I don’t know what to do with this grief I carry. I would like to stick it in an envelope and mail it off somewhere, but where? I wouldn’t want the sadness to travel to places where they would not understand it. I am shouldered with the responsibility of carrying this piece of sadness in my pocket, to hold on to it until I can figure out where to put it.
I am at a loss as to who should see it or where to place it. Many feel the same way I do. They, too, are at a loss for where to put their grief, their shock, their sudden desire to hold on to everything that is precious, their need to continually hug their children and kiss their spouse. Their very nerves twitch with delight at waking up in the morning and seeing the sunshine. Yet somewhere in the back of their minds, a sudden jolt of pain will hit them. Not physical pain but the pain of real loss, of not knowing or understanding, of constantly wondering why. Why? Why did this have to happen? Why? It’s a powerful question.
The ‘why’ lingers on in our minds. I am once again struck with this little ball of grief, not knowing why, not knowing where to put it. I could write about it, I think to myself, but then figuring out what to write had me stumped. Until now. And then I realized this is what grieving is all about. It is about time; it’s about trying to find answers. Perhaps over time I will be able to put this little ball of grief somewhere, store it in a grief drawer or bury it in my back yard with my phlox and roses and dahlias. Maybe there, the grief will lie in hope that it will grow into something, perhaps even into joy. Is it possible to find joy in pain and sadness? I think it is. From all things come lessons that we learn for life and that, in itself, is a lesson.
Some of us learn differently and despair is a tough subject to study. Yet when we are faced with a tragedy, we cannot ignore its devastation and the toll it takes on us all. We cannot simply say “that’s life” and move on. We need to study it to process it; to look at all possibilities. We need to take the grief out of our pockets and hold it in our hands and really examine it. We need to ask why. Even if there are no answers, at least we are asking. At least we are alive enough to ask. And maybe we do get an answer. How will we know if we don’t ask?
What do I see when I take out that little ball of grief? I see pain. I see healing. I also see hope. I see a desire to eventually put the grief where it belongs: not in an envelope, a drawer or in my garden, but in my heart. There, it will turn blood-red, this sorrow. It will live there in my heart with other sorrows and heartbreaks and losses. It will find company in there with other songs of sadness. In these songs, the grief will find some expression of home.
I will find some way of coping with life again, for the pain is with me, in my heart. It sings great songs of joy while my garden grows, my children are hugged and my spouse is kissed.
Photo courtesy of Martha Farley – all rights reserved