You can’t breathe. You can’t a feel anything really. Certain songs make you cry, as does spilling things, tampon ads and walks in the park - pretty much anything might. There’s this fog between you and the people and activities you used to enjoy - even when laughing - it doesn’t feel real.
This too shall pass; I’m sorry for your loss; You’ll get through this. People aren’t lying, but their platitudes bounce off you. All the air in the world is gone.
You never truly understand grief until you feel it yourself – until it overwhelms you, hitting you in relentless waves as you try and convince yourself everything is going to be okay while every part of you screams that it won’t be and that it can’t ever be okay again.
- “The First Time I Said Goodbye”, Claire Allen
I see and hear you and have been there. After my eldest sister’s brief but brutal fight with cancer I felt exactly like this. For four years I moved through the motions. Work, family, travel, dance. I move countries, had a break from work, married the man of my dreams….. But I still felt stuck.
Unable to truly feel anything, dulled, numb, void of sensation. Outwardly appearing okay. Only my husband, my rock, witnessing the depth of pain - and even then only in sudden outbursts and depression. Eventually he pushed me to get help.
So I tried everything - therapy, drinking then recovery, dance classes, talking, talking, alternative therapies, more talking. Some of it helped on and off, but still - no air, no joy, no pleasure.
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.
At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
Then I stumbled on Feminine Embodiment and the depth and breadth of my body became real. I allowed my pain to take up space. I uncovered the black pit of loss and sorrow. I could feel the shape of this hole in my heart and the tunnel it created down into my soul. It felt heavy, and huge.
I gave it room to breathe, and in time, I could breathe alongside it. I authentically experienced the pain within and felt the open air around me again. My body felt lighter and more receptive. Energy seemed to bubble up when I considered activities I used to enjoy but hadn’t for a long time. I remembered what it was to connect emotionally with experiences and with others.
Now I want to offer that to you. I invite you to explore those depths of your own unique experiences. To open up your body, mind and heart to feel and in doing so, find your own space to breathe again.