Unfortunately, just as we find ourselves almost ‘down river’ and through ‘it’, we find that a loved one’s raft has been placed into the start of what I call the river of Grief. And there’s nothing any of us can do for we can’t do take the trip for them, we can only stand on the sidelines and watch (maybe coach).
And, even though we can remember every turn, every ripple from our voyage, those turns and ripples will have transformed for their next voyager. There’s no way to truly warn them of what to expect or how this voyage will be because we don’t know exactly how they feel or will feel about what has happened; each passage is different. One thing’s for certain, it’s not always rip roaring rapids, there are some calm pools. Another certainty is that grief is a funny thing and like its metaphoric river, it can cause us to see and say, and do, some of the craziest of things.
I’ve been grieving over the loss of a ‘dream’ (my divorce), a process where I’m finally seeing the calming waters and the ‘other side’ of my journey. I just found out that a dear friend of mine’s daughter has now been launched into this grief process after her husband of 10 years passed away just recently. I can’t begin to imagine what she must be going through. However, I do know all to well this river. It’s winding landscape to follow, it’s raging rapids; so uncontrollably frightening and it’s calming pools where it has taken you for reflection. I can imagine it, but still don’t know it… Not exactly.
As we each embark on our journeys through Grief, and although the journeys seem almost identical; they are very different, because we each experience loss so differently. Take our river, some might enjoy the rapids for the sheer exhilaration, others will wish for the rapids if for no other reason than to propel through the calmer waters, spending less time on reflection (“why must we drag this out?”, might be their thoughts). While others might prefer to ride the whole thing, taking in each moment; living it; recognizing it and moving on.
Many wish to go back (the ‘what ifs’) and fight it all the way and not go through this process at all. But we can never avoid it. We have to ride it out to get to where we need to be. It truly is the only way to calm the soul and move forward.
I won’t insult anyone’s intelligence by saying it’s the only way to ‘closure’; but for this girl, getting through this process has opened up doors I had shut and truly forgot were ever open. It truly does free up the mind. But this is the clincher; you have to allow yourself to ‘GO THROUGH IT’ and get out the other side.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), I’ve been through this process enough to know you never get use to it and there is always something about yourself that is in need of enlightening. Whether it’s about you, or your relationship with the deceased, there is always something to be learned and something to do about it.
I feel for my friend and her daughter and know that this won’t be easy (it’s not supposed to be), and I do know that, if she’ll allow it, it can be a wonderful time for discovery. A time for her to discover new strengths in herself that she never thought she had. Could also be a wonderful time for her to discover some things about her mother and father, her siblings (good or bad). At any rate, this is a precarious time in her life. It’s one where there are no rules and she is going to have to go about this literally one step at a time.
I wish her love and hope in this time of strife. I hope that she can do what I’m doing and that’s take a step back and rediscover herself and find her best friend… her!