One Old Man’s Experience of Grief

I found this on the internet, but I could not find the name of the author. However, I thought it worth repeating because what he says is very profound:

‘I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbours and a host of others.’

‘I wish I could say that I got used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me when somebody I love dies, no matter what the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter”. I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and relationship that I had for and with that person, and if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it! Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life and are only ugly to people who can’t see’

‘ As for grief, you’ll find that it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and magnificence of the ship that was and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of wreckage and you hang on form a while. Maybe its some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while all you can do is float. Stay alive.’

‘ In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hand on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but the come further apart. When they come they still crash all over you and wipe you out, but in between you can breath, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief: it might be a song, a picture or the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything, and the wave come crashing. But in between the waves, there is life.

‘ Somewhere down the line, and its different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And whilst they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas or visiting a familiar place. You can see it coming for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, spluttering, still hanging on to some piece of wreckage, but you’ll come out.’

‘ Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come, and you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.’

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