I feel like complaining today.
I've read a lot of books about grief over the years and, of course, more of them lately. And then I've also had a lot of advice about it. Some of the books have been very helpful. Some haven't. In fact, there's just a lot of crap out there about grief. "He's in a better place" is one of the things people used to say. Another one is "time heals all wounds." He may be in a better place and if so, that's good. But he's still gone from me. And "time heals all wounds" may be partially true but so what. If I'm in agony right now, the future doesn't comfort me one bit.
A couple of years ago I read a book about grief that was written by a spiritual teacher I really respect. Unfortunately his book about grief was total crap as far as I was concerned. He said his mother still existed in the universe in the form of energy so she wasn't really totally gone. That one is akin to stuff I've read more recently that people live on in the memories of the people who knew and loved them. Also, I've read that your relationship with the person just changes - you can still communicate with them - write them a letter. I'm sorry but it's just crap. Doesn't make me feel better at all!
The person I loved is not here and pretending that the energy that remains or the memories or the one-sided conversations are actually going to help is just nonsense. I can't touch the person; I can't kiss and hug the person; he or she doesn't answer when I call; he or she doesn't respond to my communication; I can't call him when I have a flat tire in another town and hear "hang on baby - papa's coming to the rescue." What has helped me in the books I've read and the people who have talked to me is the acknowledgement of the amazing pain that grief brings and the better it's described so that I can identify with it, the more it helps.
I read in one book that the agony of the longing for the other person can be just slightly alleviated by sending them your love and blessings wherever they are. That one turns out to be true for me. It doesn't take away the longing but it gives me some place to send the energy of the love I have for that person. It seems to me that a great deal of my pain consists of the inability to actively love the person I've lost. The day to day loving gestures and words have nowhere to go. Of course, I also miss the loving words and gestures that I received every day, but it is actually more painful to think of the person with love a million times a day and have no way to express it.
As I'm learning to survive the grief, I notice that I'm learning a new skill - living without someone I thought was vital to my happiness. As it turns out, the more I practice, the more I see it is possible to live without him happily - most of the time. It's like learning any new skill - hard in the beginning, easier with practice and time. One of the barriers, though, is the feeling that comes over me sometimes, that if I'm happy it means I love him less. Not true, of course, but I still have the feeling and have to talk myself out of it.
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