A friend of mine, Steven Shomler, experienced one of the worst, if not THE worst, thing a parent can go through. A little over a year ago, one of his teenage sons passed away. I have no concept of what it must feel like to be this grieving father. This is one of the unimaginables of the world. The grief has to be overwhelming. The thing is, this man, truly understands how to grieve and why it must be done if we are ever able to be healthier and “wholer” (his word) people. He shares openly about his grief at A Grief Expressed on his blog and on Facebook.
I’ve learned a lot from him about grieving well. The way you grieve well, is to allow yourself to grieve whenever the grief rises up and tells you it needs to be expressed. Holding it in and putting it off will only create problems.
Grieving isn’t something I’ve really done or allowed myself to do. I suppose that’s true of a lot of people. However, I’ve got so much grief that’s never been expressed. Now is the time. I can’t even really describe or list all the losses and trauma I’ve never truly grieved.
I’ve always dissociated from events and circumstances, so that the emotions around them never get a chance to become consious or expressed. I’ve always rationalized and justified whatever happened, so that I could further avoid dealing with the big, uncomfortable, painful feelings.
It’s been the only way I could deal with the responsibilities and obligations I have.
I can’t really do that anymore. . . and I don’t mean I don’t want to, although that is true too. I mean, my brain, body, and emotions don’t let me.
This Mother’s Day, and the days leading up to it, were huge grief triggers for me. The anxiety increased and got stronger, resulting in at least one panic attack. I’ve had one kind of headache or another, sometimes several types in succession, triggered by the one before it. I’ve struggled with more anger – both in frequency and intensity. Depression has taken its toll on me and my home. Insomnia has ruled my nights. I know that all of these things have been rising up because of unexpressed, unprocessed grief.
It’s difficult to let myself grieve the way I need to. There’s always something that I have to take care of that is not optional. This includes taking care of my youngest daughter.
But, that’s the thing. When the grief comes, all you can do is stop holding on and just be held. If there isn’t anyone around to hold me, I’ve been learning that God, by whatever name, is always there to hold me.