News always invokes some sort of reaction. If someone tells you they are engaged you are excited for them and can't wait to see the engagement ring. While someone else can't believe their marriage is ending in divorce. Someone tells you they are expecting a baby, you are thrilled for them, unless of course it is your sixteen year old. You are proud of the person who just found out they got a promotion, unless you were the one passed up for it. Someone can't wait to move into their new home; in your joy you buy them a housewarming gift. While someone else just learned that the home they have lived in for years is being foreclosed.
Circumstances and events in our lives have an overwhelming effect on all of us. We feel happy, sad, anxious, excited, afraid, adventurous, unsure, confident, etc., etc. We want to shout for joy or run screaming in anger. Life is made of all of this and more, we sometimes want to run head long into life, and at other times, just want to get off the ride. When I lost my daughter I wanted to hit the rewind button. Not stop, not fast forward, just rewind.
Today I watched as someone learned something about their parent's child hood and upbringing; not only did they want to hit rewind, but erase as well. My heart went out to this person as they were told that at a tender age this parent had been orphaned and left to fend for themselves. Their whole life came slamming into them, hitting them broadside, they had for so many years believed that this parent had been cared for, never realizing that they had lived on the streets. The parent had died several years ago, and all the pain of their death and what had been missing, came flooding out as tears rolled down their face. Realizing that this parent gave so much more than they had ever received.
Some of us had wonderful childhoods, loving parents and never wanted for anything, except for that one toy. But yet for so many others there is pain, sad memories and simply survival. It is also our childhood that dictates how we perceive the world and all the good and bad that happens around us and to us. I was blessed with a great childhood, my brothers and I knew we were loved, and we loved being together as a family. Yet I have relatives and friends who were not so fortunate, their lives were tumultuous and fraught with fear.
In an earlier post, I mentioned the stages of grief, one of which is 'shock.' Shock is generally what occurs after the initial blow, we are stunned. Everything appears to be dream like, we seem to be moving in a state of animation. It also allows us to do, to plan, to prepare and to move through the hours, days and in some cases even weeks. With any devastating news we receive are emotions can range from anger, to disbelief, to numbness. We feel as if all life has been drained from us and our minds have taken a sabbatical. We keep hoping to just wake up and find it has all been a very bad dream.
Shock leaves us feeling lost and confused. Whether you are dealing with the death of a loved one, finding out that someone you love is getting divorced, or any other disturbing news. Your body seems to shut down, and your feelings leave you spinning in circles. I remember just sitting alone late at night those first few days, trying to absorb all that had happened, trying so hard to wrap my head and heart around the fact that my daughter was gone. Wanting the nightmare to just go away. I remember being stoic, keeping myself composed, being strong, doing what was necessary. It was as if I was moving in extreme slow motion. I would cry and the abruptly stop crying. The hardest thing was actually sharing what I was feeling, I didn't know where to begin or how to explain what I was feeling or not feeling. It was all so surreal. It was as if I was watching a black and white movie with no sound. Shock definitely has its purpose. If nothing else, it allowed me to do what was needed during those first few days.
But like anything else in life, be it euphoria, or numbness, it to wears off, leaving us feeling let down, in pain. We suddenly realize this wasn't a dream, something truly happened and we begin to really hurt, to ache deep down inside. For me that initial pain was so profound, everything began to hurt, it was as if I had been hit by a Mack truck, every inch of me was in pain. I had never known a body could hurt so much without actually suffering physical damage. My doctor explained that deep sadness (depression) truly hurts and it manifests itself in a multitude of ways, effecting individuals in different ways.
The key is to allow yourself to feel, to share, to cry or even punch something (a pillow preferably) and let yourself express your feelings. You need to vent, let yourself vent, you need to cry, let yourself cry, do what ever feels good and allows you to release everything that is pent up inside you. Also find someone who can be there for you, who will let you express your emotions and feelings, and who will not try to give you advice, but simply listen and sit with you, holding you if need be.
The following is a beautiful poem by Joyce Rupp, titled: 'Experiencing Loss'
your circle of strength
is around me.
I ask for grace to yield
to the reality of this loss.
I pray to surrender
to what cannot be changed.
I beg for deliverance
from the emotional drain
and the unending sadness
that this loss has brought me.
Let peace return.
Let hope begin.
Let comfort be mine.
My prayer for you is that peace will return to your life, you will begin to find hope and that you find comfort in those around you who care for you and love you.
And remember, you hurt so much because you loved so deeply.
Blessings! and until we meet again.