GRIEF - We’ve witnessed it other people but, the understanding through personal experience - well there has never been a better teacher.
~ Bernice Donato
It all started 6 years ago with the death of my father. The thing about his death was I never, in my wildest dreams, considered loosing him would have the enormous impact it did. My father and I always had a tumultuous relationship and I naively thought my anger at the things that caused our divide, would shield me from the hurt a reasonable person would feel when someone they loved died. Grief is a natural response, so why I never considered it a possibility continues to baffle me. The best explanation I can come up with is that no matter what ever happened, he is who I would go to for help. Only this time he wasn’t there anymore. What I couldn’t have known was, that the death of my father, no matter how prepared I might’ve been, would disturb something deep within me. That something would require attention, whether it was convenient or not.
My time in the snow globe refers to the distorted lens in which I viewed life during the period following his death. The fact that I’d spent decades studying personal development did not protect me from this. At this point in my life, I had experienced loss, but not like this. This was entirely different. Grief hijacked my life, took its sweet time moving through and when it was done having it’s way with me, everything was changed. Today, I am whole and strong, but unrecognizable to myself.
Unfortunately, unless someone has experienced a loss of this magnitude, it just appears as though the person suffering has gone crazy. I remember being surprised when a friend said, “you’d never know you’re going through what you’re going through” because during that time I felt like I had two gears - messy and just above water. I hid my anxiety as best I could to avoid the whispers about the current state of my life. I shared with only a handful of trusted friends.
To the world at large, I appeared rational and semi-functional on the surface, but there were definite signs of cracks in my foundation as social interactions became increasingly difficult. The expectations of those who couldn’t possibly know what I was experiencing were unrealistic and failed to account my grief as a temporary state of mental illness. That’s right...I dared to say it!!! I was both temporarily and emotionally not well. I was deeply wounded and incredibly sad. And and no matter how hard society tries to deny it, chances are, we will all experience deep sadness on this level at least once in our lifetime.
It is said that if we practice patience, time is the school in which we will learn. We will learn and maybe even be amazed by just how fragile life is, the power behind words like grief, the strength and resilience that lives within all of us, the humbleness in the lesson of how meaningful we are to one another and how the loss of only one person can change everything.
Now, firmly on the other side of things, my lens and my life look very different. Some of those changes happened to me and some I invited. Don't get me wrong, I have no regrets about all that's changed. I'm so much more aligned with who I really am now and that I would never change! So what did I learn about myself? Well, that's the best part. My grief taught me that I am so much stronger then I ever thought possible, I'm capable of far more then I was shooting for and with the right support system life on the other side of loss is totally possible.