Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Breathing

When you grieve, at least at the acute stage- which I have now been told will last me roughly 2 frickin' years- it's not that you're living life and then suddenly memories of your loved one break in and a wave of grief hits you. Rather, it's quite the opposite.

I live and breathe the grief and Dan it seems-and every now and then the life others are living- the life I used to live- breaks in. If I stay at home I can breathe the grief and work on the process of understanding Dan is dead, but when I leave my apartment- if I enter the world, go to the grocery store, take a walk, visit the bank- it is all too much for me. A good friend wrote me recently and put it so well,
"The contrast between you and "others" must seem intolerable right now... no wonder it's difficult to leave your apartment."
This is certainly a part of it.

Another friend sent me this excerpt from the book Grief as a Family Process by Ester R. Shapiro:

Much of what gives our consciousness depth and texture is the often hardly recognized resonance to associations from the past and fantasies about the future. Overwhelming psychological pain, such as the pain of trauma or bereavement, requires the creation of a safe psychic space that will not be disturbed by resonances from the traumatic event. Since so much of our consciousness is organized by the rhythm of our close relationships, the bereaved learn almost immediately that they cannot look anywhere at all, neither outside nor inside themselves, without discovering a connection to the loved one who is now so painfully absent. For a time, it becomes essential not to remain in the ordinary world of the living, where these heartfelt connections to others are as natural as breathing.

Unfortunately, I am finding the last two statements above particularly true. There is absolutely NOTHING that I can think of or look at that doesn't speak "Dan" to me. So it's not that I need to remember "Oh, we saw that movie together," or "Oh, that's a song we loved to hear together," or "Oh, that's the scarf he bought me," and the grief comes. I think that's something else we learn from movies and television. It's not like that at all. The human consciousness is just not that simple. The connections and pathways that take me to you are many and well-worn from time...they travel
and expand
naturally,
like
breathing.

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