Friday, July 26, 2013

Grief: I've been so yours, here

Grief has its own rhythm, its own alchemy (defined as a process by which paradoxical results are achieved or incompatible elements combined with no obvious rational explanation).

At one day after the death of my Beloved, grief was numbing, depersonalized, ethereal, raw, formless.

At six months after the death of my Beloved, grief was searing, excruciating, bottomless, hollow, breathless.

At one year after the death of my Beloved, grief was concrete, raging, mad, confused, disorienting, sallow, paralyzing. Grief was my enemy.

At five years after the death of my Beloved, grief was the paradox: painful but grounded, breathtaking but life-giving, gentler and kinder, warmer and more inviting, less frightening and more familiar. I stopped fighting grief and realized he would not, despite how it felt, kill me. Grief was the fragile cord connecting me to my dark night of the soul, to her love, and grief became my friend, something I would n'er surrender.

At ten years after the death of my Beloved, grief raged again, debilitating grief, demanding my full attention, screaming in my face, "I'm still here, look at me!" And I looked, I gazed straight into grief's illimitable eyes, and I saw deeply into the well of grief. It held me tightly and then let me go...

At fifteen years after the death of my Beloved, grief took me into its arms and rocked me gently, as I did for her. We told each other of our love, as I did to her. Grief, my beloved grief.

I do not know what grief will bring tomorrow. But I do know this...

Grief is reborn daily. It will not be repeated, it's molecules are in constant flux.

Today, grief is reborn into the sadness of nearly two decades without my girl. Yesterday it was reborn into wishes that she could've sat at the kitchen counter with my other children eating wasabi seaweed and telling stories about silly games we played when they were little.

Tomorrow, grief will tunnel again through the darkness and into the light, like she did during her birth, and will emerge a different being, slightly changed some days, unnoticeably changed others.

Yes, grief is reborn daily, and so is my now abiding love and gratitude for it.

I've learned to hold and trust that grief knows well its own dutiful course in my life. So, I relinquish (the illusion of) control and trust that grief will, as it once promised, not kill me into non-existence. I didn't believe that at one time. But now, nearly two decades later, I know this as truth.

Grief will not kill me but it will transform me, willingly or not. My grief belongs to me, it has been mine all these years. It says to me, "I've been so yours, here." And I remember her because nothing, not even the passage of time, will change my love. I speak of her - not solely because of grief - but because of love. I remember her - not because I am stalled in my grief - but because she is mine and I am hers.

So I walk hand in hand with grief, willingly, just as I would walk with her, hand in hand, today-

If only I could.


The soul still sings in the darkness telling of the beauty she found there; and daring us not to think that because she passed through such tortures of anguish, doubt, dread, and horror, as has been said, she ran any the more danger of being lost in the night. Nay, in the darkness did she, rather, find herself.

--St. John, Dark Night of the Soul

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