On Bouts of Grief

Coping with the loss of a loved one, a close friend, or even a love relationship may be one of the darkest moments many of us are going through today. We feel helpless.

And it's okay.

We will all grieve, each in our own unique way. Grief spares no one.

I've dealt with grief and that haunting sense of emptiness that comes with it for the last two years. It has been more than just a "feeling". It permeated everything I did…my thoughts…my dreams. It was paralyzing. I was always beside myself with sadness, I couldn't function.

For though I've known the strongest emotions, still, nothing prepared me for grief and its heart-wrenching pain. I was inconsolable and refused to be comforted. Instead, I took refuge in my own tears. I moaned and wept through many sleepless nights. And for the first time in my life, I felt terribly alone. And cold. Dead cold.

Everything had been too painful and daunting. I battled bouts of grief…and sorrow…and rage…and a nagging certainty that I will never see her again whenever I came home. On the outside, I managed to appear like I had it all together…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. And it is tearing me apart. Completely.

Those bouts of grief were so persistent they numbed my senses. I couldn't see 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.”
Grieving, I found, is very personal. One can share one's joys and triumphs with anyone. Not so with grief. It eats you from the inside. It feels so much like being swallowed into an unfathomable pit—a "darkness" one must endure alone.

Grief gnaws at your soul incessantly, especially at night, but at the same time it forces you to realize the temporariness of everything—including your own life. Especially your own life. And because everything is temporary, whatever we do with our time matters.

Looking back now, my personal experience of grief and loss has taught me to take stock of everything I have still left. I have come to see the real value of it all. Of life. Of my own life.

We will all have a time of grief. It's part of the deal of being human. What will make or break us is not how much we have to suffer, but how well we endure through it all.

Even the darkest storms clear away in due time. So with grief.

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