Dipping some toes in the pool of sorrow

Published 3:03 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2018

In the woods, he discovered that a fallen tree had partially blocked a flowing stream creating a pool of water.  He paused for a moment and sat down to reflect on how that image represented his current grief journey, one that has taken many twists and turns since the death of his wife, and he took special care to note that life was continuing all around him, and that made his heart feel less broken and more alive.

The fallen tree reminded him of the life they had shared together, its falling representing her death and the impact it was making on his current state of mind.  She had always been the “strong one”, the one who fought every battle and was determined to thwart death’s efforts around every corner.  And he was the rock that supported her in her endeavors, his strength evident in his caregiving and devotion to her dreams and the vision they held steadfast about their future together, not willing to let them go.  In its falling, the tree created a pool of water that he envisioned “soaking in” and even referred to it as the “pool of pain.”  Because as beautiful as that water shimmered in the forest light, he thought of it as something that called to him to remain closer to his grief, that by swimming in its waters, he could stay immersed in his anguish and keep her memory close.

Because you see, that was his biggest fear, the “losing of the memories” and he was determined to blaze every piece of her into his mind.  He doesn’t want to forget her, and for those grieving, it seems impossible that we could ever forget someone whom we have shared so much of our lives with or have created a love that should stand the test of time, and yet, it happens.  We do start to forget and the memories begin to fade over time which is another level of grief that many wish to avoid.  And like this gentleman, he is trying his hardest to keep her alive by writing down his thoughts; by telling her of his daily efforts and accomplishments and by taking pictures of things he knows that she would like or would make her smile.

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There are moments that he thinks he is ready to step over that fallen tree and carry on with his walk in the woods, but the pool of pain and sorrow keep him rooted for the time being.  And, like many others, this is a part of the journey that is so important- the remembering, the feeling and the acknowledging of the life that they once shared together.  Some find themselves “stuck” here longer than others and some it is because of their own choosing while others become frustrated and angry at the feeling of not being able to “move forward.”  The fact remains that our grief path encounters many obstacles such as these and how we face them or overcome them is unique for each individual.

At least for this gentleman, he is in touch with his pain and can liken his wife’s death to that of this majestic and glorious tree that has fallen along his path.  He has dipped his toes in the pool of sorrow and has felt the intensity of loss, but at the same time, he can see beyond the pool the path that re-emerges on the other side and he is focused on arriving there.  And, when he does, he knows he will not be leaving his love behind, he will instead be carrying it with him, both pain and hope guiding his steps along the way.