Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Grief Is...

More than just a constellation of feelings in
response to a loss.

Grief does not fade with the passage of time. We do
not realize our losses in an instant; we realize them
over years. We do not get over it, but instead go
through it, not just once, but as many times as we do.
Through grief we honor our losses and weave them into
tapestries of our lives so we can stay connected with
all we have loved and still continue to live on at the
same time. We do not honor the dead with funerals
alone; we honor them with our lives. Like love, grief
is timeless. Like love, you cannot predict exactly how
and when grief will manifest.

Grief changes form and eludes definition.

Grief is physical.

Grief sits on your chest, punches you in the gut,
squeezes your throat, winds everything up
breaking-point tight, and sucks the energy out of you.

Grief is holding your breath, or breathing fast and
shallow like a scared rabbit.

Grief is lazy and lethargic.

Grief is exhaustion that cannot sleep, hunger that
cannot eat, and tears that will not dry.

Grief makes you feel weak, hollow, and threadbare.

Grief is clenching your teeth until you have a
headache that will not go away.

Grief is feeling rundown and getting sick over and
over again.

Grief is feeling so lousy all the time that you cannot
tell whether you are sick or depressed.

Grief is a field of fog and distance where we wander
lost and aimless.

Grief is unexpected composure, lucidness, and
productivity that seem out of place.

Grief is rejecting the notion that someone is dead.

Grief is a calm sullen silence, a vacuum into which we

Grief is forgetting and then remembering again that
someone is really dead.

Grief is not being able to think about anything else.

Grief is dreaming about your loved one.

Grief is feeling their presence, seeing their face,
hearing their voice-even though they are dead-or being
frustrated because we cannot.

Grief is a protest, a temper tantrum, a refusal to
give up without a fight over something that is already

Grief is an intense negotiation over events that have
already happened, a barrage of what-if's and

Grief is a hope turned backwards in time.

Grief is yelling at the beautiful sunrise because it
means time is abandoning your loved one.

Grief is a plea to undo what cannot be undone.

Grief is rejected offerings and ungranted prayers.

Grief is retracing the steps that led our loved one
from this world.

Grief is wanting to bear witness to and comfort the
pain and suffering they experienced.

Grief is feeling guilty because we did not stop death,
could not revert death, and cannot change death.

Grief is an accountability session.

Grief is damage control.

Grief is knowing we do not deserve to be alive any
more than our loved one deserves to be dead. Grief is
wondering why fate chose them and not us.

Grief is feeling guilty for moving on, guilty for
living, and guilty for enjoying life without them. Is
it irreverent to savor the foods they are no longer
here to enjoy? Is it disrespectful to have a good
belly laugh while mourning?

Grief is a sigh-a reluctant surrender to powers
greater than ours.

Grief is a radical depletion of will and inspiration.

Grief is throwing your hands up into the air and
collapsing onto the floor into despair.

Grief is unabashedly wailing and drowning in your own
snot and tears.

Grief is an inventory of what has been lost.

Grief is a dim spotlight that illuminates the void
where a life once was.

Grief is a fear that life is all there is and it is
not enough.

Grief is fear of living with the loss and losing more.
Grief clings to what we love as if every good-bye is
the last. The imagination has a field day turning
every early morning or late night phone call into a
death notice and every rush-hour delay into a fatal

Grief is examining every relationship, turning it
upside down, considering its loss, and mourning it,
before we venture to engage more deeply.

Grief is choosing to endure loneliness and despair
over facing the fear of further loss.

Grief is coming to terms with the fact that we will
all die someday whether we share life or experience it

Grief is the identity crisis that ensues when we lose
those who help define who we are, how we live, and how
we relate to one another. And now that they are gone,
are we still the person they helped define? How do we
live? How do we relate? Certainly not the same. How
can I be a best friend if my best friend is dead? How
can I be a big sister if my little brother is dead?
How can I be a mother if I have no children left? How
can I be a son after my father dies? What am I to be
instead? Grief is an influx of freedom to re-create
the self as old expectations of who we once were fade.

Grief is sometimes a vow to fulfill wishes of the

Grief is panning through memories over and over
searching for jewels.

Grief is believing every pebble is a gem. Grief is

Grief is saying thank you.

Grief is admitting that there was no gold in the pan.

Grief is a confession of regrets.

Grief is saying you are forgiven or forgive me.

Grief is saying God forgive you because I can't.

Grief is saying screw you for leaving me.

Grief is turning ordinary objects-a hairbrush, a note,
a pin- into Sacred vestiges.

Grief is a moment frozen in time-a dead child's
bedroom that will never be cleaned, a shirt that will
never be washed, or a message on the answering machine
that will never be erased.

Grief is talking about your loved one again and again
and choosing to ignore those that roll their eyes.

Grief is avoiding the reminders and trying to forget.

Grief is clinging to the reminders and trying to
remember more.

Grief is recalling special moments and crying.

Grief is being able to remember the special moments
and smile instead of crying.

Grief is having a friend of your loved one pay a visit
and realizing after they leave that there was more to
your loved one than you ever knew.

Grief is being inspired to carry out the acts of
beauty and kindness that your loved one is no longer
here to deliver.

Grief is buying lunch for the homeless man you
normally ignore and sitting with him to eat because
you know it is something your loved one would have

Grief is understanding your loved one more by being
more like them.

Grief is understanding that you can still get to know
someone even after they are dead.

Grief is wondering where your loved one really is and
if they can see you, hear you, or read your mind.
Grief is waving or calling to them just in case.

Grief is forging signs and symbols to replace the
words you can no longer share.

Grief is knowing the rainbow that should now
scientifically exist on a Cloudy day is a message to
you saying "I exist."

Grief is hearing that special song on the radio and
knowing your loved one is with you.

Grief is sitting in bed crying in the middle of the
night saying God I miss you. Please, if you are there,
give me a sign and hearing a bird sing a happy tune in
the darkness and knowing that song was your answer.

Grief is discovering pieces of what was lost in places
you do not expect.

Grief is looking at the sunset and knowing it is extra
beautiful because your loved one is a part of it and a
part of Creation than the scope of your contemplation.

Grief is grasping opportunities to connect, to share,
and to care that you might have otherwise left for
tomorrow because you are ever mindful now that there
may be no tomorrow.

Grief is being able to distinguish better what is
really important and meaningful after all is said and
done and choosing to do more of it.

Grief is the yearning, the reaching, and the
unrequited love that hides behind our losses.

Grief is a tribute to the depth of your love.

...Author Unknown


Blogger Peggy Wilkins said...

I am so overwhelmed. This is such a prowerful expression of grief and it is so vslidating at the same time.
Love you so much

6:53 PM  
Blogger Peggy Wilkins said...

That should be "validating" :-)

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Katie Leyden said...

i love you pat. i wish i could be there for you, with you. i am here to lend an ear, a prayer, a long distance hug. peace, Katie

3:34 PM  

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