your life is changing and it may be difficult to simply catch your breath. You may be feeling waves of confusion, sadness, anger or anxiety. Although we know that people will die and we too will die one day, losing someone we love always seems to catch us by surprise and shake us to our core. You have no experience with this and no coping skills strong enough to answer this challenge. Why didn’t anyone prepare you for this experience?
We live in a society where after losing someone we are expected to be sad and unable to function - but just for little while - five days max! After these five days, you are expected to return to life as you knew it, get back to work, be the person everyone knows you to be. After a few weeks to a few months (if you are lucky) you should be “over it.” You should no longer need to talk about how devastated you feel or how much you miss your beloved...
...but you cannot. It is difficult to perform the superficial niceties required for social engagement. This is grief and it is unlike a cold or broken leg from which you expect to recover. This is trauma - where there are no words to describe how powerless you feel and how much pain you are experiencing as you struggle to understand what is happening to you.
While there are no words to describe the pain you feel, sharing about your loved one, expressing how much you miss them, pondering how to survive the yearning and sadness and eventually asking “where will I go from here?” are important aspects to be contemplated if you want to survive emotionally and psychologically.
Although it seems unimaginable, there can be a silver lining in this very dark cloud of grief. If you choose to, you can now see with your heart. You are acutely aware that you are a feeling being and you can become more aware of the pain of others. With the right people, your conversations can become deeper and more meaningful and you will take less for granted. You understand that life is precious - and finite. You are living and breathing inside sacred space. I would consider it an honor to work with you during this time of pain and sorrow and help guide you through this transformational time in your life.
When great trees fall, rock on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down in tall grasses,
and even elephants lumber after safety.
When great trees fall in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die,
the around us becomes light, rare, sterile.
We breathe briefly.
our eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words unsaid,
promised walks never taken.
Great souls die and our reality, bound to them,
takes leave of us.
dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed and informed by their radiance, fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold caves.
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always irregularly.
Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us,
They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better.
For they existed.
~Dr. Maya Angelou