Sunday, October 21, 2018

To the Grievers

About a decade ago, a friend of mine was in a river rafting accident. She got stuck in one of those vertical flowing whirlpools in the rapids. The kind that suck you under over and over instead of spin you around like a drain. She fought and swam and tried her hardest until she was out of energy, and out of air. In the end, she realized she was never going to be able to beat the current of that whirlpool. Almost as soon as she relaxed her fight, expecting to die, the current shot her out of the whirlpool and off to the side where her family pulled her to safety. 

She nearly died trying to fight the current because she didn't know that if you allowed it to suck you under, it will push you out of it. The only way out of one of those whirlpools is THROUGH the whirlpool. I know, grief isn't a life or death moment all the time like her accident. But, this applies. Just go with me.

When you're grieving, you'll do anything to make it stop, and it won't. The more you numb the pain with tv, drugs, alcohol, sex, denial, whatever you do to pretend you're not dying inside from your loss, the longer it stays with you and the more it hurts you. I fought against my pain for so long, and, in turn, I ended up with complicated grief, crippling anxiety, and depression. I stayed sad for almost 3 years. I stayed completely and utterly miserable for 2.

I don't blame myself, because I didn't know. I didn't know it would hurt that much, and nobody prepared me for the amount of pain I was feeling. My heart actually hurt, badly. There was a chronic and dull pain in my chest where my heart was. I learned that heartache isn't a metaphor. It's a physical condition.

Nothing you can do will erase the loss that rocks your world, but, if you allow yourself to feel it, allow yourself to cry when you need to, allow yourself to miss them terribly, and give yourself the space you need to process it all, you will get through the process, and be doing the work you need to heal from your loss.

It will hurt. It will take faith. It will take courage. Face it. Let the pain wash over you. Allowing yourself to feel it means it will pass eventually. It will ebb and flow like the water of a river, sometimes just a little bit of pain, sometimes none, and sometimes it will suck you under like a dangerous current, but then, it will spit you out the other side when you least expect it, and you'll look back realizing you've made it through.

Face the pain. Accept the pain, and love yourself through it. It only hurts this much because you were given the incredible gift of loving someone.

Hang in there, and do the work.


A Fellow Griever

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