Some of the cities I have lived in have what they call bypasses. A road or highway that avoids busy areas of a city and allows traffic to flow without interference from local traffic. I love using these. You avoid most traffic jams, and usually get to your destination more quickly than if you had driven through the city. Brilliant.
Another type of bypass is a coronary bypass surgery, where a surgeon bypasses the damaged arteries of the heart, creating a new pathway for blood to flow more freely. Brilliant.
Sometimes, I have thought it would be wonderful for grief and pain to have a 'bypass'. Wouldn't it? That too, would be brilliant (in the moment). Yet, I am learning that there is no bypass, even if you attempt to take one. If you don't deal with the pain now, it will still be there, needing to be dealt with in the future.
Grief can be delayed but it will not be denied. Sometimes we aren't given a choice, but to defer our grief. Sometimes our family situation, or a workplace that doesn't acknowledge the deep effects of loss and there is an expectation to go on as though nothing happened, don't allow for true grief to take place. Experience tells me, it's a whole lot more difficult to deal with the pain down the line. There is no bypass to proper healing. You have to go through the hurt to get to the healing. And it's hard. I know.
The wonderful thing is that grief is patient. It waits for us. It allows us to defer or postpone or delay our grief for a time (months and sometimes even years), but eventually grief has to be acknowledged and gone through and once we go through the work of grief, we can experience true hope and joy again. It comes back in bits. I love those moments where J and I will look at each other in amazement when we experience true laughter and joy. We never thought we'd laugh with true joy again, but bit by bit it returns and when it does,we are left in awe.
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks forever!
Although I love choosing bypasses when I otherwise would have to drive through a big city, there is much beauty that is missed when taking a bypass. Think of all the coffee shops, cute parks, people watching, antique shops, thrift stores...I miss out on when I take a bypass around a city? So too, much is missed when we try to bypass grief. There is beauty in the pain of healing too. So much beauty, self discovery and growth when we take the time to work through the muck and the mire.