Carrying the pain

I had a heart-to-heart talk with my sister the night before last, the first really good talk we’ve had since I lost my husband. She brought up something I said in my very first blog post, about how I couldn’t take Mike’s pain away or carry it for him when he was with me, but I can and will carry the pain now so that he can be free. “You know you don’t have to carry his pain,” she said. “His pain is gone. He’s at peace now.” I know, I said. What I meant was that I will bear the weight of my own pain, the pain of losing him – and I’ll do it willingly because I’m strong enough to bear it, while the pain Mike was in was unbearable.

“God will carry your pain for you,” my sister said, “when you’re ready to give it up.” I shook my head, tears welling in my eyes. Even if I had her faith, even if I believed it was that simple, I’m not ready to give up the pain of losing my other half. I may want to put it aside for a while and not think about it, but it’s mine to carry. The weight of that pain is what anchors me in this physical world, reminds me that I’m still alive. Without the pain, I couldn’t feel joy; they’re two sides of the same coin. I’m afraid that if I let it go, I wouldn’t feel anything at all.

What I can do is allow others to help me. When I brought up a particularly painful issue in therapy, the fear that had driven me to seek therapy after Mike’s death because I knew I couldn’t cope with it alone… my therapist said, “Thank you for bringing it here. I’ll help you hold it.” I think that is the greatest gift anyone can give me right now. Simply listen, with an open mind and an open heart, and help me hold the pain when it’s too much for me. Or hold me up when grief is breaking me down. I’m reminded of a line from The Lord of the Rings, when Frodo is too weak to go on and Samwise says, “I can’t carry your burden for you, but I can carry you.”

I am truly blessed to have so many people in my life who have, these last four and a half months, frequently picked me up when I’ve stumbled under the weight of grief, opened their arms and their hearts to help me hold the pain, and carried me forward when I thought I couldn’t go on. You know who you are. I love you all.

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~ by hourbeforedawn on July 22, 2010.

4 Responses to “Carrying the pain”

  1. i would feel the same way.

  2. Love you. Period.

  3. your sister is right; God wants and is willing to carry your pain for you. but i understand you wanting to hold on to the pain, when that’s all you have left of him. or at least, i think i do — how can i truly? i pray you reach the point where you feel comfortable letting your burdens down on His back, without feeling like you’re losing your connection to Mike, or your grounding in the physical world. laying down your burdens is hard; for me, it never feels natural. whenever i am confronted with that, i think of this verse from matthew where Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

    Praying for you Lira!

  4. That’s so beautiful, Lira. And it’s beautiful too that support is coming to you from so many sources and perspectives. As you say, you will not be the same person coming out of this that you were going in… And because you’re growing and working your way through so very much, that’s a gift rather than a curse. Hell of a way to get a gift, but a sign of your strength, and a tribute to Mike in a way, that will bring something beautiful out of one the most difficult situations possible.

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