What grief can look like

Grief looks like a lot of things. I don’t usually know what it will look like and it comes in many waves. I am both surprised at the intensity and unsurprised that they keep coming. I am trying to let any wave wash over me and then ebb back out. The waves appear in many forms:

Often, it is sadness.

It is collapsing in the shower and when some of the hot water tastes salty on my face I realize I am crying. It is leaving my desk at work to rock back and forth in the bathroom to get the crying out so I can return to my coworkers and act professional. It is writhing in pain in my bed on a Saturday night silently moaning, “It wasn’t supposed to happen this way, it wasn’t supposed to happen this way.” It is crying through an entire Yom Kippur service and walking out of Yizkor to fall apart in an empty classroom.

Sometimes it is anger.

Anger at myself for not being there when he died, for not holding him in his last moments, for coming home and finding him dead– utterly dead– and having been completely helpless in saving him. It is anger at myself for turning away out of terror at the sight before me. It is anger at myself for going into shock. It is anger at myself for being scared in that moment. It is anger that it is all so unfair.

Grief is also gratitude. Though it is anger that I cannot possibly explain to people how horrific these months have been, it is also a deep thankfulness to those who know me — know me and know without question how challenging this time is.

Grief is gratitude: Thank you for letting me love you so, so much in your far-too-short life. I also know, with every cell in my body, that if love were enough you would still be here with me. If love were enough. If love were enough.

“When All That’s Left Is Love” – Rabbi Allen S. Maller
When I die 
If you need to weep
Cry for someone  
Walking the street beside you.
You can love me most by letting
Hands touch hands, and Souls touch souls.
You can love me most by
Sharing your Simchas and
Multiplying your Mitzvot.
You can love me most by
Letting me live in your eyes
And not on your mind.
And when you say Kaddish for me
Remember what our
Torah teaches,
Love doesn’t die. People do.
So when all that’s left of me is love
Give me away.

Grief is gratitude: Thank you for teaching me how to love another with my entire being.

Thank you.

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2 Responses to What grief can look like

  1. As someone who lost a brother 6 months ago, I know the many faces of grief and I have tried so hard to explain the feeling but it is so mentally straining that I can never put it down in words. So thank you for sharing this, and I sincerely hope the pain you feel gets easier with each passing day.

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