Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sitting on Dark Mountains

Grief is the coming of darkness. In the beginning it’s a void of everything we’ve known and loved.

When my beloved died, I went to Yosemite and sat by myself in the darkness on Glacier Point and watched the constellations of the night sky above and the campfires of people a mile below, trying not to think about the bears and mountain lions that lived in the wilderness behind me. The world I had known had abruptly ended, and I was thrown deep into the cosmos where there were no sounds and every constellation was unfamiliar.

I existed in the place between the living and the dead and knew that I had to find a new world to live in, or continue to drift in deep, empty meaningless space. Yet it was there in the darkness that I found I was able to deal with my despair, confront the loneliness, and start to undo the trauma of Evelyn’s death. It was here, away from all distractions, that I began to unravel the chaos, and came to understand what I needed to do. This is where I was and this is where I had to begin. 

The darkness forces us to search for the shiver of light that survives in the rubble of our hearts.

Our impulse is to turn away from death, and turn away from the darkness it brings. But the only way to deal with grief is to go through, to embrace the pain, and enter the darkness. In the darkness we are away from distractions and our life calms into a singular presence and focus.

It is not easy to dwell in the darkness, but it is better to sit here in the quietness than settle for the easy answers from well-meaning friends that dissipate after a few hours and leave us feeling more alone. Pain tells us where we are broken, and grief is our guide.
The darkness is where artists choose to live because here they can create something new from the primary elements of the universe. Here there are no boundaries, no guidelines, and no limitations on what is possible. The darkness is where we who grieve begin to create our new lives. We are becoming artists of grief’s darkness.

Darkness is where the light is rooted.

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