The persimmon’s are predicting a snowy winter. Fall is progressing in stages. Early on we were told we would have little color then they said we would have good color. Trees that should have turned already have not. Trees that turned early are bare. Then there was a line of storms that raced up with moisture from the Gulf and every leaf that could fall, did fall. Behind that came a cold front.
Just watching the weather makes me wonder why we ever expect anything to be predictable.
Meg Goldner Rabinowitz wrote this Haiku
True grief: the process
of letting go of the way
you thought things would be
She said I could share her poem and I appreciate how succinctly she put this truth. One of the other people commenting on her poem said that this was a universal truth that anyone regardless of their experience could identify with. I agree.
We are disappointed when things don’t turn out the way we thought they would. This is true in matters great and small. There is no way to compare or compete when it comes to grief. Sufficient for the day is the grief therein.
Meg uses the word “process.” It is a process. A hourly, daily, week-by-week process that each grieving parent works through in their own way. It does not mean letting go of the person. Those of us who have lost a child can’t let go of the person. Is is “letting of the way you thought” and painfully learning to think in a different way. There is anger and frustration to be faced in this part of the process and the words “this is not fair” will come to mind a lot. Sometimes you will realize you are thinking about the things you thought would be more than the person themselves and that is okay too. It is all a part of the process.
There are a lot of things I need to sort back through in my life and apply this to. Letting go of the way I thought things would be with my mother, my family, parts of the community I associate with. I also need to let go of some of the blame. Some of the fault is mine whether intentional or not. Some of the blame is based on neglect.
I have neglected so many things over the past three years for many different reasons. Those three years are gone and I cannot change them. I can release some of the regret and understand those days were spent and not able to be redeemed.
Some of blame rests on what most of us suffer with, an irrational need and expectation of control. We say we know we have no control, yet we do have expectations of what should be or could have been. The process is not foolproof or even linear but recognizing our lack of control continues to cause pain.
Sitting and projecting how I thought things would be and holding on to that, yearning for it does not help. Meg doesn’t tell us how to stop. She does say that the process of letting go is a source of true grief. I think she is right.
I can’t tell you that I think there is a solution for this cycle we find ourselves in, but there may be some relief. It is like we are holding the reins to fourteen teams of horses each pulling in a different direction. Some we need to hold back and some we need to let run. Our hand grip those reins so tightly we can’t figure out which rein lead to which horse. We can’t bring ourselves to let go of them all at once but slowly tracing with our eyes we figure out which team is attached to which set of reins.By manipulating we can let those reins slip from our grip. We don’t need to hold on to all of them all of the time.
We will always grieve our child. We cannot make anything we thought would be; be. The source and principle player in that scenario is no longer here. Let the horses run. Today I will let some of the horses run. We can let them run together.