Sunday, February 17, 2013

Grief Is a Tidal Wave

Stephanie Ericson has written her thoughts on grief that I would like to share with you. Her metaphoric description of the word grief in the first sentence is a perfect description for me and I’m sure many of you of just how you feel when losing a child. The continuing sentences emphasize different aspects of grief and what may become of us because of it. I have used some of these phrases in many speeches I give each year at National Compassionate Friends conferences in the summer months because I am pulled to them simply by the profoundness of the words and their meaning to me and I hope to you.

Grief is a tidal wave that overtakes you, smashes down upon you with unimaginable force, sweeps you up into its darkness, where you tumble and crash against unidentifiable surfaces, only to be thrown out on an unknown beach, bruised, re-shaped, and unwittingly better for the wear.

Grief means not being able to read more than two sentences at a time. It is walking into rooms with intentions that suddenly vanish.

Grief is three-o’clock in the morning sweats that won’t stop. It is dreadful Sundays, and Mondays that are no better. It makes you look for a face in a crowd, knowing full well there is no such face to be found in that crowd.

Grief is utter aloneness that razes the rational mind and makes room for the phantasmagoric. It makes you suddenly get up and leave a meeting in the middle, without saying a word.

Grief makes what others think of you moot. It shears away the masks of normal life and forces brutal honesty out of your mouth before propriety can stop you. It shoves away friends, scares away so-called friends, and rewrites your address book for you.

Grief makes you laugh at people who cry over spilled milk, right to their faces. It tells the world that you are untouchable at the very moment when touch is the only contact that might reach you. It makes lepers out of upstanding citizens.

Grief discriminates against no one, it kills, mains and cripples. It is the ashes from which the Phoenix rises, and the mettle of rebirth. It returns life to the living dead. It teaches that there is nothing absolutely true or untrue. It assures the living that we know nothing for certain. It humbles. It shrouds. It blackens. It enlightens.

Grief will make a new person out of you, if it doesn’t kill you in the making.

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