Dynamic Woman — Changing Times
A Grief That Has No Words
In times of grief, no words adequately describe the event that has caused our pain and how we are changed by what has occurred. “I have no words,” we say to each other. Then we struggle to find the right words that will help us make sense of the insensible.
Insensible is a good word to start with. On July 4th, our daughter-in-law set herself free from the pain of depression by taking her life. The violence of her unexpected departure rendered her family, friends, and community incapable of perceiving the reality of what she did.
At her memorial service, attended by close to 500 people, friends expressed shock and surprise that someone as loving and giving and seemingly full of joy as she was would do this. What I have heard is that those who suffer from depression may know they are loved, but they can’t feel it.They live with an unbearable emptiness inside that few are willing or able to articulate.
During her service, a theme emerged that Pastor Andy Lewis was able to lay before us: Beauty and Brokenness. In acknowledging what was beautiful about our beloved Victoria, we do not want to gloss over what was broken. It is a brokenness we all share in some form or other.
Every morning my husband and I wake up and check in with each other about how we are feeling. This morning’s conversation started like this:
Me: “I feel like I have broken apart and been put back together, but not everything is in right place.”
He: “Yeah, I feel like parts of me are missing. They are scattered all over the floor.”
Part of the grieving process is to slow down. If you are grieving, allow the adrenalin that has sustained you through the initial days of dealing with the aftermath to dissipate. We notice that we are operating at half-speed (sort of like our internet service on an Energy Alert day). Thoughts don’t come as easily; we search for words; our responses are slower; we drop things.
It seems to me that painful moments give a structure and rhythm to life, like fingers moving across the cruciform beads on the Anglican rosary. (The Anglican rosary was created by a contemplative prayer group in the 1980s) “Have mercy, have mercy,” we cry out or murmur. We are not to seek these moments, but they will come to us. In between the intensity of painful times, the weeks give us interludes of peace and joy. For those, we must look, enjoy, and be grateful.
Be gentle with yourselves, my grieving friends. Allow the Prince of Peace to comfort you and make you whole.
© Sydney Avey