Started on April 28, 2012 ~ Finished on June 22, 2012
I sat between two friends...drinking...sharing...and talking. And of course as time passed...the conversation hesitantly ventured toward me and this blog.
As they talked about my writing and my life...I witnessed two very different points of view...two very different sides of an argument. It was strange how they discussed my feelings...my life...right in front of me.
These two friends have both been dear to me, but have polar personalities...and my life only emphasized their gap.
One friend said she couldn't bring herself to read my words because it was "too painful...too depressing to think about what happened."
The other quickly countered in a surprised...almost stunned tone, "Really? I think it's uplifting to read about his progress."
Two points of view...about the same set of words.
It's amazing how perspective...personality...and experience can color one's mindset.
I guess I have found this to be true in my personal grief journey as well. As I meet and encounter others who have walked my road and felt my pain...it has become evident that perspective, personality and experience play a dynamic role in how we each travel...how we each tackle this unwanted fork in the road.
In the very beginning I clung to my pain...because it seemed right...it seemed expected. I took solace in finding others who felt most comfortable in the gloom and doom...in the "why me" state of mind.
Please don't misinterpret...I still don't understand why...but I also know it doesn't change anything to continually ask this question again and again. I played those cards for months on end...and constantly found myself crawling in place...going nowhere.
So when did my perspective begin to shift?
One moment that sticks with me occurred during a conversation with a widow I put on a pedestal for the longest time.
In the beginning she was the only person I knew who had faced what I saw everyday; loneliness...heartbreak...and shock. So when she spoke...I listened...and often imitated. I assumed that we all faced our loss in the same manner.
I used her experiences to try and keep myself afloat during that early sorrow. I was so lost...so rudderless...I tried to make her lessons mine...I tried to make my journey like hers...it wasn't fair to either of us...but eventually our paths diverged.
I remember saying that I was beginning to learn something positive about life through experiencing death. Not a lesson I wanted, but one I was none the less handed. And I wanted to...needed to...grow from it. I spoke of being affected by Susan's life...and Susan's death. Of being determined to find meaning in both...lessons about living.
My words were simple...but were eventually met with silence. Slowly I began to realize I couldn't stop talking about my loss and she was finished talking about hers.
Perhaps that's how perspective...personality...and experience meet for widows also. Two points of view about grief...colored by individuality.
One person finding the continual exploration of loss too depressing...too painful to share with others...wanting only to walk their path privately...on their own terms. The other constantly diving back into the loss in search of others to share with...in order to deconstruct their grief...and hoping to find an uplifting lesson about life despite the pain.
Just as no two people are alike...no two grief journeys are the same. We all tackle the unwanted fork in the road as individuals...and that's just how it is.