Monday, September 17, 2012

The Primal Nature of Grief

 --> The Primal Nature of Grief

It has been my experience that grief comes in succeeding waves. When I could ride the wave to the crest and express whatever was there, the wave ebbed, and in between the waves I could live for a while. Surprisingly, the intense bouts were relatively short. I don’t think they ever lasted even ten minutes. I learned this important lesson because I happened to be in primal therapy at the time of Sharon’s death. The core thrust of this therapy is deep grief; it was permitted and encouraged. Even so, my expressions were very primitive, because the loss of a child is, well, primal. Primal feelings are wordless, with the intensity of a race car driver’s focus, and almost that loud, like a Formula One car. The wailing and keening has a quality that goes below any thoughts or concepts, more like a wolf howling, that communicates everything without any words. It was a surprise to me that after the grief bout I usually found words and concepts to use with my clients as they struggled to express their feelings. That was a bonus I never expected. People—clients and friends—have often asked me what is to be gained by crying or screaming or any overt expression of distress. Part of the answer is that there develops a continuity and context for all the mysterious stuff we feel and do. Out of the feelings come the answers to the whys. 

This paragraph may seem arbitrary and senseless for today, a bright sunny beautiful day in the mountains.  Thus is the nature of tragedy, it comes out of the blue and the beauty of the day doesn't stop it.