Chapter 13 – A Community of Brokenness
by – Jerry Sitser
My viewpoint of this authors words and experience in comparison to my loss and my life. Nothing more…..
I could seriously stop after the first paragraph because it is where I am today and where I appear to be stuck. You see when you have lost, you have lost hard, lost much, lost hope, lost love, lost joy, lost self. So when the author says “Loss is also a solitary experience. …like physical pain, we know it is real only because we experience it uniquely within ourselves. When a person says, ‘You just don’t know what I have gone through and how much I have suffered,’ we must acknowledge that he or she is entirely correct. We do not know and cannot know.”
For me that is one of the hardest things to understand both from the griever’s perspective and the very people who try to help. I find myself getting very irritated when someone “assumes” they know my pain. They cannot. Loss is so unique to each and every person. It begins way before the loss and flows through into the loss and breaks open after the loss and sometimes, the pieces are hard to put back together.
I find it hard to explain that this is something I have to face alone. Because I experienced my loss alone. It was mine to experience, not that I wanted it, but it was mine. I know it well, I’ve experienced numerous times, each uniquely different and devastating in their own ways. There is though a fine line between working through the loss alone and being alone. But it’s in the finding of the right people to be alone with that creates much angst for me.
Sharing my pain, my loss, my experience is hard to do. I find it makes me uncomfortable to have people share in what I find revolting to experience. Why on earth would I want to share it. I don’t even want it. But over the years I have shared it and I still find it uncomfortable, in fact, sometimes it’s harder to face.
Interestingly enough people have helped me more than I could ever have imagined. Came to my rescue when I was at the bottom of my pain and lifted me up. My family came when I needed them. A few people knew instinctively when to call and when to just “show up” at the door. Those were the times when, as I look back, were the most critical to my recovery during those early months.
But there were others in my life that chose to stay away. I imagine for various reasons, I mean really why would you want to face mortality in the face of people you love while you watch them react to the very thing you don’t want to think about. As a griever you feel like you have “leprosy” as the people begin to stay away. Fall out of your life – creating more loss – more pain. Not intentional by any means, but the damage is staggering.
The community of brokenness comes from so many sources during times of loss. Loss is universal as Sittser explains. It happens. It’s inevitable. I know my community came from some unlikely sources and from places I didn’t expect. Some come because they have lost something at some point. Some come and go and stay just long enough to make a difference. I felt a sense of calm much like the eye of a hurricane. Just hanging on the edge of insanity – life out of control and just waiting for me to burst.
I’m thankful for that community who chose to serve and stand by me during that time. I couldn’t have made it through those early months and years without them. But now I find I’m back in familiar, yet unwanted territory. You see my friends, my loss of Brittany left me blind-sided. It took the wind out of my sails. It blew a hole so large in my life that I felt the value of my life had been sucked out and into the hurricane of grief. That feeling is still present today. It wanes. It pounds. It crashes.
Sittser touches on a subject very close to my heart and that is this….the fear of loss again creates a dilemma for him and it does for me. The problem of choosing to love again is that the choice of love means living under the constant threat of further loss. And that is where I stand today. I can’t seem to move beyond that space. You know that space I’ve written about before.
“The space where I exist and the space where I want to be is paper thin.” – Malissa Moss
I feel I’m at a crossroads so to speak with moving forward or remaining frozen in time without hope. I know in mind that love is good. But my reality is I know love is loss.
I can read all day, Sittser reminds me of so many things I try very hard to believe, to live, to embrace – loss increases our capacity to love says Sittser, but it also increases the sorrow and suffering when loss happens again, and it will. Choosing to love again brings me such anxiety as I know it will also bring loss and more grief. I am not so sure I am ready for that. But I also know I am human and need love to survive.
until next time,