By Alexa Keating Submitted On April 17, 2017
Is this really happening... it has to be a dream; these are words born in the state of confusion that ensues when suddenly we wake up and realize they are gone. Gone is a lonely, desolate word delivering a cold harsh reality with awful finality. Gone carries the sound of the human heart breaking into pieces. It invites us to cover our heads and go back to sleep, back to yesterday when nothing was changed. Regardless of how strong and competent you may be the loss of someone you love is accompanied by a host of fears.
Will you make it through this, will your world ever be the same again, will you ever stop hurting, or how can life ever be the same again? These are the fears that accompany a profound loss. Somehow diving back under the covers to dream time is a natural response. And why not; we heal when we sleep. This kind of traumatic change inflicts deep wounds, the kind we can't see but can never stop feeling. We instinctively run to the place where the pain stops, even momentarily. There is a need to return to sleep where we can once again touch the one who is gone.
For those who have experienced a profound loss, they know this is true. When we sleep those barriers born of 'good common sense' are down. When we dream we touch that which has gone, seeking answers that haunt us. We pray it was just our imagination telling lies, maybe they didn't really say goodbye; we need to ask those haunting questions, 'Can you hear me, are you OK, are you in pain, did you know how much I loved you; do you know how much I hurt?' These are a few of the answers we are seeking; we have to know, seemingly because we cannot go on until we do. And so we sleep until we find the truth, and there where our filters and bias are gone we find our answers. We don't really need an affirmation; we just know we have made the connection and learned the truth. We are fully awake again, wobbly, but able to test the road forward and learn to navigate without them. It really happened, it was not a dream.
There is no painless way to lose a loved one. It is a unique experience for everyone. No one can do more than understand your pain. Everything else is personal, as it should be. It is a broken road to travel yet in some odd way your grief protects you, forcing you to go slowly and see every option before you. This is necessary and helps you to see more clearly as you choose the right turn for you, onto a new path and a new future. It may never be pain free but you will always be more aware of how important today is and how comforting memories will always be. There is a startling clarity in creating new memories because you understand how important it is to capture and hold them close.
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