What to do when you suffer a loss so great it swallows you whole?
How do you carry on living when death comes knocking, taking a piece of your heart with it?
Who am I to tell you what to do?
Instead, I want you to meet two dear friends of mine, both of whom comfort me through my periods of sorrow and also help me to make sense of it all.
Their names are Grief and Gratitude.
Grief is an old crone, whom I have come to trust with my life.
Gratitude is her young and beautiful daughter, whom I am just really getting to know the depths of.
They are both judged by their covers, often misunderstood, misrepresented, lauded and feared even.
Recently, they have helped me to learn from cancer and to embrace whole-heartedly the certainty of Death (we’ll get to know him another time).
I believe that if you get to know these two dear friends of mine, yourself, you will get all the answers you seek.
Ready to meet them?
The First Time I Met Grief
I remember the day (I must have been 5 or so) when I was called to the bedside of my dying great grandmother. I was told to hold her warm and leathery hand.
I never really knew her, but on this one day, I stood there and saw her spark go out. Her body became empty and her hand cold. Because I did not grow to love her, nor feel her in my heart, Grief did not arrive to greet me that day. The moment was just another event to me, though I saw a glimpse of her surrounding the adults in the room.
A year later, my family and I were on the run as refugees escaping through the Iron Curtain.
I was still a child, but this time I understood what was happening.