Here is my marble theory.
Grief is like a big motherf*cker of a cloud that holds inside it all the feelings of loss and despair and panic and loneliness in the world, all rolled up into one big, grey tw@t that can totally engulf you and make it seem like there is nothing beyond the darkness. This is fact.
However, the initial reaction to grief and more specifically loss and actually losing those you love, feels, to me, much more like a loss of control burning inside a blind rage than actual ‘grieving’ and despite what anyone helpfully says, I don’t think time heals I think time just gives you the room to learn how to organise your agony.
Unless that IS healing.
So what do I actually mean?
Grief is like a jar of marbles… yeah, yeah – insert ‘I’ve lost mine’ joke.
Stay with me.
Imagine back to that moment of purest pain, the moment of recognition when you knew somebody you loved and cared for had permanently left this world. That moment when you knew they were actually dead and you would never, ever, look into their living eyes again for the rest of your life.
Hopefully this is an alien concept, a memory you don’t have, but if it isn’t…
That was the fist time you were handed the jar of marbles…
Only you weren’t given the jar – the marbles where hurled into the room that is your life, hundreds of them; violently thrown, rolling on every surface, bouncing off every object and in different directions and finding unknowable crevices to settle in and unfathomable corners to hide in.
The marbles are PAIN.
Out of control, overwhelming, making you feel… in that moment… as if you’ll never ever find a way to seek out and secure all those hectic, loose marbles and ever get any control of them again.
Then time steps in.
Early on, you gather great handfuls: maybe these are the easiest to ‘see’ – the ones still rolling about the floor beneath your feet, you gather these in desperate scoops very early on, because you know you’ll never be able to take even a single safe step until you do so.
You pop those first few back in the jar.
As the days, weeks, months and years pass – you occasionally find and retrieve the odd marble.
Then, later, as time progresses you find the occasional one every now and then; a moment’s solitary reflection, an old photo, a conversation – these things are metaphorically those little moments when you reach under a chair, behind a desk, into a cobwebbed corner and pluck out the odd little marble still hidden from view but sat their all that time, waiting.
You get the metaphor, you’re gathering control of that impossible pain.
We gather control of our pain bit by bit, little by little, incrementally and mentally we place those metaphorical marbles back in that imaginary jar one at a time.
Fast forward, later, much later, it’s possible that we can end up – despite all our crushing disbelief – with all the marbles back in the jar again.
Every single one.
Now here is the strange thing; that’s the SAME pain, the SAME grief, the SAME AGONY, but somehow, we’ve taken control of it and taken it back as our own.
Somehow, the swirling mass of agony, the marbles, that were everywhere and uncontrollable and impossible and overwhelming, are all back in the jar and we can, if we choose, put it somewhere safe.
Maybe, just maybe we might even put a lid on it, secure it tightly, then put it where nobody can ever find it again or nobody can ever look into it.
But the important thing is, that pain is OURS.
It’s now PART OF US and inside that pain is immeasurable STRENGTH.
So occasionally we will deliberately go to the jar, look inside, maybe even take off the lid and purposefully pull a few out to experience again that rawness, that thing that reminds us, that memory, that moment.
We are only human after all: we feel pain and we feel alive.
And sometimes we may even find a marble we thought was previously safe, somehow rolling effortlessly and irrelevantly across the floor of our lives like a sneaky ROLLING METAPHORICAL sh!t.
But the real battle was always taking control of that jar, making certain those precious nuggets of strength inducing pain are SAFE, that they are OURS and that we won’t let that jar fall again or be hurled back across the room like it once was.
That’s how I feel.
That’s as close to time healing as I think it will ever get.
I think sometimes people confuse healing with forgetting.
I never want to forget, that pain is mine and it’s interwoven with strength.
I treasure it.