Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Dark Side Of Grief

There's this dark side that I have been wrapped up in, consumed in, and hidden in for months now.

I see, now, that it was a place of safety. It was a place of healing.

But, oh, how that healing hurts. And that healing can be really scary sometimes.

The ones who grieve and have grieved, there is a side you don't get to see. You don't see it when you pass them in the grocery store or see them out and about running errands.

Sure, they look a little sad. They may even look a little beaten.

But there is a side you don't see.

You don't see them wrestle in the ugly pit of darkness. You don't see them thrashing about as if they are truly being beaten.

You don't hear those anguished questions of "why" uttered.

The ones close to me have. My husband. My sisters. My parents.

They have seen it. They have witnessed it.

The dark side of grief is incredibly ugly. It is incredibly painful. It is incredibly dark. It is incredibly lonely.

There have been amazing people who have taken my hand and walked with me but it is still very lonely. No one can take an once of the pain away.

I realized this the day we buried Emmerson and Vivienne.

My sisters and sister-in-law put together a little dinner at our house after the funeral. I was present physically but not mentally or emotionally. That day, I mainly stared. I couldn't follow conversations. I had no desire to eat. Laughter seemed like a foreign language to me.

I remember as people started to leave I wanted to desperately cling to them and beg them to take me with them. I thought, if I could just leave this place, it will all disappear. If I could just leave this place, I won't feel this pain. 

I also remember feeling deep anger as these people left. I was very aware that they would return to their normal lives once they got in their cars. Where was my normal? 

There was no escaping the pain. There was no getting around that profound, empty hole. I had to go through it and I. DID. NOT. WANT. TO!

The dark side of grief is feeling nothing and everything. It is losing all desire in everything that you once found joy in. It was wanting, begging, pleading for anything to come along and make the pain stop. I understand how addicts become addicts now.

A lot of people would ask me how I was doing physically. If I was healing physically. I would nod but I didn't really know. The pain of losing my girls trumped any other pain that I may have felt. I did not feel physical hunger until three months after goodbye. I know I went days without eating. What was the point?

The dark side of grief is keeping all the blinds shut and wishing the sun wouldn't shine. It is feeling completely pissed off that it came out. How can it continue to shine when the world as you knew it had stopped?

The dark side of grief is wanting to stay locked in your house but wanting to escape at the same time. But once you left your house, you want back in. You wonder where you fit in this world. You don't belong with the masses who are going on about their lives as if they will live forever. As if bad won't strike them.

The dark side of grief is not being able to sleep but not being able to get out of bed in the morning. It is such a heavy weight that ties you to the floor and it seems impossible to even get dressed.

It is looking at your parents and knowing and feeling that you are so much older than they are. It is feeling like you have lived a lifetime. It is looking in the mirror and seeing someone who has aged so many years in so few moments.

The dark side of grief is weeping every single night till the body hurts and you are left wondering when you will be all dried up.

The dark side of grief is ceaseselly praying for your God to take you in your sleep. It is begging Him to stop your heart.

The dark side of grief is looking at a bottle of pills and wondering . . . if I take them all . . .

The dark side of grief for me wasn't that I wanted to die, I just lacked the desire to live. It wasn't that I wanted to die, I just wanted a way for all the pain to end. It was just that I wanted it all to be over. I wanted the suffocating, unbearable weight of pain to be taken from me.

The dark side of grief is ugly. It hurts. It sears. It burns. And you just want someone to take it all away. Or for someone to be able to turn back the hands of time and undo the mess that is now your life.



  1. I feel like I just read exactly what I've been wanting to write for the last 29 months. Thank you for putting those words out there. People realize we're grieving, but none of them realize how deep and dark grief really is.

  2. the dark side of grief is a limbo, where there is no belonging, there is no result, only choice that cannot be made. it is an in-between, without a way to get to either place. the dark side is hollow and empty and void and consuming and terrifying.

    1. Oh my goodness grief is TOTALLY a limbo. That is the exact right word. Thanks for that, Rebecca.

  3. Stephanie, I have Been There. Except for The Bottle of Pills. Mine had a 7.62mm Full Metal Jacket at it's Core. Catching My Image in a Mirror prompted me to Quit It. October 16th, 2010 a little over 2 weeks after watching my remaining Twin Son Brian die. God Bless You.

    1. Thank you for sharing that very painful part of your life with me. I hold that scared. It is so hard for others to understand. I am very thankful you didn't quit.

  4. Oh, wow. I identify so much with your desire to die. Like you, I'm not suicidal. But I just feel "done." Even though I have so much to hope for, so much to live for. I'm tired. Grief has made me tired. So often I have wished that God would have taken me on the same day He let me daughter die. But I guess it wasn't the right time, so I will just have to wait. I am trusting Him that He will make me want to really LIVE this life again as I heal and as time passes. Big hugs to you.

    1. I have to be honest, I almost didn't include the part about the pills. That bottle of pills came the day after the funeral. I had picked that brand new bottle up to put it where it belonged and my mind just went there. That was a very dark moment for me. Even though all I did was wonder as I held that bottle, it was very dark. I was very fearful to include that part for what others might think. I ended up putting it in there because I felt that if I didn't, I wasn't being completely honest. I don't think it speaks of our character when that darkness dares to consume, it speaks of how grief has a mind of its own. How its a place that is so dark, so scary and all consuming. I have to believe that we were spared for a reason. I too, begged and wondered why I wasn't taken with them. I have always heard that losing a child is the worst thing and I honestly know and get that now. I wish I didn't. I wish you didn't. There's a reason parents shouldn't bury their children. But I have to believe there was a reason. Who would continue to speak their names if we weren't here to do so? Would continue to love in death? Who would be left to leave a legacy for them?



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