Grief... (Guilt, Regret, Ignorance, Envy, Forgiveness)

September 8, 2018

It is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have.

~Cheryl Strayed 

Grief...  (Guilt, Regret, Ignorance, Envy, Forgiveness)

Since the loss of my mother I have been taken by grief. Captured as if a monster once lurking, returned. Grief pulls me under angrily and I wonder if it had ever left my side. All this loss in one lifetime, how can grief depart? Life is once again different as grief, the tsunami, rearranges life just when I thought I found my footing. As each letter of the word represents the stages I vacillate within, grief comes calling.

G represents the guilt that surfaces with any loss. Guilt that bubbles up repeatedly in the what ifs. Did I do enough, say enough, and even learn enough about them.  

Guilt questions our every action. Why didn’t I ask more? And as I type these thoughts I still wonder, why don’t we? Then the guilt of going through their things arrives. Do you keep everything or let it go? Some days I am drowning in guilt. 

R is easy, regret. After death there is always room for regret. Shuffling in like it owns your thoughts. Thoughts that spill recklessly into the room: the date you did not make, each thing you promised yourself you would do but instead pushed to another time. Those words that you spoke in anger, or frustration, yes even the ones that needed to be said resurface again and again. Sure, you’ll try and stuff them down, but like holding a ball under water, it returns with force.

I represents ignorance. The ignorance on how to feel compounded with the ignorance in how others act. Comments that stab at your heart, well intended for the most part, but words that will catch like a broken record, scratching across each memory until resentment is all you see. How blind we are when navigating the tightrope of grief, unaware of a pain so exposed till it consumes us.  

The E in grief is Envy, another emotion I constantly unpack. How does one lose so much? How does family and friends still have what I have gone without? Envy consumes me with the unfairness of life. The way death feels random, yet appears over and over. Envy is a difficult one to smile through, to work through and discover joy within when you have lost so much. 

F is for forgiveness. Forgiveness for yourself, you need it, and cannot survive until you let it in. And even though survival is not a thought for a long time, it is the only way we can endure such heartbreak.  Forgiveness is not for the misspoken. It is instead, a gift for you to release the guilt you harbor. Forgiveness is Gods grace wrapping softly around you. All these emotions you are rumbling through are necessary. But when you arrive at forgiveness it is yours to savor.

And as grief does as it is supposed to do, ushering us through the murky emotions, unraveling our thoughts, and organizing each season of life, we eventually reconcile our anguish.

Nobody understands the depth of loss, even while standing amongst it. I don't know what it is like to have them in my life. To do things differently or witness their journey, instead I only get to imagine it and that is the hardest part of all.


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  • August 13, 2020 @ 2:09 AM EDT
    By Robyn Thornton
    For me these beautiful words give some colour to my grief. Thank You
  • September 8, 2018 @ 8:13 PM EDT
    By Aunt Carol
    You have me crying again. Beautiful description of grief.

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