The Blanket of Grief

No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. At other times it feels like being mildly drunk or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in.
— C.S. Lewis in "A Grief Observed"

I have read many quotes, books, articles, and internet stories that speak of the grief of losing a child, but this one…this is it.

C.S. Lewis was grieving the loss of his wife Joy after just three short years of marriage. Her death caused him to ask deep, doubtful questions of God but not in a theological, thinking manner. He was asking these questions out of searing pain, grief that feels unsurvivable; he was using his heart not his head.

This must be why this quote struck me, because grief is physical. It is exhausting to the body to force it to do what your heart says no. My heart was crying for reprieve, death, “GIVE ME MY BABY BACK!!!”, yet my feet had to keep moving forward. 

It is terrifying. Because grief is so all encompassing, you fear you may never stop feeling it’s intensity. And it lasts. Oh how it lasted.

But then, ever so quietly, without even realizing it, life started creeping back in. I didn’t like it when I realized it. Not at first. It made me angry that I could forget my little girl, that life could move on. 

Slowly my heart starting accepting that bits of joy were not dishonoring to her memory, that I would not forget, that she was real. 

A real little girl named Ava Nicole Buck lived on this earth for 2 months and 28 days. She had a birth certificate, a social security card, clothes in her closet that her little body would never grow into, and then a death certificate.

If you’re just starting down this road of grief, learning of it’s twists and turns you never chose to make, know this. Your pain is real. It will change you. Some will not like the “new” you. But the physical feat of recovering from grief will not drown you forever, the shackles around your ankles will slowly, quietly, fall away. There is hope beyond death.

So, grieve, grieve hard, grieve well. Know that it lasts much longer than you would probably like. Those tears are like healing balm. Bitterness leads to understanding. Anger eventually leads to acceptance. Feel them. Allow yourself to feel them. Don’t shove them away before it’s too deep to recover. This horrible thing called grief will eventually heal you.

And one day, you will look back, and remember with a touch of sadness, that the intensity is over. Your grief will become more personal, quiet, more internal than external. And you will find that you actually want to live. You want to laugh... make new memories and not just live in the old…

Desire has returned. 

Posted on April 8, 2015 .