It is expected, often assumed, that wisdom is always the fruit of age. Even though we empirically know this is an inaccurate assumption, we still expect it. So many whiplash experiences come hurtling through the trees to hit us squarely in the heart as we journey along this blue planet it is painful to imagine we glean nothing useful from them. So when we catch our breath from the latest unexpected, unasked for, and unwanted sneak attack we often pause and we wonder…. is there anything of value here? Have I been left with anything other than memories of a better day? Does there remain the knowledge of a divine alchemy by which I can create a balm for my soul? One that might keep it open and unlatched despite the dreadful knowledge I now possess?
A lot of words have been written about grief, almost as many as have been written about love. This is only fitting, of course. For as I wrote when Edward died, grief is indeed the price we pay for love. Or as another person put it, to fall in love is to receive an engraved invitation to grief. One thing I have come to realize in these few short weeks without my magical creature beside me is that those are the only two feelings we have. Love, and Grief. Mirror images of one another. Great, expansive webs into which all the other emotions are captured and held. The siren song of love is only heard by all the sweet spirits that flow from its source to fall like soft, warm rain on our hearts: laughter, kindness, hope, joy. While grief lures into its chasm all that is dark; we approach it with the trepidation it deserves and we cling to its sides till our fingers bleed lest all the goodness we long to preserve is sucked down and lost forever in its bitterness and fear.
There is the old saying, oft repeated, that grief is only healed by time. To the grief-stricken this is sometimes heard as a warning. We don’t necessarily want our grief to heal, for healing implies forgetting and that’s the last thing we wish to contemplate. To resign a great love to the occasional memory is anathema. We want them with us always, in whatever form they choose to take - bitterness can seem preferable to nothingness. No, any healing power that time imparts is the power of courage, for courage is what we need to continually wrest our souls back from the blackness of grief. It takes courage to set grief aside and choose gratefulness instead. It takes courage to turn one’s back on the trauma of loss and choose to love again - to choose to always love. And make no mistake, grief is a formidable foe; it has the power to make this a difficult choice.
If my age has imparted to me anything resembling wisdom, this one thing I do know: Love is stronger than grief. So everyday, in small ways and big ones, I keep on choosing love. To do so leaves me unprotected from the welts of grief, I know this too well. But it also keeps me from sliding down into its dark hole, abandoned and alone. These past few weeks I have been buoyed by friends and readers who have known the sharp stab of grief themselves. I will forever be thankful for their generosity of spirit. But grief is a solitary journey; no one can walk it for you. It is a deal you make when you choose to love. Love. And Grief. Having sat in the halls of both, I will still choose love.
The Songwriter and I were scheduled to travel to Scotland last month. When we received Edward’s shocking diagnosis, however, we cancelled our trip, never dreaming he’d be gone in eight short days. So we are going in a few days. I have written often about the magic bestowed upon me by the Highlands of Scotland and am looking forward to their healing powers now more than ever. If you would like to follow along on this journey, you may do so on my Instagram page, HERE. It is titled Pamela and Edward, and will always remain so.