“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go”Jamie Anderson
We get things arranged for our death a whole life and we are also aware of it with the loved ones too; but are we really prepared when death happens? Unfortunately, hope is not enough when not even science or medicine can find cures for some illnesses. Death is always an unexpected and unpredictable event in our lives, even when we are aware of it or that happens after a longer period of illness or hospitalization. When we meet other people, not only we start to share memories with them, but also, we connect through our emotions. The loss of a loved one can create an unbalance for our emotions and it is our responsibility to overcome that. Also, we need to continue to fight for our lives, to care for the loved ones, for children, parents, or for the spouse. Metaphors can illuminate our understanding of suffering and go through a painful period like grief is captured in the poem “After great pain, a formal feeling comes” by Emily Dickinson.
The immediate period that comes after a loss is marked by the funeral ceremony, then the withdrawal from social events, and a period of quietness. In the metaphor “The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs” (Dickinson, l. 2), the feelings of pain are compared with a numb group of people that takes part in a formal event like a funeral. The feelings we have for a loss one, we carry around for the following period as a heavy load, like a corpse is carried for the burial. The emotions we have for them are like the nerves going from heart to brain and all over the body. But when a loss is experienced that connection of emotions loses their grounded power. Without the power to feed the nerves, they would lack feelings, getting numb, and stop like a group of people standing at a funeral ceremony. Someone with active nerves has the courage and a sense of purpose when facing a demanding situation. Unfortunately, without that connection that transmits impulses of sensation to the brain, spinal cord, muscles, and organs the person experiences disconnection and deep sadness, mindlessness, and their self-confidence decreases. When nerves are injured, it is hard to recover fast enough to restore their function, and in the poem, the nerves sit, like is nothing else to do in that case but prepare for the ceremony of burial.
The feelings and the lifeless nerves are immured as a method of final deposition. A superficial burial would occur in a grave, but the feelings experienced in this case need something deeper to overcome the pain. Their heaviness requires something solid, stiff, and rigid because there is no return in that case and the choice for these feelings is tombs. Tombs are not just six feet grave with marble cross and flowers wreath; are built-in stones or deep in the earth, make it hard to visit after the ceremony finish. Also, tombs are extremely cold, quiet, dark, and is the only symbol that remains for those feelings that would be there for eternity without a chance of returning.
An exact period to overcome a loss is not clear and can be different from one to another, but the feelings that follow comes as a pattern for all of us. The time can be relative for someone that experienced a loss and that can feel like hundreds of years past when things happened just the day before. The metaphor “Yesterday, or Centuries before” (Dickinson, l. 4), reflects the unknown period of mourning with a lack of senses for someone’s loss. In the tradition of Eastern Orthodox, are usually forty days allocated for the memorial-period as a transition from death to the afterlife. The believers know that transition as a period while a soul needs to leave the place they lived and before they leave earth forever to visit the places and people they loved. In that period the person that suffered a loss can experience confusion without distinguishing what was real, what happened in dreams, or in their imagination. Also, after that period most people adjust to life without their loved ones and continue their lives. In the poem, we have a similar situation that takes place through mourning, but for an uncertain period that feels like an eternity.
“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”Anne Lamott
I welcome you to follow the tale of that young lady who learned that every story has a beginning and an end…when an end came, she needed time to experience grief over a loss. She stood quiet and she mourned the love she had until she released all the pain she gain from never understood love.
….continue reading the rest of the tale in PART 15