Today’s blog explores the process of grief as it relates to the losses and disappointments of our lives.
Wisdom from a Friend
A wise friend once shared with me regarding grief, “When you are grieving, your emotions are not your own.” How true I have found that to be, both in the process of grieving my divorce and now grieving the loss of a significant relationship. As a Spiritual Director, I know all about the grieving process and have been a source of witness and support for many of my clients as they have moved through the losses, disappointments, changes and deaths in their lives. I should have this all figured out and grief should be easier for me because of my knowledge and experience in this area, right? WRONG! The good news is that I know that I am grieving (which is a far cry from what most people seem to know about their emotions related to grief) and that I have had enough experience in this area to know that instead of resisting the grieving process (as most of us do), I can simply SURRENDER and in surrendering to the process and letting it have its way with me, I will find quicker healing and will be more prepared to find the new life that is promised on the other side of this loss.
The emotions that come with grief are kind of like being the ball on the inside of a pinball machine – getting battered about the walls, getting hit by the paddles of sadness, pummeled against the buzzers of rage, flipped about by the hammer of denial and wishing and hoping you could just sink to the bottom of the machine and that this is really just a dream and none of it has really happened or that you will get that magic email or phone call that says, “I’m sorry, I was wrong, can we start over?” (that is called bargaining…..also a face of grief.) Like the ball inside the machine, we really have no control over where we are getting hit or in what direction we are being thrown. We simply get tossed about in our emotions as the Spirit within us works at healing our pain.
The good news is that while we are getting haphazardly battered about, with every punch of rage, collapse into depression, flood of tears, negotiations in bargaining and denial, strands of what has been fall away from us, like a mummy being unwrapped from its death dressings. Some of these strands are the illusions we might have created around the situation. The things that we may have made up in our heads or the way we wanted to hear or see things fall away so that deeper truths can be revealed. Some of the strands are those of deep pain – rejection, fear, loneliness, rage, anger, confusion. Other strands are the hopes and dreams we had created around the relationship and as we peel away the strands of these dreams, we are prepared for the new dreams in our life to begin to take root. Many of the strands are memories – all the things that made up the relationship – the good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow, the gift and the challenge. All of this unraveling is happening so that we can be cleared of what was, examine it for “what is mine in this” and “what is theirs” and so that we can be made ready for the new life that is promised on the other side of the loss.
It describes the hardest part of this journey for me….and probably for anyone that has been through the loss of relationship – the evil clown demon that seeks to torture us in self-loathing, self-flagellation, relentlessly coming at us with our own unhealed inner wounds. This is the evil clown that taunts us with all the negative self-talk it knows we are expert at inflicting upon ourselves. I will spare you the gory details, just know it is as scary, disturbing and disgusting as Pennywise – the evil clown demon of Stephen King fame. And to me, there is NOTHING more scary than clowns in general, let alone this demon clown!
I Can See Clearly Now
Ok, not yet…..but I know that in addition to the promise of new life, lies the promise of clarity and beyond clarity – compassion. I know that all this grieving will bring healing (and much has already taken place). I also know that it will be greater clarity and understanding – what really happened and why? And even more than this, is the promise of compassion – that moment when the finger of blame that hangs in midair pointing toward “them” and then back at “me” will finally fall to rest at my side. In that moment, I know that I will love myself for all I brought to this relationship, that I will love them for all that they brought, that I will look upon it as a happy and gifted time in my life and that I will be able to bless both of us as we move forward in our own respective truths. And for the record, this is my highest intention in this loss and the ultimate goal that keeps me going even in the face of grief.
In closing, I share a poem that I still believe to be true – if not for a lifetime, at least for a reason and a season….and for this I will always be grateful!
Copyright 2012 Lauri Lumby
They asked them, “How did you meet?”
“We were brought together,” he replied
She stood in stunned agreement, with the truth hanging in the air like
an overfilled raincloud anxiously wanting to quench the earth of its thirst.
How true this feels.
The silent, invisible workings of a benevolent Universe
Answering the deepest longings of their hearts
Across time and space
Through dreams and imaginings
And the supposed haphazard circumstances of life.
More than luck, beyond Karma,
Something meant to be
And in this their deepest thirst was quenched.
Authentic Freedom Ministries