When contemplating a direction for this Silent Sunday, my creative compass seemed to flit from North to South, then East, then West, and all the angles in between. The topic to consider was a given: My mom has passed, and with that, what else would I write about but that most human, most anticipated, and perhaps most dreaded state of Grief?
In addition to the “where to begin, and how to end” question, I mulled the tone that I wanted to sound: mournful, uplifting, accepting, questioning?
What occurred to me is that all of the above eminently reflect the totality of Grief. There is not one trajectory, not one tone, not one pattern or sequence of “stages.” Further, whatever I wrote would not—could not—reflect even one other person’s experience of grieving. For each of us come with all the usual diverse suspects: sociocultural and familial backgrounds, learned and absorbed thoughts and behaviors; innate Soul tendencies; and most significantly, unique dynamics and experiences with the person or situation we mourn.
Not even those closest to us and thus also grieving will feel what we feel, when or how we feel it. Thus, to write about Grief entails grappling with a given in any human’s lifetime, while also acknowledging that that “given” will manifest differently for each of us.
To wit, this is some of how grief manifested for me in the past week: nausea, numbness, frenzied need to move—wild, unfettered movement. Also, erratic sleep, nightmares, short bursts of tears, profound urge to shower, and so much more.
Then, within the past 48 hours, just before and after Mom’s passing, I wrangled with anger, guilt, and fear, but also joy, excitement, and renewed vitality.
All of which apparently are “normal” reflections of Grief. The trick, I think, is to find a way to hold strong in the midst of the rising waters and threatening waves. For they will come, and they will hit hard: For me, it seems a matter of “floating above,” of calmly calling out directions and encouragement to myself as I am tossed around in the surf.
And this is where my beliefs and faith come to the rescue. Divine Wisdom usurps ego and intellect when Grief runs rampant; the key is to receive that great gift without question. Step aside, and let that which runs through Eternity guide and protect in the way that only It can.
When Grief arrives, you may feel submerged in its torrent. Remember that you have inner resources and external outlets. Pray, if that feels right to you; be still and go quiet, perhaps outside; get down and dirty with ugly thoughts and feelings, and then make peace with yourself for doing so; and finally, watch yourself. Take a beat, step back, and observe yourself with the eyes and heart you would use with a dear friend. Handle yourself with the most tender, most loving care.
Next time: Grief—The Practice