August 21, 2012

Bouts of Grief: This Too Shall Pass

I've dealt with grief and that haunting sense of emptiness that comes with it for the last two years. For though I've known the strongest of emotions, still nothing prepared me for grief … with its heart-wrenching pain.

I was inconsolable and refused to be comforted. Instead, I took refuge in my own tears. I moaned and wept alone through many sleepless nights …

On the outside, I managed to appear like I had it all together … deep inside I was devastated and crumbling. I realized how deeply my life has been anchored to my mother's—her passing away uprooted all sense of hope within me.

Blinded by grief, I could not find even a ray of hope at such a desolate time in my life. All the sympathies and kind words were but "a shot of morphine" through my soul —it numbed the pain for a while, but it never stopped the hurting.

Describing exactly this same ordeal in his book, A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis wrote:
“I once read the sentence 'I lay awake all night with a toothache, thinking about the toothache and about lying awake.' That's true to life. Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection: the fact that you don't merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.”
Grief is very personal. You can share your joys and triumphs with people you care about and who cares about you … not so with grief. The strong sense of uncertainty, or even your own thoughts is paralyzing, like being swallowed into the deepest pit. It's a "darkness" one must endure alone.

Grief gnaws at your soul incessantly especially at night. It forces you to realize the value of what you've lost and the temporariness of everything you have left—including your own life. For you can neither extend it nor bring it back when it's gone. Looking back, my personal loss has taught me to take stock all that I have right now. And I've decided to value everything I have left like life itself.

We will all have a time of grief. Because it's part of the deal … of being human. What matters is not how much we suffer the pains and misery that befall us, but how well we endure through it all and come out better (and hopefully, more thankful) than we were before. For even the darkest storms clear away in its own time. Grief, too, shall pass.

“There always comes, I think, a sort of peak in suffering at which either you win over your pain or your pain wins over you, according as to whether you can, or cannot, call up that extra ounce of endurance that helps you to break through the circle of yourself and do the hitherto impossible. That extra ounce carries you through 'le dernier quart d' heure.' Psychologist have a name for it, I believe. Christians call it the Grace of God.”  ~Elizabeth Goudge, The Castle on The Hill