The Unbearable Heaviness of Grief

March 18, 2006

Grief slinks along in the shadows, waiting for you to drop your guard before grabing you, dragging you back into the darkness you were trying to leave. Grief hates the light, and hates you for being able to survive in the light. Grief is a demon that only knows darkness, despair, pain, and suffering. This demon exists between you and the world of light you lived in before, and the only way back to that world is by crossing through grief's territory.

Because our world of light is filled with shadows and dark places, grief can sneak up on you unexpectedly and suddenly. In a moment you come crashing down from the heights of normalcy into the muck and mire where grief lives. Wrestling with grief doesn't work, you both get covered in the slimy emotions of guilt and despair, and grief likes it. Instead you must embrace grief, accepting it with understanding and concern. For only through love of yourself can you wash yourself clean of the slimy tentacles darkness uses to drag you under.

You must accept that life goes on, and that you are caught up in the current of life, unable to remain in the spot where you last existed before grief plunged you away from the light. Instead you must ride the torrent down into darkness, husbanding your strength so that when the cold undertoad lets go you can rise back towards the light of normal life. You must be wary of the false roads towards light that grief uses to trick you into even deeper pits of darkness. Anger at nothing only begets more anger. Anger expressed appropriately, that constructively moves you towards understanding and acceptance is good; unfocused rage is evil.

Grief lives with me now, dogging my every step, chasing away memories of a time without despair, and ridiculing thoughts of being happy again, It would be so easy to allow the voice of grief to override my own true voice, to allow grief the demon to consume me forever. Tenacity alone prevents me from letting go and falling forever into emptiness. I will not go quietly into the endless night of grief, instead I will pass though a nighttime of grief, believing in the dawn of happy life that awaits me.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.