Sunday, February 20, 2011

Does it ever go away? No... it changes though.

it is rare to see grief accurately described. Rabbit Hole was excellent. Simply, beautifully done. Highly recommend.
To my human mind, it seems like some tramatic event such as losing a son, a mother, or a friend should on some level resemble riding a bike. I learned how to ride a bike because someone taught me how. He learned how because someone taught him. And once he had mastered it, many years later, Andres was at the right place at the right time and when I was ready to learn how to ride a bike, he taught me. He knew how, he had fallen and struggled with it at first I'm sure, but then, he knew how and could teach me. This is how I felt about loss for a long time. When Mom had cancer, I kept thinking, "If I could just talk to some other 18 year old out there who's mother has cancer." Or, "If there was just someone else who could relate to me" we could talk and I could experience some form of resolve.
Three years later, I remember sitting in a room in Cozumel with fifteen high school students who had just lost a dear friend to a car accident. One girl looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "Didn't you have a best friend die? Can't you give me some advice?" And the answer for so long involved this bitterness of platitudes that just meant, 'no' without actually completely giving disappointment. But the answer is more like what she says to Nicole Kidman. The answer is not some teachable formula, as frustrating as that is. It never goes away. It is never "okay" like people use to tell me it would be but it does become bearable. A stranger told me less than a month after, that if I stopped waking up thinking those feelings would just be gone, then I would wake up someday and realized I had learned to manage. It simply, becomes your life. The loss becomes you...which is fine, actually. 
“Life isn’t defined by who you belong to or where you came from, by what you wished for or whom you’ve lost, but instead by the moments you spend getting from each of these places to the next.” –Jodi Picoult, Vanishing Acts

... the depth of the feeling [grief, loss] continued to surprise and threaten me, but each time it hit again and I bore it, like a nicotine craving, I would discover that it hadn’t washed me away. after a while it was like an inside shower, washing off some of the rust and calcification in my pipes. it was like giving a dry garden a good watering. don't get me wrong: grief sucks; it really does. unfortunately, though, avoiding it robs us of life, of the now, of a sense of living spirit...a fixation can keep you nicely defined and give you the illusion that your life has not fallen apart. but since your life may indeed have fallen apart, the illusion won't hold up forever, and if you are lucky and brave, you will be willing to bear disillusion. you begin to cry and write and yell and then to keep on crying; and then, finally, grief ends up giving you the two best things: softness and illumination. -Anne Lamott

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