Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Notes on Grief, For B, M and D

Look, here's the thing:


I wrote this post last week but I've been avoiding putting it up. I don't know why; maybe because things still feel delicate, because I'm scared, because it feels too raw too touch. But I have a sick feeling that it might be getting in the way. Because I believe that what comes up is what needs to be dealt with, even if it scares you. And because I believe we're all on this planet together, and that means that what you deal with I deal with, and on and on and on.


A very special person to some very special people to me died [recently]. As I simultaneously try to grasp the overwhelming desire to protect this amazing family from ever having to feel such tremendous pain, I remember all I've ever learned of grief. I don't even know where to begin with this because it encompasses so much of what I believe both in the spiritual and physical realms. But in trying to marry the two, I'm still coming up against this primal feeling, this anger and sadness I have in knowing that right now, anything I could and would have to say to any one of them would likely make no difference at all in the worlds they feel crumbling around them. But as a person who only knows how to come at anything with compassion that seeks to bear pain for another, likewise I only know how to do it with words that speak of dealing with the present and beliefs in how to move forward.


And it goes like this:


Grief is like a 5-way mirror. It surrounds you in this manner as each time you shift positions a new view is presented. The reflection moves between sadness, anger, denial and bargaining until finally resting on the one right in front of you, the only one that moves us forward: acceptance.


In the same way that I explained feelings, each of these stages must truly be experienced in order to bring us to the next. That rage you feel for the one you lost -- or whatever you blame for taking them away -- is the key to the next door in the grieving process. Even in denial, the emotion that tells us nothing ever happened, there is a truth that speaks to us of the pain in losing that person.


These feelings move us forward. They keep us moving along the path towards inner truth each loss we experience shares with us.


I haven't shared much of my spiritual beliefs yet but this feels like as good a time as any. In my view, there is no right or wrong in this world. There is only learning. As karmic souls reincarnated in an infinite universe, the karma that I speak of is not a spiritual retribution but a choice made on the soul level to experience new teachings in each successive pass.


In this way, that which we experience on the physical level is not to harm us, but to teach us something we hadn't seen yet. The grief we feel does not shut us away from trust in ourselves and others, it opens us up to the learning we find in feeling our way through it.


So this is my advice. When a loss is encountered, no matter what it is, the answer is not to run from it. The answer is not to pretend it never happened, to divert our attention to the next thing, to shove it into the locked room in your phsyce, to run away. The answer is to seek out the benefit in the loss. To seek out those experiencing the same and draw from each other. To feel each part of it as it comes and hope the next day is a little clearer.


I don't claim to understand even a fraction of what it feels like to lose someone as close to you as your own two feet. I have dreamt of losing The Mother, and even the illusion of unconsciousness brings a pain that wakes me with tears seeming without end. It is a sadness so deep I can't imagine ever having to face it in reality.


But I do know one thing. Grief is a complexity of emotions that like anything takes time, honesty and support to move through. If we can find any truth in it, it is that we are not alone. The sooner we can open ourselves up to the wholeness left in the aftermath of loss, the sooner we can find the beauty in it. And that beauty is acceptance.

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