Peace found you today, friend. But it was taken from me. I am sad to the depths of my soul. I am stirred by an anger in my heart. there is no fairness today. I feel cheated. I feel lost. I feel enraged at the world and at no one in particular. I feel grateful. I am grateful that pain is no longer your companion. But, yours is a loss the whole world will grieve, for yours is a love the whole world received. I love you. Know that you accomplished great things in your all-too-short time with us. My heart will miss you always. (Feb 11, 2017)
Grief is not fair.
It is a process. It is slow. It is messy. It is angry and loving and lonely and comforting and quiet and loud and peaceful and painful.
It is a process that does not end. Ever.
It changes; sometimes in small ways, sometimes in big ways. But, it doesn’t ever go away. Because what we’ve lost doesn’t ever come back. Grief is a process where we learn to live with who we become after the loss. Often, we have been forced to become this new version of ourselves. We didn’t choose to be here. Anger and fear may drive our process until we gain control again. We had plans, a road map for our future and this wasn’t part of it. Yet, here we are.
Time doesn’t stop, no matter how much we will it to. Time won’t turn back (unless we find a mad man in a blue box). We must embrace this new life for what it is and learn to make a life worth living. It’s different. But, that’s okay.
I’ve experienced grief. Some on the fringes; noticing the loss but without much change for me directly. And some quite deeply; with a gut that screams and a heart that is silent and a soul that weeps eternally. I’m still learning. I’m still changing. The past few months have found me caught off guard by memories and melancholy which I wasn’t prepared for. It has made for some difficult days and nights.
I experienced heartache a few months ago and immediately reached to message a friend for help. I opened her message string and started typing “I need you…” It wasn’t until I noticed that my previous message to her was never opened and read that it truly hit me. She’s gone. Of course I knew this. In my self-absorbed sadness I instinctively reached for the hand I knew would always hold mine tightly. Always. Until she was gone.
She is the one I wanted to talk to. She is the one who could talk me back from emotional unrest to rational conclusions. I managed to compound my sorrow. My broken heart, once weeping, now sobbed uncontrollably. How do I explain to my coworkers that I excused myself to cry over my friend who died over a year ago? How do I explain to myself that I should not be wailing in the bathroom because I’ve already had my time to lament? I don’t.
It has taken me nearly 50 years, but I have finally learned and accepted some things – about me and about life:
I am a broken soul. There is no sympathy to be shared for this. My brokenness allows me to feel so much more. I cannot imagine a life without the depth of emotion I sense. At times it is overwhelming. But, so often it allows me to understand people and nature and life in a profound way. I feel deeply. Whether it is love or loss, it explodes within me. This is who I am. If I have loved you greatly, I will mourn you immeasurably.
Grief is neither fair nor predictable. It will cling to you for days and weeks and months at a time, refusing to let go. It will leave you in the middle of the night without fanfare, where it may take you days to realize it has moved on. It will poke at you daily in subtle fashion so your ache goes on and on. It will sneak up on you when you least expect it and crash in your face like cymbals, ringing out in echos of sorrow. It does not care if you are tired of hurting. It does not care if you have finally found peace. It does not care if you welcome it or not.
Our grief is ours alone. You cannot – I cannot – tell you what grief is like for anyone else. Our journey with grief is as uncommon and individual as we are. We must live it and navigate it ourselves. We can rewrite our road map to find a new way, but there is no GPS to tell us the shortest or fastest route. My path looks very different from yours. We cannot judge each other for a trail that seems unfamiliar. It is personal. We must learn to lovingly encourage each other to continue on, gently reveal alternate paths, and welcome those who find their way through the darkest passages.
I am missing my friend very much lately. I am crying for her…for me…as I did when she first passed. I am struggling, still, to comprehend life without her in it. Not just mine – life, in the grandest sense. I feel the void left behind often. I feel sad and angry and so much longing. I watch her family celebrate milestones and include her memory and spirit in beautiful ways and I am envious. “Love Wins,” they say. I see their love – spurred by hers – winning. It does not change my anguish. This is my grief, my path. Their hope will encourage me and I will find my way out of the somber trail soon. Love Wins.
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