When Silence Fails

I thought that after coming back to campus (the first time), I would be OK. It felt that way on the outside, but as the following poem says, deep down my feelings and emotions were like a sleeping monster.  When I went home for Country Thunder, it was like being slapped in the face (figuratively speaking). I did my best to keep quiet, but it made those three weeks a lot worse. 

And that’s why I haven’t really written on here in that time; I was afraid that by trying to discuss it in writing, it would come out wrong and be completely misinterpreted. I actually did try several times, but always wound up deleting it. I remembered that when I’m really sad or even angry, I write poetry as a response. So in the midst of trying to find a counselor or a pastor to talk to, I thought I would share this. I wrote it as a way of expressing how I’ve been dealing with these last two months, and my frustration at not being able to connect with the people around me.

The Life of Grief
Grief comes in many different forms
Morphing and changing with the passage of time
A tidal wave that washes over you, drenching you with tears
Chilled to the bone in shock
Natural, yet paralyzing
If not expressed, it can become a monster
Sitting in the underbelly of the layers of what makes us human
Clawing, tearing, and lashing
I try to keep it at bay for the sake of others
But I’m not one to hide or fake a smile
It’s just not possible
And when it finally breaks free
It can either feel good, or leave wounds
Deeper than when the first tragedy struck
Grief has two lanes
One where there’s a legacy to honor
To give love and spread kindness, as that person did
There’s no traffic and you just keep going
The other is when you can’t ignore the hurt beating against your chest
You can’t deny that something big has changed
While not knowing what the “new normal” is
Figuring out if maybe you’ve hit a detour
Or you’re dealing with a hurting or bruised
If not broken heart
This is not a something that anyone can ease
There is no such thing
As making the hurt and loss completely go away
But even if you don’t know what it’s like
To travel this road
That doesn’t mean your presence has no value
Pain has no comparison
So don’t wipe away their tears
And command them to be strong
This is not about avoiding awkwardness
Let them show what they feel
Connection doesn’t always mean sharing similar experiences
It doesn’t always have to involve words
Ask, don’t assume

If nothing else, embrace them
 And let them know you’re there
Not just in the physical sense
But that you support them
Even if you’ve never been in their shoes

You don’t have to hold their hand
Just walk with them
Respect their feelings and expression
And allow them to heal

photo credit: Paolo Margari via photopin cc

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