Grief is devastating. We mourn the loss of people whether from death, a move, or a change in circumstance. However, we also mourn deaths of parts of ourselves. We grieve from loss within, from a violation, from a hurt, from multiple traumas of a repeating pattern. We mourn these hurts from childhood and adulthood.
We all experience deaths – the death of an ideal, the death of who we perceive ourselves to be, the death of how we perceive someone or something else, or the death of our own expectations. Whenever we experience any kind of death: an idea, a feeling, or a person, our grief can take the form of tiny, almost unnoticeable amounts to the grief that literally brings us to our knees and that feels as if we will never find the edges of it.
I have experienced many instances of grief as have we all. It feels inexplicable. Yet, we all inherently understand it and can feel it. We can tap into our own grief-filled memories or empathetically tap into another’s grief. We pull it out of ourselves and hold it to our breast like a wailing child that cannot be comforted.
Sometimes, we hold onto grief like a living entity, like a companion that is both a tormentor and ever so strangely a comfort because through this grief entity, we feel in some way still connected to that thing or that person we have lost. Even though that entity torments, it is also familiar; a neighbor that we don’t like but beside whom we have lived for thirty years, knowing the rhythms, the habits, and the feel of.
So, when we try to release the grief, it feels like a final release of this connection to that neighbor, that wailing child, that part of ourselves that gives rise to the fear of who we will be without it. We do and we do not long for the death of this connection because we know it will feel like even more emptiness; an emptiness that seems will not be fillable in any way by anything because we don’t want it to be. That emptiness is yet another space we hold onto when we allow the death of the connection to the grief. We hold this emptiness within us and around us – a space, another companion of sorts.
We then begin to mourn the emptiness until little by little the emptiness becomes a smaller and smaller emptiness, reducing from the vastness of the universe to the ocean, to a crater, to a jagged pit, to a hole within our center, to a smaller hole within our hearts. One day we notice that the jagged edges are slowly smoothing and the hole feels softer somehow, as if we can no longer become lost within it, but simply sit quietly with it; a sorrowful moment, a moment that is bittersweet, a moment that is pleasure tinged with the pain that it will never be again, and the moment of the quiet laugh of remembered joy.
There is this axiom that time heals all wounds, but I have found that not to be true. I have found that wounds heal when we are ready and not before. I have learned that there is not a magic cure, nor one specific thing that helps us to release grief. I have learned that life simply is and when we allow ourselves to be fully PRESENT as and when we have availability to do so, when we are ready to do so, then tiny moments, words, pictures, laughter, and myriad other things begin to fill in that vast universe of grief and emptiness until we are simply holding space in our hearts for the joyful memories of what once was.
I invite myself to sit with my grief, to cry it out, to release it, to feel gratitude for the experience, and to let go the bits and pieces as I am ready to do so. I hold and comfort my inner, wailing child of grief, but I also remember that the PRESENT moment is here, waiting for me.
The PRESENT moment and all that is in that moment is the key. So, I grieve as I need, but I also keep reaching for the key.
Some day we find ourselves holding the key, the PRESENT MOMENT, fully ready to walk forward and experience the realization that we are okay and that things are going to be okay – maybe not perfect, and that, too, is alright.
Until that realization that things will be alright just remember that healing can take effort; it can take time; and sometimes it can require help. Reach out and allow the help you need because those kind, caring moments that someone shares with you serve to light the other dark moments and to help see you through them.