Your New Super Power — Grief

There is a wonderful series of meditations on grief in the Calm app on my phone. The series is written and narrated by Dr. Jane Caccitore, PhD. Sometimes I swear that what I listen to was written especially for me. Today was one of those days. The title of the session was what you see above as the title for this post. Here is, word for word, what it said.

“The very meaningful work of grieving is a fluxuation between vulnerability and strength; destruction and creation. Some days we may feel closer to our new, stronger self. Some days we might wake up in the rubble of all that remains of our bruised hearts and lives. We will face barriers, self-doubt, and questioning. Through it all, I hope you will remember one thing: Feeling grief is a super power that drives your resilience, even if it’s reluctantly. As the writer, Wendell Barry said, ‘The seed is in the ground. Now we wait.’ The seed gives way to the sprout that one day becomes the mighty tree. With sunshine, water, good soil, care, patience, and yes, darkness. Indeed, the darkness has its beauty. A beauty we can find only when we push beyond the fear. As San Juan De la Cruz said; ‘It is in the darkness that we will find ourselves.’ May we be both gentle and fierce through this walk.”

Well, today I woke up and found myself in the darkness. Standing in the rubble. While I didn’t cry, I did feel a huge sense of loss and sadness. Just when I thought I might have turned a corner, I felt as if parts of me were still “actively dying,” to use a clinical phrase for the state when a person is in the final stages of the dying process. It’s true that a part of me died with my husband, and after that, the part of me that was left was not at all the person that I was just seconds before he died. Loving someone is so very complicated. It is made up of many layers, tightly interwoven into the fabric of life. Just as you cannot easily separate two pieces of fabric that are sewn tightly together, neither can you easily dismantle the layers of love that still exist in your life after your spouse dies. How we unravel and take apart this tapestry of love and life is unique to each of us, both in its method and its duration. It takes patience, self-care, understanding, and the willingness to give yourself grace. So, today, when I awoke standing smack in the middle of the rubble of my life, I knew that it would be a day where I needed to summon up my super power — my grief. For, as oxymoronic as it may seem, walking with your grief and dealing with what comes your way, is the only way you will learn to live with it. I am reminded of “Every Last One,” the wonderful book by Anna Quindlin, where she says:

“How are you holding up?” my mother asked the other day, when she called to tell me about their Thanksgiving plans. “I’m trying,” I replied. “That’s good,” she said. “That’s all anyone can ask.” I am. Every day, I am trying . It’s all I know how to do now. This is my life. I am trying.

And, I too, am trying, I remind myself. Even when I wake up in the rubble, I am still trying.

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