35 was not just a figure for me.
When I finished my 35 and was in the early days of 36, my son’s illness was a guest in my life. Although I had been a person who was trying to find an answer to the questions about life cycles and why we, as humanity, exist in this world ever since I could remember, it took me a very long time to make sense of the experience I had. Visiting hospitals and nursing homes, volunteering in aid projects and even creating them except the business life where I was working in financial area had always been my indispensible. However, I found myself in a situation where I couln’t help myself in the experience my son’s illness caused.
Even though understanding what happened to me and denominating the experience I had proceeded like two friends sometimes supporting each other, there were times when I sensed that their paths parted. I needed to dive into deep passages where I returned to my childhood and other griefs when the question of why I couln’t help myself became too intense. When I tried to make sense of the experience I had “in its own”, I needed to increase my observations on what life really is and improve my “listening” skills.
The long thin way proceeding in two paths still continues. So does my grief. Making peace with the ongoing situation of my grief and seeing the naturality of this have brought a sense of liveliness and relief into my life. I realized afterwards that the moments I couln’t help myself were due to the times when I supressed what I was going through ( almost ignored it) and when I couln’t express the feelings I had because of this.
Eventually I allowed fading from the scene with myself to be able to help myself. I started to talk and share. As I shared, I came across with people in the same path as me. Contrary to what is told to us about grief, I saw that grief is not something to overcome and everybody experiences their grief in a different way.
I think withdrawing from oneself is crucial.They say non-interference is the strongest interference. There is so much misunderstanding about grief that we need to forget about more than half of the things we know about it in order to understand what it really is. Exactly at this point, in order to make room for what I am writing now, please presume that most of what you know up to now might not be true. You need to live your grief. You need to see and express your grief. It is not a big deal to appear ( be) strong when it comes to grief. I think there is something like being a grief sleepwalker. I can define it as pretending that grief doesn’t exist to appear strong when, in fact, you are in grief. If you don’t interfere and if you don’t behave as if you weren’t in grief, you don’t get stuck in grief. If you are to get stuck in it, you get stuck even if you interfere.( Yes, there is something like pathologic grief; what we commonly know as “always in grief”, but it doesn’t happen because we don’t interfere in grief. It has a more complicated structure.)
Grief is a process which makes a person’s soul “visible” as it has ever been. It pushes us to a corner where we can’t continue by just pretending. And if we allow in the corner, life changes. While I was wandering in tears and pain in the corner I was puhed to by my son’s illness, I discovered that, in fact, the cure was hidden in the grief itself holding the borders of the corners. In time, I have had the opportunity to accompany those who have a contact with their corners, for which I am grateful. When the person I accompany comes to me stuck in the corner, I tell them to stop and forget what they know. Although it looks like a corner, it is a space open to incredible opportunities, lively and mobile. You either continue counting indefinetely your face on the wall playing hide-and-seek with life in that corner while it continues flowing behind your back or allow the grief to embrace you leaning back in the corner and leaning your head on the walls crying.
Life might proceed differently in those corners you get stuck. As long as you don’t become a grief sleepwalker.