It’s fear and pain and disbelief and rage and what feels like never-ending sadness, all rolled up into one big mess of dark and ugly feelings.
Grief takes hold of you and you can’t muster the motivation to get out of bed in the morning. Multiple times throughout the day your eyes well up with tears. You consider running for the hills but you force yourself to stay rooted in your seat. As you make the drive home, the salty water finally, finally falls unchecked from your eyes and down your cheeks.
You don’t want to be angry. You don’t want to feel hate. But you are so angry. You rage inside. You want to crawl outside of your own skin with the discomfort of it all. You alternate between feeling numb and all the feelings rushing in at once, like a giant semi-truck hitting you at full speed. You don’t remember what “okay” feels like any more.
Anxiety grips you and chokes you and won’t release you from its hold.
The grief cripples you and the loss threatens to consume you. You frantically search for the off button.
A couple of days ago, a friend shared with me the wisdom he had gained from his own experience with grief.
He told me that grief, while one of the most excruciating and uncomfortable experiences you will have in your lifetime, is a period of incredible growth. If you have the wherewithal to observe yourself through the process, to watch yourself fall apart and try like hell to piece yourself back together, you will witness amazing things.
You will learn about yourself, he said. You will be raw, more raw than you have ever been, and this will open up your heart. When you make it to the other side of this soul-wrenching grief, you will be better for it.
He spoke to me about being able to love more deeply than he ever had before his great loss. He comforted me with his confidence that this experience forever changes us, but in a beautiful and tremendous way. His empathy touched me.
What I took away from that conversation is that there is hope in every experience. There is a silver lining to surviving every trauma. I believe that this pain does have deep meaning for me and that I really will be better for it.
Take comfort in the fact that you are feeling all the feelings and still going. Be numb. Be a wreck. Be angry. Be sad. Be made happy by the memories you can keep alive inside of you. Be kind to yourself through this process. Be patient. So patient. Try to watch what is happening inside of and outside of yourself so that you can get the most out of this incredibly trying time. Share even though it hurts. Show up even if you ugly cry all over the place.
Someday you will mend. You’re already on the way there. Maybe it won’t be today, or tomorrow, or next month, but one day you will feel the fire within ignite again.
Through the anger and the sadness and the tears and the deafening silence of their absence just remember: you are growing, you are becoming, and you are having an incredibly painful and profound human experience that is shaping you.
Don’t give up before the miracle happens.
In honor of Silpa.