Today is the final day for both of my kids at their current school. One finishes middle school, the other elementary school, so they are not just moving up, they are also moving on. I remember what that was like. It was an odd mixture of joy and grief. It feels good to work your way up to the point where you can move on, but it’s sad to say goodbye. It’s perfectly normal to feel both joy and grief. Healthy, even.
Which struck me as odd, because normally we think of grief as a bad thing. When’s the last time you heard someone say “Man, I’m grieving, and it’s good”? I’ve certainly never heard that. But I realized that sometimes, grief really is good. Without grief, there can be no progress. Without grief, my children never grow, never mature. Without grief, they don’t get to experience the joys of graduation, marriage, having a family of their own. They’d just end up sitting my basement doing, well, I don’t know what. But I know they wouldn’t be living. They’d just be existing, and that’s not what I want for them. Not at all.
No, I want my kids to live, and that means growing, and that means grieving too. That means grief isn’t just good, it’s vital. Because without grief, there can be no progress, and that would be the worst thing of all.