Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sounding the Well of Grief

I was watching my husband and our older son today and felt a pang because it made me think of my brother and his youngest son.  I thought that there were surely countless times that my brother and my nephew chatted about any number of topics.  Conversations that are forever lost because the two people who had them are gone.

I was startled to realize that it's been almost 2 1/2-years since my brother died and 1 1/2-years since my nephew followed his father in death.  Can that really be?  Was it so long ago? 

Time passes so quickly and even very loved members of your family eventually will slip through your memory.  You still love them and miss them.  Of course you do.  It's just that eventually you learn to live without them.  And, as much as I hate that I haven't constantly attended the altar of grief. . .life has gone on because that's what life does.  It goes on whether you want it to or not.

Sometimes I still feel an ache in my chest. . .a pain that I can only describe as my heart actually breaking.    That pain is rare, though blindingly painful when it happens.  At one time I felt that pain every second of every day.  Words are inadequate to describe that sad, sad time.  I never would have believed that there would come a day that I didn't feel the physical pain of grief in addition to the emotional torment it imposed.

Having the benefit of hindsight and the emotional buffer of years passing allows me to look back and realize that I was in a bad place.  I know that and I fully recognize it now, but I was unable to see it at the time.  My grief didn't just blind me.  It strangled me.  I was being smothered by it - held down, pushed further than I could have possibly imagined.

Grief is a well - and it is deep.  It can seem to go straight to the center of the Earth, it is so damn deep.  You find yourself treading water, desperately trying to keep your head up.  Trying to pretend that you aren't sinking lower by the moment.  Eventually, you stop fighting it.  You let go and give yourself to that well.  And it begins to drown you.  If you're lucky, you hit bottom fast so you can bounce back up.  If you're not as lucky, well, you feel smothered just a little longer.  Eventually you hit bottom too.  You push back up and gasp in the sweetness of life again.

I've sounded the well of grief.  I know just how deep it truly is and it's terrifying.  Yet, here I stand.  I was knocked flat and one day I was back up.  I don't know when it happened, it probably happened little by little, but it did happen. 

I am present.  I am me.  I am back.

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