Wednesday, November 9, 2011

To Feel Right Again

For Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Several years ago, a friend of mine lost his mom. My friend cried...he cried nearly every day for months. One day he wrote me a letter. It came out of the blue, but I remember reading it and feeling very blessed that he had trusted me with his emotions, with his grief. I felt a huge responsibility to say the right things but I was pretty sure I was not going to find words of true comfort. I remember writing back to him, expressing my sorrow for his loss, sharing with him how another friend of mine had also recently lost her mom, and offering to be there for him if he ever wanted to talk in person. He thanked me for my letter but he did not come talk to me about his loss nor did he ever write to me about his feelings ever again. I remember wondering if he had finally found peace with his loss. Or did he perhaps think that his grief displayed in front of others had gone on long enough? Was he embarrassed or was he on the path to recovery? Did he find healing or had he been driven into hiding?

When one experiences a loss, people come together to support one another through the difficult time. Bereavement days are taken so that the family can gather and participate in the standard occasions of memorials or other means of closure which take place over a week or so. Of course grief will often surpass a wake, funeral, or memorial service but as family and friends return to their day-to-day lives, people are aware of the loss and speak and act appropriately. But how does one cope with an ongoing grief, long after everyone has returned to their regular lives? I’ve often heard of the expression, “to wallow in one’s grief”. But what exactly is the definition of wallowing? Is it defined by an amount of time, by the measurement of tears, by what one displays of their grief in public or in private?

I know I do not have many answers on the subject, but I do know that I have learned a great deal about this subject in recent years. For one thing, I know that grief is ongoing. It ebbs and flows. There are good days and bad days. There are times when the world is dark and there are days when the blessings we have around us bring to our eyes tears of joy and appreciation. And there are those who know of our internal conflict and those who do not. We fight with the voices in our heads--the ones that dare us to lose ourselves in sorrow and the ones that tell us to soak in and to appreciate the time we have on this earth. “Live for today. Make good memories now. Time is short”.

I also know that grief is uniquely personal. There are those who grieve who cry every day for months and there are those who grieve who smile and put on happy faces and making pleasant conversation, who go on with their daily routines but who are somehow wiser now. There are those who find comfort by writing to a friend and those who turn to prayer. And then maybe, there are those like me. I seem to be trying a little of everything. I cry. I smile. I pretend. I write. I sing and dance. I hold my loved ones a little tighter. And Lord knows, I think way too much. I admit to needing some help. I’m just trying to figure out how to make things feel right again.

1 comment:

  1. Anne, this has touched me deeply. Thank you so much for this blog, it made me realize Im not alone. Thank you