Grief has taught me my emotional range, but just as much it has taught me a paradox; whilst words are inadequate, words are necessary, even as we attempt to make meaning of something that is unfathomable.
Recently we had a dinner for a peer group I’m part of. One of our number had shattering news to share. As she shared the story of her relative’s family (gofundme.com page here), there was not much that could be said. Two of the three children, it has been discovered, have very short life expectancies. None of us could even begin to resolve what the parents and broader family are going through or how they will cope. We cry foul when anyone is taken prematurely, but when it comes to the lives of children we cannot reconcile it.
None of the following necessarily applies to this family. These are simply ponderings on the speechlessness of grief that requires expression.
Such situations of grief as these leave us flabbergasted, which is appropriate. What could be said? But there is the need to talk about it; to attempt to bring to the surface discoveries of self seeking meaning from what seems meaningless. And even in the event of dredging up unsatisfactory expressions, the mind is engaged, the heart is stretched, and the soul is open, so long as we don’t judge ourselves or others.
Grief that is expressed in safety, without fear for recrimination, is an anguish seeking discovery, for transformation toward healing. Such expression accepts the brokenness resident in loss and never expects communication to reach any halcyon height. And, in that, healing is possible.
Unspeakable grief that is spoken about, audaciously, without fear, is a grief that can be healed, even as it remains, a foe welcomed.
We must own all our emotions, preferring for them a safe harbour instead of stormy seas, and the only way we can do that is to talk about them, honestly, seriously, yet even occasionally with levity.
Our emotions require integrity with who we centrally are.