Clouds gather moisture–sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. Eventually the moisture outweighs their ability to hold on. And that is when the rain starts: sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. Sometimes in a deluge.
Grief, the pain of loss, is so often the same, but never more so than for children who experience a terrific trauma. For me, it was the death of my mom. I was eleven (she was 47), and suddenly the landscape of my life was swept away. I sat on a hill overlooking a lake contemplating the rest of my life: without her.
The moisture started to gather in my cloud base of emotions. Pain, fear, frustration, and isolation accumulated inside of me. One day the clouds burst and I started to cry. It was a brief interval of tears that allowed some release, but didn’t bring healing. I was alone in a room, then joined by a girl I had known since I was five years old, who asked about my pain.
I broke down sobbing, doubled over, facing the floor. It was almost a lament. Almost.
She became silent and still. Not a muscle moving–no comfort or affection for me, and I came out of my storm and noticed this. She could not, or would not, join me. I believe now that she perhaps felt the storm of my emotion severely–she had been taken from her own mother about age 2, probably couldn’t remember that, but felt the grief.
She looked scared.
I felt fear–hers and mine.
I was afraid of how intense and primal my own grief felt in that brief reprieve.
And so I began again, to store up the pain in the clouds. This time they built up over years, not days.
When the cloud burst came again, it was a tsunami.
If you’ve been holding onto pain and loss for a very long time, you might think “I’ve got this”. Or maybe you already know this is a temporary solution.
The long term solution is in the tears. Tears are designed to help us heal. So when the clouds burst and the sorrow flows from your eyes, let it go…let it flow. The secret isn’t to let the person you lost go–don’t believe anyone who tells you to let someone you love “go”.
The answer is to let the tears flow, like rivers. Letting go means giving yourself the gift of sadness. The tears will carry your pain, and you with it, to a place where you can remember the great memories. And that is when you will begin to heal.