Jan 26, 2011

On grief and fog


A piano spotted sitting on a sandbar in the water by residents that live along Biscayne Bay in North Miami in the Quayside Towers condominiums near Biscayne Blvd. and NE 107 St., is pictured here on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011.

Mysterious grand piano found on Biscayne Bay sandbar - Miami-Dade Breaking News -

So, a grand piano has been found abandoned on the highest point of a sand bar in Florida. 
I love this story for several reasons.
To begin with, who is not wondering what the story is on this?
Was this someone's reaction to their ex getting the piano in the divorce?  Did the person who played it die and this is a kind of memorial?  How in the world did they get it there?  There must, MUST be a good story behind it. 
But I don't really want to know what that story is.  To know the truth would ruin the whole thing for me.

I prefer to believe it was left as a kind of memorial. 
The picture, to me, perfectly illustrates the state of being known as "grief".  The once grand and beautiful, gleaming piano sits on the sand, abandoned, used and ruined for all practical intents and purposes.  But someone once loved it very, very much.  That someone would not be put off by the piano's appearance now.  That person would only see all the wonderful memories this piano holds for them.  That person would see beauty in the waves rolling in around that piano.  I would like to see a picture of it with that happening.  I would like to see a picture of it with fog rolling all around it.
Fog is similar to grief in my mind.  Grief comes upon you like a wave and knocks you off your feet.  It does this regardless of whether you know it is coming and have had time to prepare for it. 
There is no "preparing" for grief. 
It comes and you are suddenly floating upside down in the tide of life, hearing the scraping of the shells and the sand, and not even caring if it drags you down and takes you away.  Being taken away can seem like a pretty good option in this state, but of course, in your heart you know it could never be that easy.  You know in your heart you are going to have to stand and endure it even though you would rather hide away and forget it. 
You move in a fog of grief.  You speak slower and softer.  Everyone else seems to also.  The edges of all things are blunted by how disconnected you feel to, well, pretty much everything.  You are lost in the fog of grief.  It is like a coccoon, sheltering and obscuring you to others.  You are not alone, but you wish you were.  You sense other shapes moving but can't make them out.  Perhaps for the first time in your life, people finally leave you alone.  So you can sleep.  Trouble is, you can't sleep.  And every time you do, there is a horrible "remembering" because your grief is the first thing in your mind when you wake up.  You have to get used to it all over again.
You are suddenly aware of how many things you could not care any less about.  The world keeps spinning and you are amazed by that too.  It seems like time stops when you get hit by grief, but it turns out this only true for you.  Time does not really stop, you just cease to care about it.
The fog lifts gradually.  You don't really notice it going away until one day you are transfixed by some thing that has been illuminated in a ray of light that has made it through the fog.  You realize you just felt happy and then you immediately feel guilty for feeling happy.
Then one day you realize the fog has gone, you have kept moving long enough to simulate the living of a normal life.  The pressure is off enough for you to look back and assess the damage.
The thought that you are the only person who truly knows what the damage is feels like another responsibility that must remain a secret.  You wonder if you will always feel so alone and realize that the answer is probably yes.  You wonder if you will have to keep pretending your whole life.  You wonder if everyone else is just pretending too.
Does grief ever pass?  Not to my knowledge.  It just becomes a part of you and you alone have to decide how much a part of your life grief will manage to claim.
The good news is, with grief comes stark, brutal truth.
Everyone who is born must some day die.  We know this. 
The trick to dealing with grief, for me, has been to not lose the lesson of dying. 
The lesson of dying is how very beautiful our lives are.  Even the most miserable life is surrounded by breathtaking beauty in this world.
The lesson of dying is to do the very best you can every time, no matter what the cost, because when your time comes you want to be proud of your life and how you lived it.  You want to have no regrets but for the temporary separation of you from your loved ones. 
It is a temporary separation.  This is the hope that will help you get up every morning, face your brutal reality, and keep moving to simulate the life of a responsible person.
While simulating this life, look up.  Look up and see how beautiful this world is.  Every moment of our days and nights there is beauty all around us.  Learn to be thankful for beauty and joy, and do not feel guilty.  Your loved one would not want that.  They would want you to have the full experience that you have been put on this earth to fulfill. 

Everything that happens to you, good or bad, shapes you.  Use it all.  Be willing to adjust to the changes God puts in your life.  Ride the current, rather than wasting all your strength fighting against it.  We only get one ride.  Make the most of it.
And when you pray, pray the only prayer you ever need to know:  Thy will be done.
Then just trust. 
The fog will lift, eventually.  Grief will become part of you, making you more than you were before.