The Tentacles of Grief

During these holidays I’ve asked myself many questions, however the one that has tingled at the back of my head the most has been, when does grief really begin?

When we face the loss of someone we have loved deeply and dearly, someone who has been very close to us in life it’s so painful you don’t feel anything at all.  It’s a feeling of numbness, it is a  pain so intense and overwhelming that we go to a place where there is absolutely nothing.  But, the catch and blessing of this loss is that it only happens when our loss is sudden.

On the other hand, when we face cancer its a bit more complicated.  With the passing of each day we lose bits and pieces of our loved one.  Cancer simply takes over who they are and leaves a  brittle voice as the aftermath of everything going on.

Is it worth going through the extermination process they call chemotherapy?  Is it worth holding to a life that with each day becomes less meaningful.  Is it selfish to want to end all the pain and anguish?

Grief even though shared does not lose its sharp edge, when you feel the hollowness of your chest, when any call is a reason to dread news or an unwanted reminder of how things are going.   This is when you learn to grieve over those who are still alive and within us.

Embracing the reality of knowing that simply there is nothing we can do about it.  Knowing that we can’t make it better even if we try our very best to do it.  Feeling powerless in front of whatever is happening to our loved ones.  Wanting the clock to tick backwards so we can make things right.

This is the moment when we tune into our spiritual world and let nature take its course.  Life is a circle and so, never ends.  The only things that change are those who spin around in it, the arrivals and departures and those who are caught in between.  Easier said than believed in because mankind has always entertained the idea of eternity.

We relinquish death and all it entails.

Our grief is the sorrow of the eminent goodbye, is not knowing if we will be departed from each other forever.  That’s what makes accepting death so hard.

Along my road to rediscovering who I am, I really don’t know what’s out there.  I no longer can trust my faith or the grace of a God who governs our world, but lets us suffer.  Who professes unconditional love to humanity, but is bleak in his response to our pain.  Can I still find him?  Honestly I think nobody knows the answers to these questions.

Nature will take its course and we who are still among the living can only watch and learn a lesson or two along the way.  Changing grief into acceptance.  Making it part of who we are and making us better and stronger along the way.   If our grief brings endurance with it we have gained and not lost one bit.  But, please lets leave faith out of the equation!


The Stories that Surround Us

Have you ever wondered in awe how all our lives are intertwined as if we belonged together.

All our stories run parallel in way or the other.  Yet, we fool ourselves in thinking that we are unique, drifting alone and forgotten in this marvelous Universe.

via morgueFile

Today as we went through the pre-registration for my father in law’s next stay in the hospital to continue with his salvage regimen of chemo-therapies, towards the end of the paperwork the clerk who was helping us shared  her own story.  After hesitating she told us that her dad also is going through  Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

She kindly told  us all about him, and we felt humbled and blessed to the least.  She really didn’t have to share anything in fact. She shared their pain as a family and  how hard it was not only for the patient, but also for them.

She really didn’t have to tell us anything, we were just two strangers that were doing what needed to be done.

During all this process in occasions we feel alone and heartbroken that someone we love has to go through all the pain that cancer brings with it.

Sometime before my father’s last stay in the hospital, my husband told me quietly that,

“I haven’t let myself cry over Papi.”

I really didn’t have an answer to that, but the day I left both of his parents (which I love deeply as a daughter), I allowed myself to cry over him for the first time.  I’m not fond of doing such because I believe that it’s not over until it’s over.  Then, we’ll have time to grieve and move on eventually.

I felt very lonely in my car as I poured my heart out in pure grief.

My thoughts went back in time and saw a younger version of him handing my house keys to me.  He had literally bought us our home.  He didn’t give my husband the keys, he gave them to me.

It meant a lot  to me back then and it still does.

Yet my memories didn’t stop there, they went even further in time and recalled how he gave me money to go and buy all my school supplies for my freshman year.  I bought  a bunch of notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, files, markers and two gigantic dictionaries (No internet back then).

Then they jumped to my wedding, went back to when he had gotten out of his way trying to find the perfect crib.  I wanted it white with a bunch of requirements he was more than happy to meet.  All these random memories had no chronological order, yet shared something similar, they were all full of love.

I remained a while just pouring my heart out and then moved on.  I needed to get home and leave them behind.

Through this difficult time we have all grown one way or the other.   However, I have come to learn that we are not alone.  All of us share similar stories and when the time is right and the occasion rises we share them and connect in ways that may even seem impossible.

We stop if we are in a hurry to listen, we appreciate and are thankful for kind and compassionate words of those who have endured our same path, and most of all we are humbled with the blessings we have each day.

So, my dear friend next time  you fall into the temptation of thinking you are alone in the vast world, think again and open your mind and life to the blessings of the stories that surround us.