Thursday, December 20, 2012

Grieving

Usually  I write about what is on my mind - what I'm curious about and what I've been mulling over - in an effort to organize it, detail it, digest it, make sense of it until it is coherent and I feel calm.

Lately, I have been doing a lot of grieving and letting go.  I could post those thoughts but they seem so personal, even for me.

What I can say that is pretty universal about grieving is that sooner or later, we all experience loss so we have to learn how to grieve.

Sometimes we're stoic about it.  Sometimes we dive right in.  Sometimes we alternate between stoicism and hysteria.

We tell the story to our friends.  When they can't hear it anymore (God bless them for their patience), then we make more friends and regale them with the same stories.  The bigger the loss, the greater the need to tell the story over and over again.

Sometimes there are tears, lots of tears - ready to burst out of your eyes but have to wait till you get to the car or until your daughter goes to sleep.

Sometimes there are so many questions and doubts that you gotta write them down in excruciating detail in journals, planners, post-its, the nearest scratch paper (the back of junk mail envelopes, for example), or the margins on the page of the book or article you are reading.

Unfortunately, all this digesting doesn't make the story any smoother, cleaner or more "in a nutshell"-like when you talk about it over lunch with friends.  There are soo many drafts of the story before it is ready to be put to rest.

Like a good novel, there are many layers of meaning.  And grieving a current loss can't help but remind you of every loss that has preceded it - that's when the story feels infinite.

What I've learned is to feel all my feelings.  Better out than in.  The feelings will pass unless I stifle them and allow them to get stuck.  The work of grieving is like an homage, a memorial and a clearing.  Sweeping the house for a new day.  There are moments of peace.  There are moments of pain.  There is lots of love and support available.  There is always a new day.


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