Grief, and how we approach it.

One would have to be catatonic not to react emotionally to the happenings in the world today. If you are shedding an unexpected tear these days, you are not alone. A medical pandemic and now a military pandemic of loss, fear, and destruction and no experimental vaccine to improve our condition.

Grief is a goliath none of us want to encounter. Unlike David, we have no slingshot to slay our personal goliath – grief. Grief now comes from different directions and allowing our goliath grow taller and stronger. The loss of a dear longtime friend or loved one is heartbreaking enough to deal with, but combined with constant visuals of innocent people driven from their homes and country is almost unendurable. Hospitals and orphanages bombed into ashes by misguided dictators, thousands fleeing their goliath in a needless, evil war. Is it true that what does not kill us makes us stronger? It can also make us weaker. Physical and emotional halth is at risk if we are not extra careful.

I am now 93 years of age. When I take inventory of the losses during my lifetime, I am grateful to still be here. My periods of grief began with the loss of my father when I was ten. Except for the most recent, I will not enumerate all of them.

The recent death of my nephew who was more like a son, hit me with a force like seeing bombs falling on the innocent. It took me back to other wars – when two of my brothers went off to war. I had believed that type of carnage had ended in our more civilized world. When the call came about my nephew, I felt bombed out of my complacency, my so-called nice, safe, worry-free life. You may be experiencing the same or similar scenario. How do we bear up under such heartbreak?

One recent news clip showed a small child in the arms of his father going off to fight for his country. As tears streamed down on his beautiful face, the child was pounding with his fist on the face, shoulders and head of the father. I felt the same way when my nephew died. I wanted to fight back at the unfairness of it all. I felt a similar shock recently when I saw the explosions of another war. Our anger and emotions need expression in one way or another. This was not supposed to be happening. Desperate people in freezing weather, little children swaddled in heavy attire. Even if they survive what will their futures be like and what will happen to them psychologically?

How does one deal with grief? I can only speak of my own experience. Grief is a solitary emotion that we must suffer individually. The one word that describes my personal journey is acceptance, and that, too, is a voluntary decision. Once we accept that there is no escape, we can go on with our lives that will never be exactly the same, but we can be thankful for our memories, time together and hope for a better tomorrow. Help us all to accept that which we cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference. We smile through our tears until they are gone, and we will stronger.