“You’re taking this grieving thing too far,” he said, shaking his head, and giving me a searing look. If we shared a thousand more hours and a million words, he’d be no closer to understanding anything about my ways of dealing with grief.
“A dozen people getting together. It’s not like we’re tearing our hair out or shredding our shirts or anything. What’s the problem with talking and connecting?” I asked, eyeing the last piece of pizza. His eyes focused on the dining room table, now covered with dirty paper plates and empty wineglasses. “People grieve in different ways,” I added, wondering if he had ever experienced deep debilitating grief. I’d never wish that for him. But how could one know joy without acknowledging loss? If he simply slipped past all of life’s sadness, like driving through stop signs late at night when no one’s looking, would his life be better?
“Help yourself to some shrimp cocktail. And take some dumplings,” I said, impatient to get back to my guests. I’d left them parked on the deck with six different desserts, overlooking the five-million-year-old boulders planted around the pond. We’d been discussing our children, the age of the rocks, the possibility of an afterlife, Stephen Hawking’s multiple dimensions, living with lymes disease, and where to buy chocolate mice. In this group I could say anything and never hear, “ You’re taking your grieving too far.”
The dog and I returned to the circle outside and the conversation continued around us. The sky grew darker. The grunts of the bullfrogs grew louder. The dog fell asleep at our feet. And too soon everyone was smiling, saying thank you and goodbye.
They were gone before the full moon rose over the pond. Then, the dog trailed me as I cleared the deck, and we watched the fractured reflection of the moon in the black pond. I made a wish that all who suffer might find friends to sit with during their dark times.
What helps you deal with emotional pain? Sharing with a friend? Joining a group? Talking to God? Talking to the moon? To the dog?