Grief is no stranger in my world. I have completed three to four structured and involved grieving processes through the years. Our society is learning to respect and be with grief in healthier ways; we can all be grateful for this evolution. But despite my previous experiences with grieving I still struggle with the mourning process and I often don’t like the experience.
“What does grief feel like?”, she asked early one morning through e-mail.
The following is my attempt to share my experience followed by her loving response. Then, a few weeks later an otter came to save me. These experiences demonstrate how we need others and a vibrant and thriving nature to help us through.
I walk around
Constant low-level sadness
My built-in companion and support are gone
Loneliness overtakes me especially in the evenings
Constriction in my throat
Tears in my eyes
Too much effort to try to stay connected to others at times
Jealousy of people with seemingly full lives.
What is the point?
Not unlike my childhood
A familiar feeling
Working to accept the grief
Accepting I don’t like it
Let the loneliness be there when it is there
I feel shame about feeling lonely
Question? Does grief really needs to be felt or do I create it with my thoughts as with other things?
Grief seems bigger than me, a process larger than me
So much to do
So much to do is boring
Piles of black and white papers
Jeff’s paperwork for taxes on dining table.
My taxes a forming dream
Try to stay grateful
Something like that.
My friend’s reply:
My instinct is to tell you:
Allow the river of grief to take you away.
You are in the arms of the Goddess, embraced.
You will get to the other side, if you just let go,
Not fighting the current.
You are love, sweetness, kindness and warmth.
You are loved.
An Otter Came
She appeared suddenly,
Her wet, smooth, dark fur excited me,
Watching her slip over a boulder,
Springing me fully into life.
She scrambled swiftly down the steep rocks,
Alongside the waterfall we were perched above,
Carrying her treasured small fish,
As she aimed for the fast-moving river of snowmelt.
I hadn’t known these agile little beings
Rode the whitewaters
Until she disappeared in the torrent
Swiftly carrying to her destination.
The little animal’s dramatic arrival
In my life
Ended my sad morning
Suffusing us full both with fresh aliveness.
Other otters have graced my life,
The still one who greeted me back to this county,
The one perplexed by the tall concrete dam
That blocked her way.
Stop killing these delightful creatures,
Polluting and destroying their homes,
They are our soul,
We need them for a life worth living.
One small otter, fish in her mouth,
Came to show me I was still alive.