People don't talk about grief, especially outside the context of a recent loss. It's a private experience often hidden in our society, an experience that we are incredibly uncomfortable facing yet one that every person on earth will eventually have.
As someone that's been recently tossed into the chaos of grief, it amazes me that I know so little about it; I really have no idea what's normal. I want to learn more so that I can embrace, or at least survive, this basic human experience instead of crumbling under the belief that we need to 'move on'.
Essentially, I want to learn more about grief so that I can stop feeling crazy.
Grief is a lot of things, but it isn't pretty.
It's messy, overwhelming, and isolating.
For example: Grief can cause you to leave a group of friends in the middle of the night because the laughter is both wonderful and infuriating, to drive to the graveyard to sit in your car, staring at your daughter's grave, and really have it out with God. Grief makes you feel crazy, sobbing in your pajamas, breaking down in a graveyard at 1 am. You feel crazy until your husband comes to find you, gently holds your hand, listens, and says he did the same thing earlier in the day. As he sits quietly with you, waiting for this wave to pass, you begin to realize the somber beauty that comes with grief, of two hearts connected in pain – the refreshing beauty of an unspoken understanding.
This is why grief needs to be talked about.
We had a C.S Lewis quote shared with us recently that does a wonderful job of explaining how losing someone is not something you just 'get over' and how the loss permanently changes you:
“Getting over it so soon? But the words are ambiguous. To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing; after he’s had his leg off is quite another. After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies. If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. Presently he’ll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg. He has ‘got over it.’ But he will probably have recurrent pains in the stump all his life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man. There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different. His whole way of life will be changed. All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be simply written off. Duties too. At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be a biped again.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
In honor of Norah, at 4:06pm the 6th of each month I will publish a post specifically about grief. Rather than hiding in a corner, politely shielding our grief from the world, I want to talk about it, learn about it, and learn from it; I'm going to toss grief into the light.
Grief needs to be talked about.
Because at one point or another, we all end up in it.
Because when you end up in it but haven't the slightest clue of how grief works, it's incredibly isolating.
Because if even one person's grief is like any aspect of ours, we don't want them to feel alone.
Grief is weird.
Grief is hard.
But there's something about sharing it that lightens the burden ever so slightly.
So, let's talk.