Wednesday, October 21, 2009
A Lesson in Grief
This post is not meant to sound an alarm, but rather to help myself understand where I am, and to be able to look back at some point to see where I've been.
I just looked up the various definitions of "purge," as it is the only word that comes to mind when I reflect on my day. Most definitions describe the word as "to rid of whatever is impure or undesirable; cleanse; purify." And while the pain of my grief is definitely something undesirable, the reason why I grieve is far from that.
Today my heart has felt like an open wound. The tears and anguish are pouring out of me with such a force, and I am rendered helpless. Nothing could have prepared me for this. By definition, I am often considered a person of inner strength, and yet presently I am powerless.
It is my hope that all of this will serve a purpose, if not for me, then for just one person who one day stumbles upon this blog. I know that this pain is not unique. I have sat in rooms filled with others who weep for their loss as well. I have been participating in a couple of bereavement groups, one of which I attended today. In this group I am the most recent "widower." Actually in both groups I attend I am the most recent widower. Yet in today's group I came to the realization that it is too soon for me to be there. I need time to pass, to get further along, beyond this initial trauma. I think that in my effort to "take care of myself" I jumped in too quickly. Now it's not that I plan to isolate myself, far from that. I have started individual therapy, and will remain active in a bereavement group specifically for lesbian & gay partner/spouses. Although I have only participated in this group one time, the majority of members have also experience their loss very recently. And, I must say, that it is a unique opportunity to be in a room with with people who mirror my experience in so many specific ways.
I just took some time to be mindful of my breathing, and I realize that I have calmed considerably since starting this post. As I look at the screen in front of me I see my reflection in my words. It reminds me that there is always calm after the storm. We don't always know when the storm will let up, but we can trust that it will. I guess that is what nature teaches us, and that is why I must rely on that image. When caught in the eye of the storm there is a sense of hopelessness, no doubt. And though this storm feels much stronger than any I have previously experienced, I must trust that a ray of sunlight will eventually appear.