As much as I believe that grief is an extension of love, it’s not warm and fuzzy. Its more like the diamond formed from coal. It takes immense pressure and harsh circumstances to become a thing of beauty.
The raw grief comes in waves, at first you don’t know they’re waves because you are in a storm withstanding a continual onslaught, relentless in its ferocity. Gradually it calms, to that place of stillness, where at first there is nothing, just a flat surface. You know that there is so much going on underneath but on top its like being adrift on a raft on your own. It starts off in small spaces and the waves come out of nowhere, like Tsunami, smashing you every time, just as you start to recognise the stillness. Just long enough to catch your breath. Just long enough so that you don’t sink entirely.
The spaces of stillness slowly build up, becoming a little longer each time. You don’t really notice at first, because everything is so so tired. Your body, your mind, your spirit is tired, like it has never been before. Exhausted, like you have never experienced, when sleep brings no relief and function is stilted, rote. You have been holding your breath for so long in the waves, that you thought you had stopped breathing & wonder how your body is even moving? But you are moving. And doing. And in the spaces, you begin to notice little things. Your flesh feels so heavy, weighing down, and your bones feel like spindles inside it. Numbness spreads through it and it engulfs you. Choking you. Then it begins to subside a little, the flesh get a little less heavy and your bones become bones again. It’s not relief, it just is. The doing starts to have a little more meaning and the tiredness sinks down into you, not leaving just sitting lower. The doing becomes longer. Builds up in timespan and substance.
Then out of nowhere, the Tsunami hits. The impact never seems to lessen. In my own experience, while alive and now, he was my first thought on waking, my last before sleep and a continuously running background app throughout my days. My body knew when he slept next to me, even when he came in after I was sleeping. My cells recognise his presence and absence equally and in permanent absence they revolt – My skin, paper thin and brittle, scorched by touch. My breath gone and I am gulping for air. My lungs empty, my heart is lead and drops below my stomach, which is now a gaping black hole. Crippling pain comes searing through my body, tearing my chest open, as the gulping rises up, tears welling and burning and I struggle to take control and get to a safe space. The despair is stifling, suffocating and the longing to lay down in a dark wilderness and return to the earth is all consuming. The black is here, no struggling or fighting it, just have to let go and allow myself to be carried along. The flesh no longer feels heavy, it is a shell and the cavity within is infinite. Every attempt to fill it feels like dropping trinkets into a sink hole. I am riding the wave.
There is no timeframe, no end date. The frequency and severity of the waves is an unknown, sometimes we feel it coming, sometimes we don’t. We may begin to recognise triggers, or not. The time between will become longer, in time and we are able to use the spaces to rebuild, even transform. It is different for everyone, so I can only say this;
Be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge how far you have come. Allow yourself to just have this day, this moment, this week……. Do whatever you can that helps you & when the space between returns and the doing begins to have some meaning again, be grateful for all that you are and all that you have. We can fill the spaces with trinkets for later.