Yesterday was an uphill climb. All day. My friend's death hit me hard, and gave me no room to move and breathe without finding grief and sadness waiting for me. One death is tied into other deaths, as one falling rock creates a landslide, and my tears for my boss and friend became intermingled with my feelings about my dad's death eight years ago, under very similar circumstances.
There is no manual on how to feel in these situations. You have to walk through the pain, and the anger, and the fear and the overwhelming sadness. There is no shortcut if you want to heal with only a small scar instead of a gaping wound that doesn't quite close. You can't rush it. It's not an exact science. It is what it is, and nothing more or less than that.
For my Type A personality, this grieving process is difficult. It's not cut and dried. I can't plan for it, scheduling it in for a more convenient time in my calendar. I have been slammed emotionally for going on five weeks now. One tricky emotional problem after another has been confronted and worked through, and with no warning at all, there's something else to manage.
Yesterday my cup was empty when I had to face this pain and shock. Naturally people who knew my friend wanted to talk to me about her, and offer sympathy, and try together to make some sense out of a situation that was impossibly difficult. I felt I had nothing to give. My instinct was to hide away, not answer my phone, and get off Facebook.
Something curious happened, and I discovered that even when I felt I was at the bottom of my exhaustion and grief, if I thought about what I could do for someone else, there was a little energy there. Not enough to even notice, but when I made a meal for the widower and collected other meals from caring friends and drove them over to him, I did have something of myself that I could give, and it meant something to him.
I was moved and inspired by the group of neighbours, family and friends at his house. Everyone felt as emotionally bankrupt as I did, but we were there, and we told him we loved him and cared about him, and even though it felt like nothing at all, it was actually something that we were all doing. It was the best we could do in such horribly sad circumstances to demonstrate our love for him and honour her.
This kind of community when the chips are down is why I wanted to live in a small town. When we need each other, people are there for us, and when we feel we have nothing to give, we find we give anyway, and experience some measure of blessing in that generosity. I learned a powerful lesson yesterday. It's not about me. My emotions and my schedule comes further down the list when there is a crisis. I saw "all hands on deck" at that house yesterday and I saw that it worked, with each person feeling insignificant, but together we made a difference.