THE NATURE OF GRIEF
by Susitna Marasul
It is the dead of winter and I rest, letting the white blankness send me under the covers time and time again.
I can observe many things in these dreamy weeks. Namely my thoughts, how they clatter on pointlessly. I read a lot, to fill the space, and kindly the books remind me to ask the question – who is the one hearing these voices? She is the One you are seeking. My emotions, how they roll and recede, one day calm and placid under a tropical sun, the next day grey and destructive, relentlessly flooding the shores that define what is outside myself, sweeping aside everything and everyone away in a tsunami of rage, hurt, and grief.
My grief. I observe my grief, and in the quiet moments I gather bits and pieces on the nature of it, since the elders are now silent and forgotten and the rest of us consider stoic strength a virtue.
Grief. It is tidal, at times gentle, other times overwhelming. Relentless. It comes, it goes, and you are never free of it. Time deadens the memories but does not remove the impressions of love pressed into our hearts. Forever they live in a familiar smell, the notes of a song, the beauty of a rose. Even if you forget the sound of their laugh or the distinct features of their face, never do you forget how they made you feel, and mourn the loss of that particular feeling until the end of you.
Grief. It deserves ceremony. The more we try to shove it under the carpet of our everyday, the more we are caught unawares. The empty birthdays. The missed anniversaries. The day they died. Why live awkwardly, forever staring at an unoccupied chair? Fill it with tradition, for this is the one and only purpose our rituals serve – to fill the spaces we are conscious enough to realize but too human to disregard.
Grief. It requires expression. Wail your sadness. Write it, draw it, paint it, cry it out, smash it out, therapize it, but refuse to silence it.
Let’s give each other space to grieve, and to tell the stories that define our experiences.
Here’s one of mine, written during a vigil I held for my Father on his birthday. He died 5 years ago. Feel free to share yours below.
As I sit, listening to the hush of the waves and feeling the chill breeze tease the soft hairs that frame my face – I can feel him. I can feel my father, his energy fills the entire cove, I am surrounded by him. It is deeply soothing – oh how I miss that feeling . Tears fill my eyes. I blink them away and a mist clears. I can, for a moment, see the rocks and dance of the water in perfect clarity –the gentle grey tinged in golden evening light .
I remember my grief – how it consumed me. It felt like such a weight around my neck, dragging my head to the ground. There were times where all I could do was lay belly down and cry.
I remember the moment I was free from my vigil of grief. I had dreams of him singing, young and vibrant, emanating Joy. He was nowhere to be found in my sorrow. So long as I dedicated myself to perpetuating my sadness he would forever feel lost to me. I perceived that the spirit of my Father was in joy, that is where he lives now.
We lose the ones we love, and it brings us great pain. But the beauty of the cycle is that only through releasing our hold on suffering and daring to smile again do we find the lost ones once more. And so, life propels us ever onward. Love? It brings us home to our inner eternal gladness.
This post is lovingly dedicated to JT O’Sullivan and all who feel the loss of him.
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