Feeling into the darkness
I’ve been sitting on this post for a while, unsure whether to publish it because it’s so deeply personal. However, maybe someone can relate to this experience and if it inspires just 1 person to not be afraid of the dark then it was worth posting so here goes….
A little over 5 months ago Simon died. Now it’s unlikely you knew Simon but he was a huge personality with a smile and laugh to match. He was all heart, a man that gave of himself without need for recognition or reward. He had the capacity to hold space for those that needed it, to love unconditionally, never had any hidden agenda, and was so totally comfortable with himself that people would gravitate towards him because they knew they could also be fully themselves in his presence.
His death was sudden and unexpected given that he was 52 and apparently in good health, and it shook me to the core. I’ve lost many loved ones in my life but this was different. People always talk about the stages of grief but I don’t experience it like that. Initially there is shock obviously but no denial, anger or resistance to what’s happened so that just leaves the sense of loss, the sadness, and an overwhelming emptiness inside. I found myself in a very dark place, drowning in grief, feeling like life just wasn’t worth living any more.
The darkness - hopeless, all-consuming, seemingly-endless and devoid of joy. Finding myself in this space, rather than look for a way out, I let myself be there, week after week. My emotions were so raw, unfiltered, and intense that more than once I thought maybe I might need to seek medical help but instead I just stayed with all those feelings, sometimes alone, sometimes in the company of friends who aren’t afraid of conversations about death.
After a few weeks, I sought the wisdom of my teacher and he encouraged me to keep feeling what I was feeling and reminded me that the more intensely I was willing to feel it all, the more quickly the rawness would pass. I knew in my heart it was the only option as the grief was so intense I couldn’t have turned away from it even if I had wanted to. So I let myself fall even deeper into the darkness, not knowing if and when I might come out the other side.
What pulled me through this experience? Connection via the love and support of friends, my child, and trust. I talk a lot about trust but its moments like these when you find out whether you do or don’t trust life and its unfolding. Life is happening, death is happening… within and without… all the time. So make the most of the life you have, make peace with your past, enjoy your body, do more of what makes your heart sing, ask for help when you need it, be kind to yourself and others, be unafraid to be fully yourself, and love with abandon.