Friday, June 10, 2011
Grief is not universal. Not all deaths are equal, not all deaths carry the same weight across the spectrum. Often people believe they can relate to someone else's grief when in fact hey have no idea to the depth of sorrow and pain. While I appreciate all words of sympathy from whoever offers it up, most people have never had a relationship with a living soul as deep as the one I enjoyed with Erin and that stems from myself making her the center of the universe for nearly 12 years. How can the average person who kept a dog tethered to a tree in the backyard while offering that creature the bare necessities of life expect to understand what I felt when my angel passed away? His dog is a second thought while every decision I made for over a decade including employment opportunities and social events were done in the best interest of Erin. He shed a few tears, buried it in the back yard, and then replaced the dog the following day, that connection and bond is entirely different than the one I built to incredible heights.
It's difficult to relate when you haven't been immersed in such a relationship yourself and while I can envision the pain there's no way I'd understand the sorrow felt by a woman who lost her husband after a long marriage. I haven't been in her position and experienced 50 years of true love so how can I expect to truly fathom the heartwrenching agony and loneliness she feels upon his death. A father losing his child to cancer is totally foreign to those of us who have been spared the horrific journey and final outcome, we imagine the emotions as the child takes his final breath but in reality we have no clue. For someone to fully comprehend they must trod the same path, experience the peaks and valleys of that bond and only then will they be able to say they understand what lies in the heart and mind. The road one travels is specific to their situation and not easily understood by outsiders, unique emotions ensure the journey will be completed in isolation for the most part and while words can temporarily soothe the pain, the sufferer must find a way through the maze alone.
Everyone attach's a different value to life, some treat every death as a catastrophe event while others view every departure as insignificant and for them life resumes with little fanfare. Either way is acceptable as one must do what it takes to survive the recovery phase while putting themselves in the best position to continue on the path called life. We have no right to judge others afflicted with grief and no one should assume they can grasp the emotions I feel in the wake of Erin's death; to suffer a loss of the utmost degree is really unexplainable and it must be experienced first hand. The deaths of family and friends in the past were met with tears and a brief mourning period before resuming life but this has been different for many reasons; to lose a best friend, soul mate and outlet to the world in an instant is difficult to say the least. One must suffer physical, emotional, and mental breakdowns for an extended period in order to fathom what has beset me; the passing of Erin has been an unbelievable loss and no one will truly know what resides in my heart. My grief is an individual battle that can only be conquered by myself but that's not to say I must travel down the path alone so please come along if you wish... RIP Erin!!
Grief is itself a medicine. ~William Cowper, Charity