What can be said?
Loss is a deeply, deeply personal experience. No one goes through it willingly. Everyone is changed by it whether they cop to it or not. Some choose to ignore the shrapnel that loss creates. This then only compounds the loss, burying them even further under its heavy weight.
I’m not talking about the loss of a love, though that is painful in its own right. Or the loss of a job, which too has its own challenges. I am speaking of a loss that is final on this plane.
You cannot know what or even how you will deal with it before it happens. I’m not sure I ever gave it any thought. I know all things live and all things die and thus deaths of grandparents, parents etc., is inevitable. I’m not afraid of death. I can’t stop it. Nor would I want to live forever because then how would I appreciate what it means to be alive?
But sometimes loss comes too soon, as in the death of a child or the death of a dream that was never given flight. This loss is debilitating. Emotions rage unchecked second to second making one feel as though there are hundreds of personalities all shouting to be heard within them. Sadness. Bitterness. Anger.
I know there is no point in the anger, but I feel it just the same. I learned long ago that contrary to lots of thinking, everything does not happen for a reason. That’s something we tell ourselves so we might see that reason. So we might feel better. But the brutal truth is sometimes there is absolutely no reason. At least there is no reason you could even begin to comprehend. There’s no ‘mysterious ways’ to loss sometimes. It just is what it is and being angry will do nothing to turn back the clock.
There’s only forward. I know this. Even if at the moment I just want to stop. I want to hide away from the world and wrap the pain around me as if it can provide some sort of comfort. I don’t want to pretend I’m brave and put on a happy face . . . even if I know that’s who I am. Who I will be again . . . someday.
My breath has been knocked out of me. My heart has ceased to beat. And yet still here I am. Cruelly left to pick up all the pieces. Confusion rules. My world has gone from so much blinding color to only black and white. I hate it.
And even though I rail against all of the horrific and terrible grief, I know I will go on. In time I will see the color again. I know that only I can change the severity of my suffering. I can choose to let go of it even though every fiber of my being wants to cling to it.
I can choose to find happiness even through this. I can remember to be grateful for the smallest of things even though I don’t much feel like being grateful for anything at the moment.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
I’m not sure we come away stronger, just more resilient. It is the difference between the mighty oak and the weeping willow. Eventually, though the oak is tall and full of strength, its branches reaching to the sky, it will break in the fierceness of a winter storm. The willow however, bends and moves with the wind no matter how ill it blows thereby ensuring it remains resilient. Funny how I realize the willow has always been my favorite tree and perhaps for that very reason.
I’m caught in some sort of zombie-like state. Not fully awake and not sleeping when I should be. No solace comes with closing my eyes. Nor does it come moving through the day and its daily functions. Empty. I am devoid of feeling anything too deep. Things skip across the surface of my being like stones on water. Nothing goes too far. I shut down in order to prevent more pain.
Like a poison I know the grief must work its way out. I cannot force it. I cannot stop it. I must surrender to it. That’s a tall order. Me and surrender don’t always see eye to eye. But I know this is the best course of action. Logically, I know what to do to get beyond this, but in the depths of my heart I don’t care about logic.
So, the two sides of me war against each other ripping apart my insides. I am moving forward unconsciously. My being takes over and I go through the motions.
We must continue. We all must continue. A full Life is a Life full of many things. Loss is only a part of that Life. It does not need to be all of Life.
I know this.
And yet still . . .