Each week I take a look at some facets and complications of grief.
Each week I try to pass on some things that I have learned or seen over the years.
Even though the situations and reactions are different, the bottom line is usually very similar.
I hope that in reading what I write those grieving might find some permission to feel as they do and they might know that they are not alone in their hurt and struggle to cope in a most difficult time.
Usually I end by suggesting that expressing your feelings is very important and that until we can find a way to let out the hurt and loss that we feel, we will only stifle and prevent our chances of recovery.
I want you to know, however, that not only do I write the words but I read them too. Maybe more importantly, I apply what has been written to the acid test of daily life and generally to my own life.
I realized this week that sometimes grief and the work necessary to begin to get through it are just too painful.
I understand that denying and ignoring seem sometimes to be the only options that are open to us.
There are some thoughts and some realities that are so difficult to imagine or take in that the only way to survive is to not let them creep in at all.
I have often seen people who refuse to grieve. They simply won’t take it in or allow it to do the things that grief does.
There is little or no sadness, loneliness or despair. There is no acknowledgement of the hurt and no effort to be in the mess that life has presented to them.
I imagine that in the dark quite moments they might go to pieces and struggle to hang on, but day to day there is no acknowledgement and no accompanying struggle.
I have death on my mind these days. My mother just died and one of the things that I find myself doing is going to other places that cause hurt or have significance.
I have found myself doing a lot of “what if “and how can I do things differently from here going forward?
I have also found places in my life that are so protected and well fortified that I cannot even ask the “what if ” questions.
For many of us, maybe even most of us, there are spots in our life that are so close to our core that they are sacred.
Thinking of these places being threatened or taken away is beyond imaginable to the point of denial and refusal to even consider.
For some parents that spot may be the death of a child. For some couples it may be the death of their partner. For others it might be the loss of their health or abilities.
I know this and I understand it in my own life and imagination. This is where grief takes over and where it can be so difficult to deal with.
Here anger and denial are king and here there may be an inability to even acknowledge your grief let alone find ways to get through it.
If you are in this spot, maybe by knowing that your walls of protection are understandable or even expected might help a little.
Maybe knowing that there is no real schedule might help a little. Maybe reading that sometimes it’s just too hard to let it in or let it happen might be something to keep in mind.
Two things need to happen when grief is too much to even consider.
You need to give yourself permission to get there when you get there, and you need somehow to find someone to trust with your immense hurt. That someone might begin with you.
By keeping the door of “maybe one day” open, you at least allow yourself the possibility of opportunity.