Funeral and Life Memorial Celebrant
A Caring Presence for you and your family so you can Celebrate a Life
Servicing Greater Adelaide, Fleurieu, South Coast and Adelaide Hills Regions of South Australia
This could be what death looks like
The ‘Hole’ of Grief #3
Death, not for the one who has gone, but for those of us who remain.
Over the last couple of blogs, I have been delving into grief as it interacts with our innermost being. In my first post in the series ‘A new year…….gulp’ , I proposed, given we were at the start of a year, whether it was an opportunity to embrace ‘the hole’ of grief, and explore all it has for you. In the second post in this series, ‘Looking into the grief hole’ I proposed in the hole, along with elements of dark, were also elements of light.
With this post I am going to delve into the dark places of the grief ‘hole’ in a little more detail. Before I go on, I know we are all individuals and grieve in different ways. But it is accepted now, there will be grief when there is a loss. It is a natural part of our shared human experience. To this end, it is critical to well-being to explore grief, which I have likened to a ‘hole.’ Ask anyone who has experienced grief of any kind, and most would say, it is an unpleasant and overwhelming experience, certainly with elements of darkness.
Why would we want to go there?
It is also a human experience to want to know all of the details before we take a step. For those who are experiencing grief for the first time, or even a few times, we do not want to take a step into the hole; as we think we may not come out again. In other words it is scary, petrifying, debilitating.
It is for this reason, to try and portray and give an image of the darkened elements, may be useful for us to take a step into the ‘hole.’ So what might be ‘down’ or ‘in’ there? Maybe take a moment to consider what may be there for you, and then read on.
As we consider the loss, let’s say the death of a partner, it will not take long for the emotions of sadness and devastation to surface. First of all they are physically not there, there is no smile, no familiar face, and no one to eat with. There is no one to share experiences with. And if you are a grandparent, no one to share the joy of grandchildren with. There is no one to talk to, to do life with. The home becomes lonely.
Then there is the loss of intimacy. No one to hug you, no one to comfort you, no one to hold your hand. The bed that was once filled with passion and beautiful moments is now lonely, and maybe even a place you may not wish to go. A lonely bed just seems to make it feel worse.
Then there is the ‘outside world.’ Lifelong friends may not know how to relate to you; in fact you may become estranged. On the surface you will hear the “we will be here for you” stuff, but informally and organically there is really know one.
Your lifelong partner, and love of your life has DIED! “How dare they leave me alone!” There will be anger, frustration, disappointment, overwhelmingness, loneliness and confusion. There will be days when you feel you are doing OK, only to have these followed with days, not OK.
All of this stuff, and for your there will be other stuff as well, is there waiting for you. It is not something you can put off, not have to face, but something, for grief to be effective, to confront and even embrace. But maybe knowing a little beforehand about what is ‘down’ or ‘in’ there will enable you to take a step. Once you do, keep going and don’t look back. See is as an adventure!
After all there is a real and valid reason why you are in this situation. YOU HAVE LOVED! LOVED!! What a wonderful force love is; it is something we have no control over, well not really anyway. Not when it is freely and wholeheartedly given. Is love something you can turn off, even after death has separated? Well in my humble view, it is not. The relationship will continue, in other ways. So when you consider this, and the empowerment you have experienced, maybe going into the darkness is a compelling journey to take. Feel free to read a previous blog about this.
The picture above was taken in a Chaplaincy stint I was privileged to be involved with in Kangaroo Island, after the 2020 bushfires, that wiped around half of the Island out. This scene was the standard view, pretty well the whole time I was there. On the face of it, the scene is pretty dark; these images go on for as far as the eye can see. There was no noise, no animals, birds or insects; just silence. But as I looked further, I started to appreciate how beautiful the scene was. Eeerily beautiful. It is compelling, and always something I will remember, not in a dark way, but in a positive way. These trees will come back and life will return.
Maybe the same can be said for the dark side of the grief ‘hole.’ Because in amongst the dark there are precious memories, that if you had your time again, would not hesitate to embrace. Hard to conceive, there is light, in the grief ‘hole’ and this will be something I will look at in the next post in this series.
This commentary in this blog is intended to be general in nature. It is just some observations from one fellow traveller in life to another. If anything in this blog raises issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or consult with a trusted medical professional.
Photo courtesy of the Hayley Family Vault.