And then there was quiet.

I know what’s been going on this week. I have been here before. Raging and railing against grief. I recognize the fight. But this go around has been particularly brutal. I felt out of control, like it was controlling me.

Then, finally, as I was shoveling snow last night, crying, there came a quiet voice. Enough, little creature. Enough. Put down the shovel. Stop fighting.

Standing in the cold, surrounded by sparkling snow and a sparkling sky, it became clear. Grief is a gift. In the face of emptiness, the incomprehensible hole left by his death, grief gives me something to fight against. Denial, anger, frustration, pain. Fight it I will, many more times, I am sure. Every round, wildly throwing punches at the shadow of death, until I am tired out, cried out, knocked-out on the floor.

I don’t want to be in the ring. I want to let go. But coming to acceptance that my husband is gone. It’s the hardest truth I’ve ever faced. If I let go…where will he go?

So I keep fighting it, this strange and confusing gift. Fighting for me, fighting for him, pummeling that bastard cancer that took him, and trying to “move on”. But any “victory”, if you can call it that, doesn’t take place at a big blow out event. With an audience. Nor does it take place when I am screaming at the top of my lungs. It takes place in the quiet moments, after the storm, after the tussle has passed, and defenses are down. When there is no where left to hide. No one left to blame.

Into the quiet, there comes a flutter. A shutter, of acceptance. As crystaline clear, and ephemeral, as a single snowflake. Because really, most of us can’t handle more than that. I know I can’t. This is what grief has taught me. One cold sharp breath of reality at a time. So I shake hands with my sparring partner. The wolf in sheep’s clothing. What else can I do. I let grief help me up, this strange adversary who keeps pushing me down, keeps pushing me along. All I can do is hope that with each fight, I get a little wiser to grief’s moves. That, maybe, there will be a softer landing.

But right now? Enough. You heard it, I declare this battering of a week over. Time to stop shoveling and be quiet. I can no longer fight it. In this moment, I surrender. I accept that he is gone.

A delicate, perfect snowflake, once clear, once present, now melted on my tongue.

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9 thoughts on “And then there was quiet.

  1. I cry every time I read what you write. Sometimes in solidarity, sometimes in sadness for you, sometimes for me…always at the beauty of your writing and your insight.
    “if I let go….where will he go?”
    Indeed.
    Acceptance doesn’t mean letting go entirely, just loosening the grip as you can.

    • Thank you for your comment, and others that you have left. You are so kind. I often feel like I am saying the same things over and over, but that is how grief seems to be. You wrote a post about working in bereavement, I am in awe of you, and others who can do it. The people I met from hospice…I am so thankful for the support I got. There is a part of me that would like to help support others, but I feel so raw toward loss and death now. Weakened in the face of it. I imagine and hope it will lessen.

      • Did you read the post I wrote questioning why and how I can do grief work?
        You are helping others by writing, by sharing your feelings during your journey. That is all any of us can do.
        I am 7 years out in this craziness that you have just started, there’s no telling where you’ll be in 7 years, what you will have gone through. It’s all so personal, and when I read your posts I am brought back to those same points that I have experienced as you are living them. I hear the same things in my grief groups. All I have to offer is myself to listen, to normalize the feelings and to hold the hope that there is another side to get to.
        I wrote too, though it was journals…pages and pages and notebook after notebook. Sharing this stuff is brave, believe me, you are helping people.

  2. Ah, the roller coaster ride. It is up and down. We seem to be on a the same ride; perhaps it’s the weather. I, too, struggle with anger and despair, fighting and acceptance. Sometimes it feels that any healing, any sense of peace is a betrayal, is giving up. When the person you love is sick, I think you get into this she-wolf mode of fighting and advocating for them, and then suddenly there’s nothing to fight for anymore. The challenge I’m facing (and you, and anyone in our state) is how to move from the advocacy role – which is not accepting, but looking for more help, more news, different approaches – how to move from that to accepting that the fight is over and now we have to heal and move forward. And how to do that in a way that honors the memory of our spouse and honors the life we together, and honors the future we expected to have. That’s hard, and I don’t have a clue how to do it. Mostly I just move forward, one step at at a time, some days doing so better than others. Some days are angry and tight and focused on everything lost. Other days are better. I don’t think there’s any ‘right’ way to do this, but I think we just have to wait for those small moments of grace and cherish them, and hopefully over time they will come more often and stay longer.

  3. Grief does seem to have a gauge–it only hits us when it knows we can handle its pummeling. It is a fight, and grief found you to be a worthy opponent this week. Congratulations, on that dubious distinction.

    Now you’ve reached another stage of acceptance, I see. You’ll never let him go. I know that from what I read here, from the picture you have in your header. He is integrated in who you are. You carry his pain and his joy. You always will. I don’t know you, and I didn’t know him, but I know that.

  4. I wish I had some amazingly poignant words to offer you solace and hope in your grief stricken world. And I simply do not have them. I do not think there are truly any words. Nor do I really believe there are “stages” of grief. It just is. It exists and it brings us low and tears us down. And your beautifully written postings bring me there in that place with you. That is an amazing gift.

    I can only sit hear reading them and wish you silence when you need it, a place to scream when you have to and warm comfort when the tears stop flowing and all you can do is feel hollowed out inside. Much much love to you…truly.

    • I really appreciate that you read my blog and take the time to send words of encouragement…I know my blog is not a place of “buoyancy”! Especially in light of your own challenges. I guess it’s a reminder of the magic of connections….that we encounter people who we relate to, no matter what our different circumstances, or where we are at in the “journey”. Thank you for your kind words, I’m rooting for you, too, spunky Unicorn.

      • It is not a place of buoyancy…but it is one of hope. I can feel it starting to peer out beneath the hard winter ground. And for some reason my challenges make me feel very connected to your own..in an odd odd way. And I am truly cheering for you from my own little corner of the world.

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