Standing in the center, holding the space of my grieving, is a very , very challenging space for me to be right now. The dark thread of grieving is strong and oh so present each day. This center place is in between so many contrasting experiences and feelings that most days I just feel muddled and confused. I stand in between:
*Acceptance and Denial
*Sadness and Hope
*Confusion and Clarity
*Activity and Lethargy
*Clutching and Letting Go
*Light and Darkness
*Silent, closed throat and Non stop Vocalization
*Needing people desperately and Needing complete aloneness
*Crying and Laughing
*Anger and Acceptance
As I am standing in this In Between Place most of the time I feel so edgy, scattered and unsure of myself I find I can barely see straight much less take any kind of action. I feel the inner Kraken awake and waiting right below the surface, waiting for the opportunity to simply drag someone down into the darkness with me. Even as I continue to practice all my meditative, releasing skills my ability to slide quickly into feeling intense anger and wanting to lash out at anyone around me is very heightened. I want to release the Kraken and almost look for opportunities to scream for a little while, at least inside my head. Simple questions and requests from folks stir up such intense internal reactions within me that I am finding myself steering clear of being around anyone besides my kids. Only with them do I feel it is safe for me to be around people. With them I walk with gentleness and deep love. Any others walk an unknown path with me that might lead to them being sucked into the dark places of my mind.
I am aware that this edginess is all a part of the grieving. I actually think it is a strong thread that weaves through all the steps of grieving. The funny thing about these 7 steps – 1) shock and denial; 2) pain and guilt; 3) anger and bargaining; 4) depression, reflection and loneliness; 5) slight upward turn; 6) reconstruction and working through; 7) acceptance, hope and looking forward – is that they are not just steps to be moved through 1 at a time. I don’t get to just finish one and be done with it moving onto the next. Every single day I move through this entire process to some extent. And every single day I think, hmmm I am doing a little better. Whew. But then some odd thing will sideswipe me like an underwater submarine strike and I find myself flipped upside down and treading water again, feeling so utterly lost.
While I know that the only way through my grieving process is by going through it, I do fear that I may never get all the way through it. In my head I get that it can take a lot of time. But this edginess combined with an almost mind numbing rawness leaves me fearing that I may never be able to function anywhere near the level at which I previously could. I have such positive thoughts each morning thinking about my goals for the day. I feel confident and hopeful that maybe this is the day I can make it through my list. Maybe this is the day I can work more than an hour without feeling like I then need a 3 hour nap. Maybe this will be the day I feel more peaceful than edgy. And maybe someday these things can happen, but probably not yet today.
Grief “drops us directly into the deepest waters of sadness. It demands that we stop completely and ask ‘what must be mourned?’ In grief, we are completely immersed in the river of the soul.” So very, very true! This immersion into a river of questioning and searching our souls is complete while we grieve. The waters are deep that I travel and only rarely do I feel like I am at a point of resting and stillness – in a boat, on a rock in the middle of the river, clinging to a branch floating down the river. Answering the question “what must be mourned” is not an easy task. The quick answer of “I mourn the death of Russell” is really too simple. True but nowhere near speaking enough to the myriad of answers that pop into my head as I ponder this question. Because the loss of Russell has led to so many things that I mourn now and will mourn in the future. I must mourn the daily missing of Russell. I mourn the loss of security my children had in having both parents with them everyday. I mourn the future possibilities of family trips and experiences. I mourn the dream of growing old with Russell. I mourn the loss of being able to work for long hours and feel energized by my work. I mourn being able to have thoughts that just light and hopeful without a thread of sadness throughout it all. I mourn the dreams Russell and I had for our future. All of these things and many more I can’t even imagine right now I mourn.
But because I am who I am I also see the threads of hope and rejuvenation that can/will someday come as I move through my grieving. There are new family trips and experiences being discussed. There are new dreams for my future and the kids future being explored. There are new ways that I am weaving security around our family. There are new stories I will tell. There are new and renewed connections I am making with people. There are many, many new choices set before me leading to opportunities I may never have imagined before.
Sadness is obviously linked to loss, but “rejuvenation is also a radical part of the letting go process. Sadness removes the logjams inside of us so that we can flow and live again.” Sadness and deep grieving leads us to take a new look at ourselves and our lives. We re-evaluate our lives as things are turned upside down and inside out. We make choices based on what is most important to us. We see the world anew even through the fogginess of grief. We cannot choose to go back to the status quo as everything is different now. As we move through our grief, allowing ourselves all the time we need no matter what others think our time frame should be, we let go of more than our sadness. If we are faithful to our authentic journey, we also let go of the things that have been blocking us from truly living. We free things up to let the inner river of our soul flow wildly and passionately.
For now I try to be patient with myself as I daily float through pain, anger, reflection and loneliness. I am thankful for the slight upward turns I experience each day providing me some hope and more positive energy flow. I am thankful that I have surrounded myself with folks who affirm that my path right now must be just going through it all. I am thankful for the glimpses into the mystery that I am tapping into something bigger at work than just my own story. I am thankful for all the feelings I have – the sadness, the fear, the anger, the confusion, the hopefulness, the simple joy – as these experience of these feelings means I am living in the real, in the now. I am thankful for my kids smiles, hugs, tears, connection to me, and our ability to laugh together as a family. I am thankful for my belief that life is a process and we just need to stay true to our own journey.
And I am hopeful that maybe today can be a day I get through most of the things on my daily list. It would be nice to have at least one of those. Smile!