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Grief: It doesn’t get easier, You get STRONGER.

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You know my take on platitudes – and this one is a DOOZY! I mean, if I have to hear ‘It gets easier…’ from another living soul someone is getting throat punched.

Grief and the gym have so many similarities and crossovers…here’s one of my favorites:

I’ve been going to the gym and seeing a personal trainer for over 8 years {Yes, I know, you can’t tell by looking at me – just because I go to the gym doesn’t mean I’ve stopped loving cake!}

When I first started working out it took everything I had to get through a 30 min session with my trainer. I was panting like a dog; dripping sweat like a faucet; and I’d have to lay on the floor afterwards for what felt like hours….just so I could crawl up the stairs to get into a 2 hour Epson salt bath and finish it off with a nice thick layer of Bengay and BioFreeze.

Basically, every second of every day revolved around hyping myself up for or recovering from picking up {and putting back down} those five-pound weights…even the days I wasn’t at the gym I had gym on my mind.

Those five-pound weights were SO heavy…I mean like really, really, really heavy.

But, I kept at it {mostly because I had to}. I kept showing up at the gym. I kept picking up and putting down those weights. …And those baths got a little shorter, and the ointment layers got a little thinner…

Over time, those 5 lbs, become 7lbs…then 10lbs, 15lbs, 25lbs… The runs got faster and longer… the squats got deeper and heavier…

I suppose I could look back and say “Those five-pound weights are so easy.” …but are they really? They didn’t get lighter: 5 lbs is 5 lbs is 5 lbs.

I just got stronger so they FEEL lighter.

And, I think that’s how grief works too. In the beginning, when you first ‘start’ your grief is all-consuming. You’re ‘actively grieving’ and it’s all you can think about. But, you ‘work out’ consistently. You sit in the suck of your grief. You’re learning more about your grief – kinda like a give and take. You take the baths and slather on the ointment.

Over time {sometimes a very loooooooong time} you don’t dread the ‘5 lb griefs’ like you once did – you know you can handle those. It’s the ’20 lb griefs’ that intimidate you (before they weren’t even on your radar – because they would have knocked you flat on your @$$ for days).

But here’s the thing about the gym {and grief}: if you’re not consistent with your practice your {grief} muscles can atrophy….or maybe you try out a new ‘exercise’…and those 5 lb weights feel freaking heavy again.

So, when I hear people say ‘…it gets easier…’ I love to correct them. I say:

“…No, I get stronger.” …and so will you.

One thought on “Grief: It doesn’t get easier, You get STRONGER.


    Crystal, this is an excellent article and analogy! I’m going to remember it!


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