Last night was band practice, the typical busyness of a Thursday night. After the gang had gone home, the girls were in bed and the dust had cleared, I had a good chance to sit and talk with Goaliemom, who has been staying with us since Monday and has the audacity to go and leave us today. The talk was of many things but ended up 'in Rome', as we call it. We talked about life and loss and grief and had two interesting observations.
One: that in the cultures and times in which grief is expressed very vocally and obviously (think of wailing, wearing black, etc), there is a certain health which goes beyond our 21st-century North American 'get over it' mentality. Someone who pushes down the grief and puts on a good front is "being so strong" or being healthy and "having closure". But at what price? Yes, we do work through things and in some ways we find a new normal, since there is no getting back to the normal we had before. But sometimes it just isn't tidy and it certainly doesn't happen in as short a time as people seem to think. Sometimes you walk through the woods and end up right back in a place you thought you had left long ago - it's like that with loss. You think you may have dealt with something, and then - wham - you get smacked with it again. All roads lead to Rome.
Two: that sometimes to grieve and work through things, we need to be alone. So often we worry that people who have lost someone shouldn't be alone. And while there is a time for support and being there for someone, there is a process through which we can only go in solitude. There is a nakedness of the soul that only comes when one is alone, and that nakedness is where we can truly, in a real and raw way, work through things. Yell at God. Cry. Ask questions that have no answers, but still demand to be asked. Then ask them again.
Thanks for the talk, GM.