All those years I fell for the great palace lie that grief should be gotten over as quickly as possible and as privately. But, what I've discovered is that the lifelong fear of grief keeps us in a barren, isolated place, and that only grieving can heal grief. The passage of time will lessen the acuteness, but time alone, without the direct experience of grief, will not heal it.
Grief causes you to leave yourself. You step outside your narrow little pelt. And you can't feel grief unless you've had love before it - grief is the final outcome of love, because it's love lost. [... ] It's the cycle of love completed: to love, to lose, to feel grief, to leave, and then to love again. Grief is the awareness that you will have to be alone, and there is nothing beyond that because being alone is the ultimate final destiny of each individual living creature. That's what death is, the great loneliness.
One of the difficulties with grief research is that it risks making certain kinds of grief seem normal and others abnormal - and of course having a sense of the contours of grief is, I think, truly useful, one has to remember it's not a science, it's an individual reckoning, which science is just trying to help us describe.
Whether we experience it or not, grief accompanies all the major changes in our lives. When we realize that we have grieved before and recovered, we see that we may recover this time as well. It is more natural to recover than to halt in the tracks of grief forever. Our expectations, willingness and beliefs are all essential to our recovery from grief. It is right to expect to recover, no matter how great the loss. Recovery is the normal way .
You can not die of grief, though it feels as if you can. A heart does not actually break, though sometimes your chest aches as if it is breaking. Grief dims with time. It is the way of things. There comes a day when you smile again, and you feel like a traitor. How dare I feel happy. How dare I be glad in a world where my father is no more. And then you cry fresh tears, because you do not miss him as much as you once did, and giving up your grief is another kind of death.
New grief, when it came, you could feel filling the air. It took up all the room there was. The place itself, the whole place, became a reminder of the absence of the hurt or the dead or the missing one. I don't believe that grief passes away. It has its time and place forever. More time is added to it; it becomes a story within a story. But grief and griever alike endure.
"Oh, when we are journeying through the murky night and the dark woods of affliction and sorrow, it is something to find here and there a spray broken, or a leafy stem bent down with the tread of His foot and the brush of His hand as He passed; and to remember that the path He trod He has hallowed, and thus to find lingering fragrance and hidden strength in the remembrance of Him as "in all points tempted like as we are," bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us."
He didn't know of course. Not really. And yet that was what he said, and I was soothed to hear it. For I knew what he meant. We all have our sorrows, and although the exact delineaments, weight, and dimensions of grief are different for everyone, the color of grief is common to us all. "I know," he said, because he was human, and therefore, in a way, he did.
I think everyone understands grief, the journey it takes us on, whether it's the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, a disappointment. Some people don't deal with it, the power of it. Some do. Some feel the weight of it and it informs their choices. I've had to open up to grief in different contexts.
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