Notes on the Journey

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Grief

My tears flow freely this day.  It is a gray and rainy day here.  My friend just lost her beloved dog after many close years together.  It has touched my heart and triggered my own sadness and some needed grieving.

Grief and sadness have been my constant companions in this life.  I was born with this shade of gray that has always colored everything, inherited from my mother in whose sadness I gestated.  I used to think that this overlay was something that I could work through, or release, or transform, or transmute, but I no longer think that.  I now realize that it just is what it is.  It gives me an empathy, a compassion, a deep sensitivity that I might not have otherwise.  It has shaped me and informed me and grown me in ways both large and small.

It's an interesting choice to come in and live a life through the lens of sadness and grief.  But, how else to know these feelings intimately?  How else to understand their impact?  How else to have the measure of joy and happiness, than in contrast to sadness and grief?  I have fought the sadness and grief for most of my life, but today I surrender to them.  I let them truly have their way with me.  I let them move and fill me.

What does it mean to be fully human?  I've come to feel that it means fully embracing all the experiences, all the feelings, all the sadness and grief as well as the joy and happiness, all the disappointments and frustrations as well as the victories and successes, it is love and loss, it is the full gamut of gifts that Life can bring and lay at our doorstep.  It might seem counter intuitive to welcome in the sadness and grief, the pain, but life is not complete without it.  When embraced, there is an exquisite sweetness to sadness, grief and pain.  In not denying them, we can open to their gifts.  Gifts of remembrance, of lessons learned, of regret and remorse, of deepening, of expanding, of understanding, of letting go.

I grieve the loss of all those I have loved who are no longer with me, human and otherwise.  I grieve the loss of opportunities not taken.  I grieve decisions made from ignorance and fear.  I grieve mistakes that can not be made right.  I grieve the times my heart was closed and could not be pried open.  I grieve the loss of my country and all that I thought it to be.  I grieve cold-heartedness and cruelty.  I grieve stoicism and endurance that suppress the authenticity of experience and dull its intensity.  I grieve resistance and denial to what is true.  There is so much that deserves to be grieved.  And, it is only in opening the dreaded floodgates to what can feel like overpowering grief, that it is able to have its space and move through and bring its gift of understanding, cleansing and release.

I have no answers this day, only the empty relief of allowed grief.  My system feels spent and oddly quiet.  There is a kind of peace that is starting to extend itself.  I find solace in watching the wind blow the trees out my window, and the birds flying freely within it.  The soft gray light of the afternoon is soothing.  The warmth of the room I sit in cradles me.  The bells tolling in the distance comfort me.  I'm relieved that this day has been given over to what is moving through me.  I'm grateful that nothing calls me to it this day but this grief.  I'm grateful for no distractions.  I'm grateful that I've grown large enough to contain what lives in me and makes me who I am.  I'm grateful for the gift of this day.  I'm grateful for the tears that continue to flow unabated.

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