Personal Reflection 10/7/21
I’ve been reflecting and collecting quotes on grief. They are as follows:
“Grief is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” ~Jamie Anderson
“There are losses that rearrange the world. Deaths that change the way you see everything, grief that tears everything down. Pain that transports you to an entirely different universe, even while everyone else thinks nothing has really changed.” ~Megan Devine, It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok
“We don’t know how we will grieve until we grieve…I finally understood why people get tattoos of those they have lost. The need to proclaim not merely the loss but the love, the continuity. I am my father’s daughter. It is an act of resistance and refusal: grief telling you it is over and your heart saying it is not; grief trying to shrink your love to the past and your heart saying it is present. It does not matter whether I want to be changed. I am changed.” ~Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Notes On Grief
“I sit with my grief. I mother it. I hold its small, hot hand. I don’t say, shhh. I don’t say, it is okay. I wait until it’s done having feelings. Then we stand and go wash the dishes. We crack open bedroom doors, step over the creaks, and kiss the children. We are sore from this grief, like we’ve returned from a run, like we are training for a marathon. I’m with you all the way, says my grief, whispering, and then we splash our face with water and stretch, one big shadow and one small.” ~Callista Buchen
“Grief is tremendous, but love is bigger. You are grieving because you loved truly. The beauty in that is greater than the bitterness of death. Allowing this into your consciousness will not keep you from suffering, but it will help you survive the next day.” ~Cheryl Strayed
“To be human is to grieve.” ~Aundi Kolber
“Grief is like the stages of love: first falling in love and being totally preoccupied by your new love, then becoming comfortable as you begin to trust that your love will always be with you. In grief, as when you first fall in love, your heart longs to be with the person who’s died. Your desire to touch him or her is overwhelming. Most other parts of your life seem unimportant in comparison. Then slowly, normal life begins to creep back in and you find that your grief no longer demands the high maintenance that it first required. You will have created a special space in your heart where you can carry this departed loved one with you at all times, even as you go about other things.
Death ends a lifetime, but not a relationship.” ~Pat Schwiebert, R.N.
I am exploring grief in my YA book. It’s the biggest thing that drives Payton.
I have been exploring my own grief. A grief that is sobering. It’s hard to escape from.
I recently read Living Brave by Shannon Dingle, about becoming a widow. It was written with a lot of heart. It moved me.
I am approaching my writing with heart. If I don’t feel it, I won’t do it. I will never sell out. What I like about Forbes writing for example is they let me write as I want to. I’m a poetic deep writer naturally so my articles are a little like that along with research. I go way over word length too lol.
Grief has taught me so much about myself. I know who I am because grief has chiseled away all that I am not. I know what matters because grief constantly reminds me where the heart is.
So I also watched Titanic for the millionth time. And it touched grief in me. I watched Rose say goodbye to Jack and felt her longing. I know Hymn of The Sea is something I write to constantly, to get in the mode of emotional writing.
But grief is not a test from God. It’s not meant for a lesson, even if you get one. Grief is often from senseless loss. Grief has no linear timeline, despite what the stages of grief tell you (Megan Devine says they are not accurate- as every grief is unique.)
Not everything happens for a reason. I once read Neale Donald Walsh who I believe to be a fraud now. He said “we choose when we die.” I do not believe this. Why would we prolong our own suffering then through starvation and sickness if we could choose when we die? Or the inverse, why would we leave those we love behind to fend for themselves?
I ask God a lot why it has to be this way. Heaven is a comforting notion. I’ve experienced it in a near death experience and a lucid dream. I’ve been watching youtube videos about near death experiences searching for patterns and clues. But no matter what I learn, I do not know why grief has to exist as it does, or suffering at all for that matter.
What I do know is that nothing justifies suffering, not even for the greater good. And yet most of my suffering has brought about my poetic insights through writing that I would not have otherwise gotten. So there’s something to that too.
Who am I grieving? Everyone. I lost everything and everyone all through my life. Most notable, my dad’s girlfriend, Elaine, to cancer when I was a teen. Forgiving her brought me to Christ (after reading Corrie Ten Boom in a book about forgiveness that was given to her and landed on my own book shelf). It changed me into the person I am. I feel her when I go running, thinking she’s pushing me to go further.
I won’t speak about her son but I lost him in a way too, but not to death. Just life and a difference of views.
Even though Elaine was not easy to get along with, I had walls up that prevented us from being friends. Once she died, I blamed myself and longed for that relationship that never got to be. I turned it into YA writing after and struggled to write that book for years, returning to that same grief. It wasn’t until age 31 that I got that book together. I didn’t make it our story though. I made it Payton and Corelle’s story. They got to have a relationship before the end. Corelle (stepmom) even calls Payton her daughter.
I also wrote a memoir about our story (me and Elaine), but I don’t know if it will ever see the light of day. I have my NDE it and controversial views on God and life that led it to be rejected many times. I know my beliefs are outside the lines, as am I. But I’m not here to convert anyone. I decided to put it on the backburner and started to write a self help book, picking up where the memoir left off. That self help book is about my journey finding purpose after everything was taken from me, yet again.
I don’t want my grief fixed. It’s a bittersweet friend, a comfort to me. I know it means that I got to love. I know it means that I am authentic because I can feel, rather than just say everything is fine.
I’d trade it all though for one conversation with my papap, Glenn Perl. He reached my heart as a kid in a special way, more than most. I needed his answer. Recently, I was sleeping and heard “Sarah? Anyone home?” This woke me from sleep. It was his voice. I know he is watching over me.
So I believe in an afterlife. But I don’t pretend to understand it- my own experiences or the ones I’ve studied. I just show up with my grief, hand in hand, and face each day.
Thanks for reading,