Grief is selfish, and it needs to be.
When death hit and my life exploded, I scrambled to save all the pieces before they were lost. I had to be selfish with my time because no one else knew what to say for someone who died suddenly in her forties. I had to do it myself, and it took all my energy to get up, go to work, make something for dinner, and endure the long nights without my wife.
As I learned grief’s ways, there came a time down the road when I began to see the world again. I noticed other people who were grieving, and felt the desire to use what I was learning to help them.
In Pema Chodron’s book When Things Fall Apart, she mentions a one-breath-out meditation in several places. The first time she does, she speaks of the willingness to die in the time after exhalation before inhalation begins, and calls it a little death.
This reminds me of something I experienced in the days right after Evelyn died. I would breathe out and not want to breathe in again. Then my body’s reflexes kicked in and dragged me back. I’m not saying I wanted to die, although I would have been perfectly happy doing so because living without Evelyn was too painful. There was just something in that moment when I was emptied of breath that I think ties into what Chodron is saying. I noticed that in that brief moment I felt balanced and at peace. Continue Reading…