For almost 5 months I have been living in an angry world – my angry world – so angry at my husband for committing suicide – that I thought that was my world forever. I don’t like angry world.
Recently, angry grief started moving over and allowing sadness grief to make an appearance. I felt like I had multiple personalities, but angry grief was the dominant one. Angry grief would allow other personalities of grief to briefly peek through. But that potent emotion always, and most easily, regained control of any other feeling wanting to surface.
Angry grief is a real son of a gun. Out of the blue, it fled my body, as if an exorcism had been performed. In its place was a whirlwind of the deepest sorrow I have ever known. My heart became so heavy it seemed to have dropped far into an abyss in my body that I never knew existed. Something foreign bubbled up into my throat and began strangling me. I was plunged into a sadness so deep that my entire world rocked.
The only way to compare this is the feeling when you are driving on the beach road, singing along to your favorite song on the radio. The skies are blue, the water is serene, the sun roof is cracked open a bit – and BAM – out of nowhere, a hurricane strength wind blows in from the gulf, slamming into your vehicle. Not only do you swerve into another lane – you are thrown into an alternate dimension. The skies are dark and stormy. The air is so thick you cannot breathe. You try to scream but nothing comes out, and the gravitational pull on your heart can actually drop you to your knees. You fight to return to the normal dimension – the dimension when all was right with the world – but you are floating – no – you are spinning –and there is nothing to grab on to.
This pain was so intense, this is nothing a surgeon’s hand, or a physician’s drug, could fix.
I was beginning to think I liked angry world better. At least angry grief insulated me, for a bit, from the shock I had to deal with on that dreadful day of May 29. Angry grief insulated me for almost 5 months afterward and allowed me to put one foot in front of the other. I was functioning, making decisions and living life. This new pain of sorrow grief wanted me to curl into a ball and withdraw from functionality.
In reality, I was not on a beach road. I was driving to work on a Monday morning when the heavy heart feeling hit. I began to cry. It would have been so much easier to turn around and go home. But I had responsibilities at work, and onward I went. I walked into the office wiping my eyes, trying to gather myself and present a rational being to the world. I was still spinning with nothing to grab onto, but I was trying, on my own, to return to the normal dimension of functioning Gretchen.
On my own – those are the keywords. On my own. You cannot handle grief on your own. Don’t try it. I did and it did not work. As I was spinning in that alternate direction, I was trying to grab onto anything. What happened was God grabbed on to me and said, “Come on child. I am taking you on a journey. You may not like it. But you are not alone. I am with you every step of the way.”
I walked into my cubicle and there was a little book, titled Think Happy, Be Happy, from my supervisor, along with a note stating I was not alone and my work crew was with me. A high school friend (note – we have been out of school 40 years!) texted me throughout the day checking on me. Another high school friend stopped me in the work hallway to offer words of support. Co-workers rallied around me tightly that Monday. Later in the week, a former co-worker mailed me a book titled Hugs – a Daily Devotional for Woman. My former supervisor walked into my cubicle to give me a hug. And, as always, family was near holding me up – my family and my husband’s family. I had earth angels pulling my heart out of that abyss.
In this intense pain of sorrow, God is the surgeon’s hand and the physician’s drug. In addition to His Word, God has surrounded me with a huge support system. This support system actually extends around the world. He must know that I am a real mess and I really need a group this big.
I know that throughout this grief journey, the hurricane strength wind and abyss heart sinking feeling will overtake me at times. This is a journey I must take for complete healing. This is my journey. No one else walks in my shoes. We all have different journeys, but we all have a common path to take – and that is a journey with God. Not only does God grip my hand, He cradles me when I cannot walk.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5