I have attended two funerals in two weeks.
The first death, though of someone not related or extremely close to me still, pierced my heart, leaving it open and raw to receive the news this week that my twenty-seven year old nephew lost his battle with addiction.
I have attended two funerals in two weeks
Each time wondering at the sterile way we treat death, at what are acceptable and unacceptable displays of grief, at the industry that preys on our insecurities, our uncomfortableness, our fears.
Why do we expect those who have lost the most to be strong in the midst of the greatest pain a person can know? Tell me when is the right time, where is the right place, for a grieving mother or father to break down? How do we paste a smile on our face and shove that in front of a brokenhearted parent or grandparent and say, “you have to be strong. He would want you to be strong,” shutting down the tears, the pain, the grief? What right do we have to do that just so we won’t be uncomfortable, just so we won’t have to deal with that amount of raw emotion?
Please, may I say, please hold off on your judgment. I know there are those who think the one who enables, the one who struggles with the same disease, has no right to his grief. You are wrong. We ALL must enter into this broken place. We all must acknowledge and embrace the pain. This journey is what brings wholeness, eventually, it does bring wholeness. Here or there.
Do we not understand that the effort to deny the pain is the core of addiction? Do we not understand that by shutting down this process, we,in turn, are perpetuating the same behavior of not acknowledging, not learning how to be with pain, with things that are uncomfortable. Do we not see that in some ways we might all have addictions but ours are more acceptable and less devastating. Might we all be trying to avoid the pain, trying to be strong, trying to make it through another day?
I don’t want my living to be this way. I want to learn to sit with grief, with pain, with even just being uncomfortable. I certainly don’t want my experiences with death to be captive to what we consider respectful and normal.
Life is messy. Death is messy.
Let it be so.