“Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed.” ~ Wikipedia
Grief is a truth teller when we like to believe the lies.
Grief slays us from our easy chair and smiles at our idea of control.
I thought her evil, pointing out my deficiencies, even stealing joy and freedom.
Grief speaks the loudest at funerals, but that’s not the only place her voice is heard.
She whispers throughout our lives and we resist her presence repeatedly.
She says: He’s got another woman (when he does). Your mom has cancer and will likely die. (Sometimes grief sounds like a doctor.) Your parents are divorcing. You hate this job. You’re going to lose the house. The doctors had to cut off his foot. He’s unresponsive.
We think grief is the b*tch, but she’s more like my new stepmom when I was a teenager: introducing rules which felt restrictive, but showed me what it meant to be a family.
Grief is strong and no doubt she can be harsh, but she’s loving.
She’s like the junior high school teacher who made my brother read in front of the class. Except Bill couldn’t read; so he slapped her.
That teacher revealed a truth my brother had been denying.
That’s the kind of teacher grief is—willing to be hated, even abused, in order to remove the mask.
A friend of mine told me he was sexually abused, by more than one person, starting at age five. He told me he doesn’t feel sad or angry. He says it didn’t affect him. In fact, he’s fine.
I recognize that mask. It’s the I’m okay mask.
I wore it for almost a decade after I was raped. I not only denied the pain, but avoided it entirely (actually how denial works).
I thought I was brave. I thought I was strong. I thought I was fine.
Actually, I didn’t think much about that night at all.
It wasn’t a #metoo campaign that made me face my pain.
A qualified therapist knew it takes more than just listening to a client like me paint pretty pictures so she feels better.
This therapist encouraged me to take off my I’m fine mask, look at the truth, and allow the tears to break where my trust had been violated.
She helped me face what I hadn’t known how to. And to move past it.
It’s not only the experiences we want to avoid; it’s the grief.
Grief says, “Yes, you were raped.”
What a b*tch. What a truth teller.
It takes courage to face our pain. That’s why so many women don’t come forward until years later, if at all. It’s easier to deny.
Our ego convinces us to be “strong” and in doing so, we often end up lying to ourselves through minimizing.
I have friends whose fathers left them or never showed up when they were kids. For years I’ve watched them dismiss the impact of an event like that.
Then, as adults when they get conscious and courageous, they can cry in the arms of grief. It’s the beginning of releasing that mask they all but glued on their beautiful faces.
When they finally take off the mask and let the grief in, the light comes. too.
When we face people’s (including our own) imperfections, manipulations, and violations, at first we’re hit with grief. But then, we’re set free.
We’re no longer captive to the actions of others. That’s why society applauds so many women and men coming out of the shadows and saying #metoo.
We’re witnessing their individual healing and society’s collective awakening.
We minimize our pain not because we’re strong or brave, but because on some level, we believe the grief could devour us.
She won’t. She waits like a patient parent or teacher. She helps us remove our I’m fine mask and the illusion of being in control.
Grief invites us to lay our hurt and humanity at her feet.
She holds us in our raw pain.
Then, like my stepmother and my brother’s teacher, grief helps us grow into more conscious and compassionate human beings.