How does the caterpillar get its wings? The caterpillar gets its beautiful butterfly wings by simply submitting to the process of change. Have you ever thought about what would happen if the caterpillar simply refused to enter the cocoon? Can you blame him? The cocoon is dark, and the caterpillar will be all alone. I am sure it will be uncomfortable and cramped all wrapped up like that. How will he survive? But the caterpillar trusts the Creator and he trusts the process of transformation. If the caterpillar submits to the changes, he becomes a butterfly.
Can we learn from the caterpillar and submit to the cocoon of grief? Do we trust the Creator? Do we trust the grief process? Don’t refuse the cocoon of grief. Transformation happens in the dark seasons of our lives. Yield to the Creator and allow Him to re-create your life.
Embracing change, admitting awkwardness, allowing for vulnerability can be challenging even in the best of circumstances. It can be exceptionally threatening when you are thrown off balance by the loss or longing. But it has been my experience that finding balance again requires the courage to be okay with being off balance for a while. To find center, you have to recognize the areas where you are off center and go about the task of creating balance.
Grief seems to throw everything off: who you were is no longer who you are. What you did before does not feel the same for you now. Where you went, who you spent time with, how you managed before is all affected, because you are not the same. Everything feels different. Everything has changed.
Going back to the way things were is impossible, but moving forward is scary. Standing still is uncomfortable. So what do you do? How do you sort through what was and how do we move forward into what will be? How do we assimilate what has happened so that we can learn and grow and become? There is really one way through it. This will sound redundant – but the only way through it…is through it.