Friday, April 20, 2018

Grief, a journey misunderstood, walked with few comforters

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

Someone said to me recently that grief was a journey impossible to understand unless you’ve walked it. Such a wise observation deserves some expounding.
I had no idea there was such a thing as suffering until I was hit by the plank of grief in 2003. It challenged and transformed my worldview. It was a reality that held me in a constant state of shock for months; an aloneness that thrust me into sole dependence on God (thank God!). Very few people truly knew the depths I fell to. But there were many who knew my life circumstances.
I had few comforters, but those I had were all I needed. Not that others’ misunderstanding didn’t frustrate me. But grief taught me…
We cannot expect many to understand the abyss that grief is.
Yet this is such a paralyzingly sorrowful truth for those suffering.
They cannot understand if they’ve not been there. And that is no proud, exclusionary statement — we would give anything for them to understand us, for it is at such times that empathy is the life saver the grieving person craves for, even if there is no answer for our cataclysmic lament.
Empathy truly is a currency for loss…
Empathy is like fine gold.
What we, the grieving, would give for the comfort of speaking
our sorrow to an ardent listener.
How do we love the person who is grieving?
We listen in a way that sees them accepted
in everything they say.
It is a great comfort for someone grieving for the listener to say, ‘I don’t have a clue what you’re experiencing or facing, but I am interested in staying here with you, being with you in simple ways, and truly it is no burden, but a privilege to be here with you and for you (for however long we can).’
Even though grief is a walk where so many we encounter, those we’ve known beforehand, have no clue and express no heartfelt empathy, there are those we encounter who are godsends. The former are those who we expected to help us, and perhaps our expectations were part of our ruin. The latter, however, are those we perhaps knew slightly beforehand, but are now powerhouses of empathy when we need it and have even become intimate friends. The latter are those also who came into our lives, like ancient Esther, for such a time as this.
It is of little comfort to those pilgrims on the lonely trek of loss to reconcile that few will understand. The good thing, however, is those who have grieved understand this loneliness in a profound way. These are sweet and pleasant comforters, kind to the enth degree.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.