Nothing or no one can save us from the sorrow left behind when a loved one dies. Our connection to that person becomes a link to the emptiness left without them on earth. It feels like we are thrown into a dark hole, with no rope, ladder, or hand to grasp. It reminds me of stories about miners who were accidentally buried alive. The sound of a rescue drill too far away from where they were trapped only added to the fading hope that they would ever see daylight again.
Since our brain cannot recalibrate that much change, our lives feel as if they are spinning out of control. Grief renders our world wrong, unreal, and unrecognizable. Our behavior is not logical or rational, even to us, as we survive the sense of powerlessness created by the impossible task of sorting through so many emotions.
So why would anyone ever tell someone who is grieving, they need to move on; let go; find comfort in knowing the person they loved is out of pain; find God or any of the common suggestions given? The thing is, people are afraid to climb in the hole with us, to keep us company in our pain. They fear they cannot get back out, that our grief will consume them, too. The reality is that we are all going to face pain. It is not an inconvenience or a disruption of life. It is part of our life journey. That realization is our way out of the darkness.
Since no one can tell us how to express love, it is impossible for anyone to tell us how to deal with loss. How we deal with grief becomes a lone, personal journey. But it is not a journey we are alone in taking. Everyone walks with grief because grief is the residue from change. The more significant the loss, the more we are forced to know grief. We all reach a point where we cannot avoid facing it.
What I have come to believe from listening to others share about their experience grieving is that grief is our life-long journey; it is not something we ever leave behind. Escaping our grief is not what heals us. Walking with it by our side is the only way. Eventually, we get used to our world with it there, but it is never gone.
A quote from a woman who responded to a post I have on the Death as Life film Facebook Page is a good description of how we can’t leave grief behind. To do so would be like denying change, loss, love…
”My daughter would be 30 this month, but she passed away 6 years ago. I have a memorial picture card on my car dash that was moved by one of the kids yesterday. It made me upset then I thought, wait, I’ve cried in this car so often looking right at this picture. Maybe it is time to have a new view, a new perspective. Well, at least for the moment I found it in a compartment, and it’s back on the dash. Maybe soon, though, maybe soon.