Saturday, November 28, 2009

Grief of Seismic Proportions

There is nothing like a good disaster movie to put your life in perspective.

Today I decided that the boys and I were going to get out of this house to see a film, and knowing my boys, it had to be about crashing cars, martial arts or cosmic sized disaster. Well, we went to see 2012. This is not a review of the film, just using it as a metaphor for the past 24 hours of my life.

Yesterday started out okay, actually it started out very nicely. Nobody was arguing, nobody was making unrealistic demands, and I was able to take my time in waking up for a change. Yet as the day moved forward I began to feel a familiar pull of the gravitational forces known as grief. I began preparing for the onslaught of symptoms so as to try and gage what my needs would be. And as in every disaster movie, what I didn't prepare for was the unexpected.

Grief can sometimes hit us in small waves. While these waves can throw us off course at times, we can at least see the shore ahead, and ride it out. Yet at other times grief can build up like a tsunami due to the many unforeseen undercurrents. It is times like this, for me last night, that we need to properly gage what we are feeling, and responding to. Sometimes we are grieving more than the physical loss of our loved one. Sometimes we are grieving the lack of progress in longstanding concerns for our family. Sometimes we are grieving for other people's pain. Sometimes we are grieving due to the ongoing challenges of parenthood without our spouse beside us.

In today's disaster movie, the loss and destruction was beyond the scope of earth's inhabitants to appropriately respond. As one would expect, they were left with more casualties than survivors. And so was my evening. I thought I was prepared for the grief that I somehow kept at bay on Thanksgiving. I it would be difficult to weather, but that I could get through it. Yet as the sun went down, many of my life's undercurrents began to rattle within me. Most of these undercurrents are ongoing concerns I have with my children. Before I knew what hit me I was engulfed with anger and grief. Like a volcano, I erupted with torrents of misery's venom. The victims, initially my children. The culprits, okay maybe they had something to do with it. The epicenter, me. It was my response to all the undercurrents that was seismically out of proportion. And in turn, the tsunami of emotion was more than I felt equipped for.

There are times when life feels like one disaster after another. There are times when the difficult reality of our life comes crashing down all around us. There are nights when grief gets it's grip on us so deeply that we fear that we may not survive. Sometimes we feel like we may not want to survive. Sometimes getting through it takes more than what we think we have.

As formula as it is, in all disaster movies we are left with an image of the sun rising once the storm du jour has ended. Peace and calm settles in around us. Peace and calm is what I awoke to as well. As the day continued on I needed to make sure I tended to each of the kid's needs. I needed to give some explanations, and I needed to make some repairs. Tonight I am once again reminded that even when I think my heart and soul can take no more, something is there to make sure I can. In the course of grief we can't always divert these difficult experiences, but remembering our individual history with grief, we can help ourselves get through it. And while we may not get through it unscathed, we will get through it.

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