“The best way out is through.” – Robert Frost
Grief is a process.
I can’t just say,”Its done”…
It must travel its due course.
In this journey, I honor my pain,
my need for solitude,
my aching heart.
And, when the time is right,
I will emerge
from this place of loss
ready to love again.
As I meander this winding road of grief in the loss of Bo, my dear Golden, many thoughts and feelings join me on the path. I believe it’s perhaps natural to wonder if you are ‘staying there too long’ but in truth, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. I’m reminded of another time of sorrow, this one after my divorce from a man whom I loved dearly, but after many years together, the time had come for us to part ways. Shortly thereafter, when seeing me crying, someone I thought cared for me asked me quite matter-of-factly, “Aren’t’ you over that yet?” Not only did those words cut like a knife, it aroused both anger and guilt inside of me. (“Maybe should I be ‘done’ with this,” I thought…)
But now I know better. Not only is everyone’s journey with grief totally unique and personal, there is no ‘correct’ way to experience it. Even years after going through a loss, something can trigger that memory and pain, calling up a wave of heartache.
Sometimes guilt does become a part of the journey as well. We may find ourselves comparing our circumstances to those who are in ‘far worse states’ – perhaps having survived unthinkable catastrophes – and this triggers a sense of self-reproach. But again, the experience of grief cannot and should not be compared.
We must feel what we are feeling. Know also that it is not a weakness, but a strength to ask for help – whether from a friend, from Mother/Father God, the benevolence of the Tao, angels and spirit guides – from whomever you feel will understand and offer compassionate presence.
Another aspect that might keep us feeling stuck on some level is the perhaps unconscious presumption that letting go of the pain also means letting go of the bond. “If I stop hurting, my connection will be severed.” But trusting in the belief that NOTHING can separate us from a gift of a love shared, regardless of dimension, can indeed be a balm to the heart.
“Love has come to rule and transform; Stay awake my heart, stay awake.” – Rumi
So yes, feel gratitude for all of the wonder and gifts that grace our lives every single day. But don’t allow guilt or ‘wondering if you are doing it right’ to stop you from fully experiencing what you must experience. Know that this pain is indeed enlarging the chamber of your heart to allow just that much more joy and love in.
I will end here with a quote from the timeless spiritual teacher, Eileen Caddy.
“Call upon me and I will answer you. I will be with you in trouble. I will uplift you and set your feet upon the right path and will guide your every step. I am with you always.”
– Eileen Caddy/ Opening Doors Within