To say I’m not in love with grief is putting it mildly.
I’ve been cycling through the (alleged) five stages of grief for, well, three solid months now since my longtime love and I parted ways.
Three months – it doesn’t seem like a very long time. But it feels like a very long time.
It also feels – frankly – somewhat senseless.
(And I don’t say that as a general blanket statement to mean that if you are grieving or know someone who is, that it should apply to your grief or your loved one’s grief. I mean it in terms of my own grief, right here, right now.)
Allow me to explain. The parting was a long time coming. It was a decision I made for reasons that still feel very loving, very respectful, not to mention surprisingly mature. We had reached an impasse where we were both entrenched and it had become literally impossible to move in any direction….except apart.
Being apart, we can both be who we are without feeling any internal or external pressure to change. It is better.
Except there is this grief.
Some mornings I wake up and feel so much better. I don’t know why. I feel more lightness, more relief that it is over and I don’t have to keep going through the same old painful stuff with him over and over again. The weighty blanket of wretched exhaustion and hopelessness has been lifted.
Other mornings I wake up and don’t want to get out of bed. Like, ever.
And often I don’t get out of bed until a certain feathery someone starts shrieking and flapping and throwing birdseed out of his cage to let his mommy know it is LIGHT OUT NOW and TIME TO GET UP ALREADY.
There are some days when the day will start out well enough and then halfway into it I’ll get a sudden urgent memo: “Grief approaching. Take cover.” And I will get about 5 or 10 seconds of warning and then the inner sirens will start to wail and I will think, “I wish I had just died instead. Death would have been easier….and probably more fun.”
Then I take it right back, of course. Because if there is one thing I’m more afraid of than losing someone I love and having to grieve that loss, it is death.
And yet there have been moments…..one morning I woke up and the grief was just overpowering, thanks to the previous evening’s dreams which were clearly out to get me from the moment I allowed my eyelids to close.
So I closed my eyes again and just let myself float. I floated, imagining myself with my arms outstretched, body weightless in the bobbing ocean of grief, just letting go of everything I’ve ever thought I’ve ever known about how to survive a loss. And surprisingly, this letting go made me feel so free.
And I thought to myself, “I think I know what it feels like to die. I think it feels like this. I think it feels like the willingness to just. let. go.”
So maybe I’m not quite so afraid of death today as I was yesterday, or before we broke up. Maybe going through this grief now has given me at least one useful tool in my “how to die successfully” toolkit that I can call upon when the big moment comes.
But otherwise, the necessity of having to go through the process of grieving – well, frankly, it just pisses me off more often than not. WHY do I need to grieve? Why can’t I just make a decision, do the deal, and move on? What is the purpose for grief?
I also had this moment the other day when I was attempting to ride out yet another surprise wave of grief. And suddenly, like a sunbeam through really thick, dense, fog, it broke through – LOVE.
There was a strong and noticeable absence of liking each another three months ago when we chose to take different roads and parted ways. But there hasn’t been any lessening of love…at least not on my part. The love is still just as intact as it has always been. Maybe it will always be there.
Perhaps that is why – grief. Because as a thinking, feeling, sensing being, the presence of love brings with it a desire to interact with that love in some way. To hold. To be held. To see. To be seen. To give. To receive. To open. To be opened to.
It is a difficult thing, just keeping company with love without taking any action. Every time I try to do it – grief.
I think I must keep trying. I know it can take years to move through grief, but I don’t feel like I want to give it years. I don’t feel like I have years (although I suppose I do – all the rest of my years, however many or few they may be, are mine to do with as I please). But try as I may, I just can’t seem to speed up the grief.
Today’s Takeaway: Do you have any suggestions about what to do, how to respond, when grief starts to feel senseless, like a waste of perfectly good time? Have you ever felt like that about any loss you’ve had to grieve? I would love to hear your thoughts!