Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I Wouldn't Trade the Pain.....for the Dance

By Cherie Houston

No matter how strong typical pain is, it is usually something can we can’t truly recall... Oh we certainly can remember that the pain was uncomfortable and that we hurt and that we may not want to feel it again, such as the intense pain or a broken bone, or very bad back, or having a heart attack or debilitating migraine, or even the pain often experienced by childbirth, which many of us knows totally disappears when our new infant looks at us.. No we may remember that the pain was uncomfortable, but the memory doesn't put us back in that place, we simply remember that it hurt!.

I have found, however that the pain of grief is very different. For those of us who have lost a child or children, the tragedy of another’s child death – whether a child we know or not, can bring us to our knees and truly put us back into that sense of loss and overwhelming helplessness of those first few days weeks and months.  I’m sure it’s a deep empathy for the other parents, knowing that the pain of grief of losing a child is a pain that no one should ever have to experience....

But I've also found that when I learn of a death of someone I know (or tragedies such as Columbine, the movie theater in Colorado, Sandy Hook last December –the never ending list sadly, or for people who've shared parts of our lives ~ such as yesterday when we learned of the passing of a dear old friend, Bill, who shared all the typical things like boy scouting, sports and chaperoning other school events when together we were raising our young families; or that of a young 74 year old student Ellen, who died unexpectedly last week.  I had been blessed to have shared my knowledge with Ellen and her sister for almost a dozen years.. the sadness and tears came quickly when I learned of both Ellen and Bill's death, but what has been more overwhelming is the pain of grief, my sense of pain and helplessness for what their families are and will go thru; knowing that there is nothing that can be said or done for them that will ease their heartache...that is a pain that does come back and feels as strong as I remember it when I first began my own Journey from Grief...

I’ve learned that the Journey of Grief is something we must all go thru on our own terms and in our own way-no one can do it for us.  Help from those around us with mundane but necessary chores, such as shopping and meals, daily errands, answering the phone, house and yard work are certainly appreciated and helped (although most of us can rarely remember who did what for us during those first several months-it’s all a blur).. 

We all experience the pain, and with time the pain soften – but that grief pain, like no other, can grab you again at any time when you least expect it and take your breath away...  but despite that pain and heartache, the tears and sense of loss that seems to never end, I wouldn't train a moment of that pain for the time with my three children, no matter how short - and I'm glad that Bill and Ellen shared parts of my life with me along the way... I wouldn't trade those memories for anything..  True if I'd not had my children, if I hadn't met Bill or Ellen or listened to the news about Columbine or Sandy Hook, then I wouldn't feel the pain, but then again I wouldn't trade any of it - I'm grateful for the time I had, and that their families had with them, and that we all "enjoyed the dance"..  Garth Brooks says it perfectly... in his song “The Dance”...

Looking back on the memory,
of the dance we shared, beneath the stars above.
For a moment all the world was right,
how was I to know that you'd ever say goodbye?
And now I'm glad I didn't know the way it all would end,
the way it all would go.
Our lives are better left to chance,
I could have missed the pain,
but I'd have had to miss the dance.

The Dance - (Garth Brooks) 

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