[We]… equate healing with doing something. When we have a problem, we fix it, and we prefer to do it quickly. But fixing is not the same as healing; in fact it can easily get in the way of healing…Healing happens not through doing but through feeling.— E. frattaroli
Heavy. Hard. Scary. Hope. Those are the words I scribbled in my journal. They were the first words that came to mind in answer to the prompted question, “What does your grief feel like?”
But really, what it feels like is a weighted blanket.
Weighted blankets are sold in many stores. They add weight and pressure, but no extra warmth, and they bring comfort to many restless sleepers.
I don’t find my “blanket” very comforting. It just feels heavy.
I am not alone — others carry the blanket too. My daughters. Sons. Grandchildren. A brother.
But not just us. I hear stories every day. So many…
I hold my pain and try to hold theirs too. It’s hard to hold all the grief.
Yet — even as I am experiencing loss and sadness, I know I have much to be thankful for as well.
I am blessed.
And I have hope.
All the conflicting emotions are a lot. I get exhausted easily. If I’m around people for too long, I struggle and my anxiety level rises. People want me to be okay. And I can be okay… for awhile.
Some days I just need to cry. I let it be hard. I feel the hard.
The emotional toll to grieve honestly is hard, heavy, scary and exhausting… yet freeing and necessary.
I am a list-maker, and I can keep busy all day long. But the doing isn’t healing. It’s distraction.
Maybe this blanket I carry is protection. A shield of sorts. It allows me to feel and not do.
I’m still figuring all this out, but I won’t bemoan the weight of the blanket. In a way, it is comfort I don’t fully understand. I think I have to carry it for awhile…. maybe for always. I’m hoping for a lighter one as the days go by.
“Grief can be terrifying… and why would we not be afraid? Deep in grief, we look up and see the reflection in our mirror is not our own, not us as we have previously known ourselves. We are changed, and we do not recognize the stranger we have become. We long for our old lives, our old selves; we crave meaning and belonging — we ache for them.
The yearning is unquenchable.
And that sense of emptiness propels us toward unsuccessful attempts to fill that person-shaped hole. The distractions we use to take us from our feelings are one way we try to sate that emptiness.
The only alternative to distraction is being with grief — one painful, terrifying moment at a time.”From Joanne Cacciatore’s book, Bearing the Unbearable