The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: My Grief

July 6, 2009

My Grief

My grief has many colors. Sometimes it is red and hot, sometimes it is yellow and warm, and other times it is grey and cold. I long to use these colors to paint a picture, but these colors do not seem to match.

My grief is very small. I do not grieve over the world, over wars, over global injustices. It is just about me, my problems, my tiny realm. And yet my grief feels very big. It is about me, my problems, my realm. I wake up every day feeling my grief. There is no escaping this grief of mine, it follows me around, demanding my attention. If I try not to think about it, it simply ups the ante and turns into physical pain.

My grief sits on my chest, squeezing my lungs and my heart. No matter how deeply I breathe, the grief will not abate. Oxygen only makes it grow and spill -- out of my mouth, out of my nose, out of my eyes. My grief flows freely.

I want nothing more than to hide my grief. Not so much to protect myself, but perhaps to protect those around me. Grief makes all around me feel so helpless. For there really is nothing to be done -- there are only so many words to be given, so many prayers to be uttered, so many sympathetic looks and hugs to be doled out. Every one of these little efforts provides a welcome, but momentary comfort. I long to reward each effort with signs of getting better, with signs of life, but I find myself unable to.

I fear my grief will bring rejection. It is an ugly fear, one that when voiced will bring great protests. How could one be rejected for their grief? And yet, it is not a fear unfounded. For grief does not bid drawing close. I will more often than not appear closed off, negative even. Mostly, I will appear a little lost, as if I am somewhere else rather than with you. For some, the rejection will come naturally, it will even feel justified. "It's too much," they will tell themselves, "She needs more help than I can afford to give." For others the rejection will feel more helpless, "I don't know what to do. Perhaps she needs to be by herself."

For the most part, no one rejection will come completely from one party. My friends will phase in and out, each taking turns walking me through my grief as they are able. For this I am grateful. I know the weight of my own grief and no one should have to bear it alone, not even me. But for some, my grief will be the catalyst that births a goodbye. I will never know whether to dismiss them, or release them, both feel equally painful and disappointing. Such is the reality of my grief.

My grief often confuses me. In many ways I feel like I have a choice not to grieve. Afterall, whatever has been lost, been broken, been damaged is not permanent. There is always an opportunity for redemption, no matter how seemingly impossible. So why not cheer up, chin up, move on with the full knowledge that whatever happens, happens for good? And yet, when I take a deep breath, it feels like stepping off a cliff. My heart, no matter what I tell it, remains stubbornly sad. It can not be happy. It wants to grieve.

I ponder about laying my grief at the foot of the cross. It seems to be the right thing to do, the solution, if you will, to receive comfort from God. But it occurs to me that I am quick to lay only the negative things at the foot of the cross -- my pain, my grief, my selfish desires. I am also quick to lay down hopes and dreams at the cross, but in a way that bargains, "God, if I lay it down, will you let me pick it up again?"

I wonder if I should instead be laying my whole self at the foot of the cross, no questions asked, no quid pro quo. Here I am, God, grief and all.

I wonder, what would happen then?

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