I’m troubled tonight and I cannot sleep. Recently I’ve attended far too many funerals. There is another one this coming Tuesday. All death, no matter the circumstance, is tragic and feels sudden. I think that when we are awakened by grief and death, we are brought to our knees in smallness.
Tonight I feel helpless at the hand of some unknown fate that awaits us all. I am not in despair, though. I just feel small and vulnerable.
Despair is without hope, and I am not without hope.
I do trust the guiding force of my life. I do have a relationship to the deepest part of my soul, that unreachable Divine connection that is somewhere in the darkness when I close my eyes.
I trust it. I have been in dialogue with that abyss and whatever lies within it for a very long time now. And tonight, I feel very very close to it. Grief and sudden loss suck me right down into that abyss- well to the edge of it anyway (I suppose “into it” would mean I would be the one being grieved).
At first, I called it God and then Jesus and then Universe and then Universal Love and then I didn’t call it anything; and then I returned to God and Christ and Jesus. And now I am truly, honestly at home with all of the names for that unknowable, larger-than-me force. I can call it everything or nothing or only one thing- it doesn’t bend to my will. It just remains steady, constant, trustworthy.
So tonight, all of my losses came to meet me when I went to the edge. My dad, Buddy, the fatalities I witnessed in that wreck on July 4th, my Aunt, grandparents, and more. All of those losses showed me different memories that will help me survive these recent tragedies. They all stood on the other side of my darkness and showed me memories of themselves. Overwhelmed, I got up from the bed, went and sat in the empty bathtub with a brand new roll of toilet paper and wept.
Grief is not isolated or alone, it contains in it all other experiences of grief and confusion and loss and smallness.
Grief feels alone because there is no way for me to express all of my thoughts and experiences in some concise way; in fact, nothing will every fully express what I am feeling or experiencing in my grief. I simply cannot share it all.
Feeling small and helpless is a terrible feeling. I want to wave my hand and heal all of the pain, including my own. I think all I can do, though, is be available when people want to express the wave of thoughts and experiences that come up when they stand at their own abyss of darkness. And ask questions like, do you have hope?, what do you trust?, and who showed up on the other side of the darkness when you went there?
When grief comes for you, what helps?