For me, the descent into grief and despair led to a total destruction of self. I was thrown out of my familiar life and could not relate to even the basics. Driving to work, grocery shopping, people I met all seemed to be alien beings attempting communication from a world I was no longer part of and could not understand. I had been violently thrown into new territory, a terrible place filled with guilt and fear, self-doubt and loneliness, despair and denial. And yet. It was new territory to explore. Exploration became pilgrimage, a sacred journey on pathways that took me through the belly of the beast, that darkest of places where no light seems to shine, around and about and over and under and through to a place of light and hope.
I know I’m not alone. I walk with the multitudes, with you, who have been targeted by Death and who walk around with the same air of shell shock. The world suddenly turned into a roller-coaster ride from hell turning me upside down and throwing me far away from the comfort and routines of my ordinary life. Humdrum everyday mundane worries and plans got put on hold, sometimes forever. The nice neighborhood, nice cars, and nice people I knew became strange and strangers. People like me with successful careers, money and respect and a sense of entitlement that came with it find themselves being distanced and marginalized. A visitation by Death shoots us across a great divide – those who have been visited and those who have not.
We are told by the others, the ones who have not yet been marked by Death, all the trite truisms associated with loss that frankly made me feel homicidal: “Time Will Heal” for one and for another “He is in a better place now”. I fantasized if I heard one of those statements, one more time, I would shake the person until their teeth fell out and maybe they too could then experience healing and being in a better place
Death has issued a challenge to us—we can seize the opportunity for growth or stagnate in despair. One thing I know for sure, our departed loved ones do not want to see us stagnate. They gave us the ultimate gift so that we can create new and better lives. This is our destiny.