Grief...Letting the Mud Slide

Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Patty Minx
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When old age, disability, loss or tragedy happen to us or to someone else we know, we automatically think that it should not have happen.  But it did happen and the "happening" can be an opportunity for a spiritual awakening.

Coming to terms with my husband's death was like waking up after being heavily sedated.  One moment I was overwhelmed by the fear that I, too, had died inside.  The next moment I felt the freedom of not having to conform to what others thought I should be.  My husband's family had literally cut out my role in his life by referring to me as someone else's wife, (they listed me with my previous husband's name) in his obituary!!!  It was as if I had not lived the twenty years we had as man and wife.  Being his wife, were some of the happiest years of my life.  Now I was faced with the challenge of recreating myself all over again.

Grief teaches us that what has happen cannot be changed.  It simply is what it is.  Grieving is easier if we do not resist it.  I have to admit I spent a lot of time resisting it by self-medicating with alcohol and sex.  Then one day I asked myself "what are you doing?"  With the help of a psychotherapist I took a tour through all the anger I carried throughout my life.  I allowed myself to share it with another person and to feel it. I toured other emotional states and gradually I began to heal.  I learnt through all of this that it does not pay to resist our anguish.  We must befriend it and recognize its legitimacy in our human condition.  

I allowed myself plenty of time to savor the "luxury of grief".  I stood still, knee deep in grief.  Standing still does not mean I did nothing about it.  I allowed it room and I started to pay attention to it and asking grief what it could teach me.  My sitting practice (zasen) assisted me in "standing still".  With time after many days, weeks and hours I gradually heard who I was and to know the solutions to living again.

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