The emotional recovery from a recent trauma can be very painful and it takes time to adjust to a new life. The grief for someone loved is usually hard to understand in the deep layers and is important that transition from the stage of intense sadness to acceptance to happen in steps and to be acknowledged for a complete recovery.
“A season of loneliness and isolation is when the caterpillar gets its wings. Remember that next time you feel alone.”Mandy Hale
In the poem “ After great pain, a formal feeling comes” by Emily Dickenson, one of the metaphors that are important to understand this steps that need to be followed in recovery is “as freezing persons recollect the Snow – First – Chill – then Stupor – and then the letting go”. The author compares the transition from the deep sadness to acceptance with the stages of hypothermia and the ones from a snowstorm. Both start with the feeling of getting colder, followed by the increased intensity of a chaotic stage of confusion to the point when everything stops and enters a different zone of feeling released.
Hypothermia creates confusion when our body losses more heat than can produce. In the early stages of hypothermia, our bodies start shivering, as reduced blood circulation, like feeling chill used in the poem. Slowly we become irritable, and our pulse gets slow and weak. Breathing is also slowed, and a sleepy behavior takes over our body. Feeling more tired with every moment that passes, our speech can become slurred, our hands get a fumble and we can lose our memory. Everything increase until we get in a stage where the respiration and the pulse are slow, weak, or absent like in a state of stupor mentioned in the poem. In the last stage of hypothermia, we can lose consciousness, and soon after that, things can get fatal and death can occur. If the death happens, we are released from a painful situation and we let go of all the feelings.
The other comparison used in the poem is a snowstorm. A snowstorm comes with uncertainty and we do not know for how long would last, but it can escalate rapidly from a slow snowfall to a storm. One of the first feelings, when a snowstorm comes, is that the weather gets colder, and we are getting chill too. In those moments, as humans we get angry, and probably everything else would have to be put aside because is almost impossible to achieve something during that period. We are somehow trapped inside and will need to wait for a while for things to change. While the snowstorm gets intense, we become anxious, nervous, and hopeless because is hard to predict either the intensity or the length of a snowstorm. When we are convinced that we are going to be there for a while, we give up and we start making plans for the things we can get done while the snowstorm will continue to keep us inside the house. Looking out of the window we can see the waves of snowflakes blown out in all directions, trying to hide and move from the way of the strong and furious wind. They are fragile and can easily melt when touches the ground, but the cold weather keeps them petrified and scared without any way of escape, like the stupor feelings from the poem. Finally, when everything stops, and the strong wind is not blowing cold air, everything looks frozen and static. There are no prints on the smooth snow, and everything looks still and quiet. We would feel relief in those moments, and we accept the new view and embrace the beautiful environment, eventually playing in the snow and building a snowman. Even though the snowstorm has intense stages of evolution, it does not have the power to last for many hours or eventually days and sooner or later will stop. The snow will slowly melt, and everything will be forgotten, like it never been there before, like the “letting go” used in the poem. The “formal feeling” mentioned in the poem follows these intense changes, from the moment when grows, continued by the void, and the return to normal. The evolution we experienced overtime was possible only going through different stages in life, but in the end, we survived all the changes we met.
“Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something- and it is only such love that can know freedom.”Jiddu Krishnamurti
I welcome you to follow the tale of that young lady who was locked inside her mind for a long period of time until she realized that nothing is more important than her freedom.
….continue reading the rest of the tale in PART 13