I guess this is going to be a not-so wordless Wednesday.
A couple of days ago I thrust something deep into my nail bed, ripping the skin from the nail. It was only a few millimeters deep but it was surprisingly painful. For the next few days, every time I applied pressure to my thumb, sharp pain shot through my finger and up my hand. Still, I found myself pressing on it a lot, causing the spot to ache and throb, willing the physical pain to offer some sweet relief from the emotional turmoil.
It reminded me of when I was little and thought each “owie” only contained a set amount of pain. My thinking was that if I made it hurt more, it would hurt for less time, because I was getting rid of the pain faster. For the longest time I would press on my cuts and bruises, trying to tire out my nerve endings, assuming they would eventually surrender and provide me the relief I so desperately craved.
Of course it didn’t work and eventually I learned that “owies” just weren’t made that way. They faded on their own time and causing them to hurt more in the moment would do nothing to speed up the natural healing process.
I guess grief is the same way, no amount of body-wracking sobs will make the pain go away any quicker, although we may feel lighter on the other side – just like the gentle throbbing of my thumb felt like a relief after the sharp spasms of pain subsided – in the end we just have to wait it out and hope we’re still whole when it’s over.
Except grief never goes away. Not really. Grief is like chronic pain, it’s with you always. You eventually learn to live with it, learn to avoid the triggers and work around the tender spots, but it’s always there, the background. It’s always with you.
I wish there were something we could do to help those we love navigate their grief. I wish we could ease their suffering, even just a little. But we can’t. Grief isn’t made that way. Suffering can’t be shared.
Thank you all for your caring and thoughtful words on my post. Knowing that I’m not the only one who feels this loss, or any loss, so intensely brings clarity to my concerns. I’m sure now that my grief is appropriate, that all of our grief is appropriate – that it shows how much we all mean to each other, how tightly knit this community is.
You are all, each and every one of you, in my thoughts and in my heart today and always.
And now, I share something magical I saw the other day. I wish we all could live in a fairytale land like this one, where everybody lives happily ever after.
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