Nothing in Life Prepares One to Grieve

A woman who lost her husband of 49 years pulled me aside after I spoke at a meeting and said, “Ray, no one knows until they know.” I knew she was speaking about the intense suffering associated with her grief. Grieving had taken hold of her. I understood. I journaled about my grief when it first struck me in Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again. Here is an excerpt from my journal.

“Nothing in life prepared me for this moment of loss. I witnessed others face this moment from a compassionate and safe distance, but I didn’t own the moment with them. I was there for others because it was what one does for those we care about. I was empathetic. I was being a good person. I’d send a note or flowers. I learned I knew nothing about grieving. I had no clue to the depths of the suffering in front of me.

When grief took hold of me, I quickly learned of its power. I learned of its stubborn refusal to let go. I felt it imposing its will upon me. Grief owns me and batters me relentlessly with its gale-force winds day and night with no end in sight. There is nothing I can do to hide from it, toss it aside, or stuff it in the hidden spaces of my mind. Like an unwanted relative, grief didn’t wait for me to answer the doorbell, it walked right in and announced it was moving in with no intention to leave.”

Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again. Available in paperback and ebook formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

Excerpt From

Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again

Raymond Calabrese

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