I started this blog without giving much thought to the URL. ‘Loss and Liberation’ felt right, so I went with it. It’s my mode of operation. I go with my gut.
The original intention here was to process and NORMALIZE grief. I’ve been so saddened to learn how typical it is for people to suffer alone, to feel like the confusing process of rehoming the broken pieces of their lost Love is a burden they should not impose on their families and communities. I am still shocked at how ill-prepared the world is to look grievers in the eyes. Possibly the biggest disappointment of my life was when this expectation to hide and ‘get over it’ was imposed on me. It was, and still is, my goal to provide an example of an alternative way to grieve and a more receptive way to love someone who is experiencing grief. We’re not taught this. The grieving go into caves and the rest of us never learn how to see them or be with them in a supportive way… as if ‘they’ are ‘them’.
If we refuse to learn how to be with the grieving, we will never know how to be with our own grief.
This is an inescapable truth.
I am not claiming to have figured it all out. I am not writing to tell you that I no longer suffer or that I even believe that there will be a ‘last tear’ to shed, but I do understand something about this grief process that deserves to be shared. I understand why I chose the words “Loss and Liberation”.
Last night my daughter told me that she wanted to die so that she could be with her dad. While I held her without words, she expressed her deep fear, mirroring my own deepest fear, that I might die before her, leaving her without a parent. She wondered if she killed herself, would I then kill myself to go join them? My daughter is 4. Her father died a year ago, and I am still unprepared to answer questions like these. I weep now as I type these words. But, my way has become to keep typing. To talk about it. To weep, and to encourage others to do the same. To let the world know that weeping is actually quite healthy. To tell my daughter that I hurt too, and that it’s not ok, that, yes, this is awful and her hurt and her fears and her sadness are totally valid, that her dad deserves to be mourned because he was wonderful… so cry it out honey. Punch the pillow. Get it all out of your body so that nothing gets stuck. However, also know that there is still a way to let this whole fucked up ‘holy ouch’ expand our capacity for Love. By feeling the feelings and not hiding them, we connect to a whole web of compassion and grace. There are messages in grief, profound beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. In allowing my grief, in giving it all the permission it has needed to be heard and felt and thoroughly experienced, I have found pieces of myself that have been screaming to be witnessed, pieces I have ‘once upon a time’ deemed unacceptable. Grief is not just ‘loss of a Loved one’. It’s much bigger than that. There is deep shame hidden in the same closet of emotions.
“No one wants to hear you cry. Your anger is frightening. No one wants to be around someone who is so sad. You’re going to bring everyone down. Snap out of it. Only positive vibes.”
So, we hide these feelings behind our shame. Since we’ve left the days of the village, we have accepted these stories as truth. Whether we believe it in our hearts, our heads have bought into the lie that vulnerability is weakness. I would like to scream from the mountaintops that it is time for adopting different stories. I believe with every cell in my body that the sadness that shows you it’s happy face will stick around MUCH longer than the sadness that asks for your ear and soaks your shoulder with its tears. By falling into and allowing our grief, as it flows, in our truth, we liberate ourselves from deep shame. We connect with each other in the most authentic and intimate ways. By asking our grief what it wants to talk about, by giving it the microphone and asking how it wants to be moved, we will be led through the most beautiful process of receiving ourselves in all our wholeness, of realizing the beauty in our most ‘unacceptable’ parts. Obviously, no one wants to get stuck in their grief, and I think it’s important to honor the legitimate fear of getting stuck in that colossal darkness. It’s scary. To truly ‘go there’ is to face this fear. I recommend having help. A community, a Loved one, and probably a professional. It is important to be witnessed and to be reminded that on the other side, there is Light. It seems counter-intuitive, but falling into our sadness is the way back to our sovereign bliss. The only way out is through. Loss is loss. We don’t get what we want in loss. There’s no turning the boat around. Sometimes, that feels impossible to accept. But, we must remember that we can still live. It’s painful to lean into that. I urge you, lean into it. Write about it. Scream about it. Punch a hole in the wall. Watch children fight. Learn from the ways they explode in chaos and then get over it. Resisting is restricting flow. Resisting flow is inviting illness. We can allow our grief to make us sick. This is an option. It’s actually one that I chose for a time being. I was punishing myself, which is sadly a common reaction to loss. The beautiful and terrible thing about loss is that we have this choice. We can sit on it until we’re ready, we can let it make us sick, we can deny that it exists, or we can surrender to it. Loss is an opportunity for profound healing and eventually, liberation. I invite you to be liberated.