My mind has turned grief into a deranged adversary. Everywhere I go, there it is, threatening to destroy me. It started like any other thriller movie – with an unexpected tragedy. My tragedy doesn’t involve the accidental death of a person, or the intentional torture of an innocent soul, but the slow death of a dream. And again, like any good protagonist in a thriller, I have run as far as I can from the scene of the tragedy, in the hopes of escaping the pain, blame, or both. But just as Michael Meyers tracked down his sister, Laurie, after 15 years and her adoption into a new family, my grief finds me no matter how far I go.
Grief has caught me by surprise several times and it is always at the most inconvenient times. Like a teenage girl trapped in a tanning booth, I am trapped inside my thoughts and can’t get out.
Just this past weekend I was at a wedding, and out of nowhere I was blindsided with the loss that comes with infertility. A friend had declined alcohol. That was it. No baby talk, I don’t even know if she is pregnant or not. But the thought of another couple getting pregnant before me and Dean has the ability to derail me. But of course I couldn’t surrender to grief at a wedding, so I ran. I had been running for so many years, each subsequent interaction with grief became more frightening than the last, that I had become antsy with anticipation and fear. I was exhausted.
I decided to take refuge inside the walls of my mind. The walls were strong and solid so nothing could get in and destroy me. And like a rain soaked teenage girl running from a crazy maniacal killer with a chainsaw, it’s after I’ve locked myself in, that I suddenly realized the killer was inside with me! Life inside the walls has become a game of tag with grief. Grief is “it” and I am constantly running from it. The fear of being destroyed is my motivation to keep going. Not fear of death, death seems restful. The fear of being destroyed. Hacked to pieces by the sharp butcher knife of grief.
I don’t want to run anymore. I am so tired of running from all these emotions. But if I stop running I have to turn around and face my fear. I’ve been running for so long, I don’t know how to turn around. I don’t know how to face it.
Yesterday morning I was outside during the early hours. I was praying my rosary and looking at the stars. I noticed that I could not find the moon. I knew it must be out there somewhere, but for the life of me I could not find it. I gazed at the stars instead and I started to grow weary. I wanted to pray with my eyes closed, but I didn’t want to miss out on the beautiful starry sky. I wouldn’t have many mornings left before I would have to fight the cold for some star gazing. As I continued to pray I became aware of a cloud on the horizon, it slowly grew and started to overtake the beautiful clear night. I watched the cloud and imagined I could push it back toward the horizon. I was fighting the cloud so I could continue looking at the beautiful sky. But I was so tired, I just wanted to close my eyes. But I didn’t want to miss anything. Despite my wishful attempts to fight off the cloud with “the force”, the cloud overtook the sky. There was something beautiful and peaceful about the cloud. I could close my eyes and pray. I no longer had a fear that I was missing out on something, because there was nothing but gray cloud to see. I finished praying my rosary with my eyes closed and when I opened them again the gray cloud was high overhead. The horizon was clear and there, brightly shining, was the moon. It was a beautiful sight. A sight I would not have seen if I was in control of the cloud. A sight that I would have been too exhausted to cherish if I had kept my eyes open because I was too scared to miss something.
My grief has become this way. I have let the fear of missing out on joy blind me from the rest and release of grief. I have put so much energy into running away from grief, that I don’t fully appreciate the good things. When life is good I am constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure grief isn’t sneaking up on me.
How do I let my grief roll in like the cloud so after a time I can experience something breathtaking again? If I don’t turn around and face my fear I will continue to live my life like an anxiety driven thriller.
I don’t have an answer, otherwise I wouldn’t be in this situation. But I’m open to learning. Please pray for me as I try to find the courage to approach my fear.