Above the Storm

Here is the thing about grief. Nothing about it can be changed. That leaves you with nothing to do but see the facts that cause you such anguish.  The dead are gone and won’t return. Your mind has thoughts about their returning anyway. These thoughts cause you to cry or to clamp down tightly on yourself.  If someone is in your presence, you will act like you are quite all right, but you are not. You know better. This causes feelings of alienation from them and therefore from yourself. This is grief and how it operates.

A lot of pretending goes on as you deal with the mechanics of the death. Paperwork, sleeplessness, heartache, anger, denial. The whole nine yards of “nothing can be changed, yet I am working harder than ever when I am at my weakest and most vulnerable. I see things I never saw before. I don’t like people or want them around me. I am crying out to a God that doesn’t speak my language.” So much for religion.

When Peter was so ill from the results of having many small strokes, he was angry with doctors and spiritual teachers because they could afford him nothing. He and I could email about this with perfect understanding. My teacher had died of cancer without ever having spoken of it to his students. I was not like that. I needed language, even though I misused it during my darkest days. Bob was dying right in front of me and I was mad as hell. He looked at me as if I were a turncoat and a rebel for daring to be angry at his diagnosis. What was I to do? So I went on with the show.

It has been almost six years since that good man left the earth. Unbelievably, I am learning to care for myself at long last. To honor this woman named Vicki who has endured so much, has lost so much that can never be found. Not on this level. But up above where the eagle soars free, she flies above the storm and loss. I don’t blame her.


  1. Grief seems have an energy cycle. After a sudden and shocking loss, the grief began with a period of bawling anguish and then settled down somewhat; at least, going into a time quiet sadness, and then relief – a sense that, “I’m OK now,” would come. Then, out of the blue, back on my knees with a howl, or in fetal position again. After more than 20 years, a spark of quiet sadness once in a while still remains.

    Thank God for the undercurrent of Divine Presence that lifts us to soar. I don’t know how anyone could endure without a sense of this.


  2. C. S. Lewis wrote about this in A Grief Observed. How it circles around and takes a bite of you when you least expect it. The way of awareness points to soaring above it, as you say. The persona cannot acknowledge grief, which is an interesting thing to see. And society is built on the persona with no shadows allowed. What happens is that we tune into Entertainment Tonight to see the personas kicked in the “you know what” by their shadows getting them into trouble yet again. We are a troubled society in deep denial.


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