Today is the first day since my husband’s suicide that I experienced the witness in my meditation. For the past eight months, I have experienced only an ongoing struggle with anger, tears, and racing thoughts that were intractable to say the least.
If I were an enlightened being whose practice had taken me to a level where I no longer held any attachments, perhaps it would have taken less time to reach this stage. But I am not an enlightened being. I am an ordinary person dealing with ordinary life and grieving the loss of someone I loved in the best way I know how.
To this point, I have tried mostly to be compassionate with myself and to allow room for the grieving process. This meant letting some overwhelming feelings exist in their extreme form for a while. The best I could do was refrain from feeding any additional energy into them.
At long last, the extreme feelings have settled into more manageable moments of thought. Now, when thoughts arise about incredibly painful aspects of my husband’s death, I can breathe with the pain and let go of the storyline. I feel myself becoming closer to forgiveness for both him and myself, though I know it will still take time.
It does not matter how slow a bunny goes, as long as she keeps hopping.
— Bunny Buddhism (@bunnybuddhism) December 27, 2013
While I’m not sure today’s experience is quite cause for celebration, I would say I think it is a sign of healing. I know the experience of losing my husband will color the rest of my life, but it doesn’t have to dictate the rest of my life. I will take this small sign of health as a signal that I am heading in the right direction and as motivation to keep on hopping.
For more about grieving:
“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”
– Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times