Carrying Grief

statue of Kwan Yin“Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.”
Sheryl Sandberg COO of FaceBook

Grief is a burden that many of us don’t even know we carry. It is simply there, like a part of us, the air we breathe, inseparable from our deepest being.

We mostly don’t know that it is there, ¬†welded into our bones, because it is so ancient that it cannot be seen.

We’ve been carrying it since birth, since before birth. We’ve been carrying it from earliest childhood, from middle childhood, from teenagehood, from adulthood. From the first time one parent or both failed us, from the first time we were abandoned, abused, hurt beyond repair, raped, scolded, hit, shamed, ignored, not seen. This is more than the usual childhood travails, though maybe those do us in as well. I don’t know, because I was thrown into the deep end before I was born.

The first grievous event happens and then  we grow up into the world and all the grievous happenings pile onto our core of grief and make it heavier, push it further into our bones, make it more solid and impermeable.

It is a pain that we carry in our deepest hearts, and that stains our being like dye poured into a mixing bowl, completely coloring all.

Sometimes we are able to see it. When we can we may be able to chip away a little tiny bit of it, maybe just enough to take away one iota of the pain. And maybe take away another chip of it before the next grief hits us.

What I have discovered is that grief is mostly always there when I look for it. But I have also discovered that when I have been able to take it out and look at it–look into my bones and the long hallways of my life where grief lurks, sometimes it can start to evaporate, shrink and shrivel. It doesn’t hit as many nerve endings. It doesn’t consume me.

As Sheryl Sandberg says, sometimes what we feel and have experienced can only be carried. And sometimes knowing what we carry can be good enough.