Unbottled Up: Experiencing Grief

Numbing out emotional pain is futile. Because such pain is an inevitable part of human life, almost necessary. It's what sets us apart.

And like many of us, we may try to mask it, push it aside, or even try to extinguish it. Because it's paralyzing. It makes one vulnerable.

I know. Because I'm just starting to heal. I've been on a hiatus, yet I'm jaded. Days just dragged into months as I survived life in utter hopelessness, and helplessness. The emotional turmoil took its toll on me, and emptied me within. I was lost. The gnawing emptiness inside proved to be such an inescapable pit.

Being an introvert, I tend to bottle up difficult emotions, stifling them within. I'd rather keep the peace but if it becomes unbearable, I explode. The thing about numbing out emotional pain is that it will only drag you further into a dark, endless pit of emptiness … you'd be drowning along but you'll never notice it until you hit rock bottom. By then you won't even feel it anymore.

Of the most painful emotions, I now know grief and anger to be too easily interchanging—you’ll never notice which could be eating you up at one time or another. It’s a futile struggle because there's really nothing you can do but endure all the beatings until you're so numbed you won't feel anything anymore. Even death-like physical pain is much more tolerable than grief.

One simply cannot numb out grief. Even now I can still feel it burning in every fiber of my being. Grief, like a speeding maniac, crushes everything it runs into. Everything. It crushed my sense of hope…of passion…of meaning…of purpose.

Life left me instantly the day my mother passed away. I lost my home. Her presence glued together the fragments of my adult life into one of purpose and meaning. She was full of life herself. So I couldn't help feeling angry about losing her and couldn't be reasoned otherwise. I was angry at the unfairness of her death…and pained at the thought that my family—my brothers, my father—have too easily gone on with their lives while I dragged on each day groping in the dark. Over and over, I've prayed and begged desperately for the hurting to stop…

In his book, A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis vividly articulates his own experience of grief:
“For in grief nothing "stays put." One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?

But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?

How often —will it be for always?— how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, "I never realized my loss till this moment"? The same leg is cut off time after time.”
Bottled up grief suffocates one's soul. It is self destructive. Still, I leave it be and quietly endure.
“Quietly endure, silently suffer and patiently wait.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

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