When I was in school, I had read somewhere, “if there was no pain to hollow out our hearts, where would be the room for joy.” And like so many things you read back then, it made for good brownie points when you put in the essays and debates. Somehow, you never understand few things to their entirety; you just used them and sounded smart.
Last week, I just realized something different. We all react to grief very uniquely. Not one person in this world can possibly handle grief like his next door neighbour. We react differently at different forms of grief as it strikes us most unexpectedly.
Some of us need noise. We shout, we want to the world to know we are sad. It helps us cope when we know that someone else other than us knows what we are going through. Some of us turn religious and accept the fatality of it all. We blame God, we blame ourselves and we find an outlet. Some use humour, using it like a shield behind which we can hide our pain. Some refuse to admit it, trying to continue life as it is, as if not acknowledging it will make it unreal – almost as if it never happened.
Some of us become silent. We internalize it. A short sniff on a phone call to a friend and then the pain is contained deep within. Life goes on as always. We move on. I had never understood the concept of Rudaali from Rajasthan – a group of women paid to cry at the death of the rich. Today somehow I understand their role. Sometimes, you need other people to show external signs of grief when you yourself can’t show it.
Grief changes us. It might or might not make us stronger, but it does take something away from us, something that can never be restored.
Sometimes one of the four little rats remind you what you forget -
“There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of living.”
"Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget that until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words, ‘Wait and hope.'--Your friend, Edmond Dantes, Count of Monte Cristo."
Sometimes you need to face your grief and understand who you are...inside.
And then we wait and hope.