I know how you feel…

I know it can be infuriating to hear people say they know how you feel. I didn’t like it much myself. But I’m writing this because I DO know how you feel. I carried my pain around like a new part of my body. I didn’t heal. I just learned to move differently so I could keep it with me. It has taken me since September 22, 2009 until this very month to finally decide I want to heal. And that’s only the first step. How can I lay my grief down after learning to live with it? I’ll have to relearn how to move.

I know how it feels to grieve longer than people think you should. I know how it feels to watch others celebrate and not be able to say what you want to, because others won’t understand or accept it. You put on a brave face. You say Merry Christmas, and you even mean it, because you don’t hate anyone for having joy. You’re just dying inside. You can wish for good things for other people without bothering to want them for yourself. You can convince yourself you shouldn’t find joy. Not when the one you love is gone. It feels too much like admitting you didn’t need that person. That you can live without them. And you lose sight of the truth, that the person you miss would never have wished this for you.

You tell yourself it’s enough to get up and get through your day. You can live without laughter, you can even love other people. But no one can compete with what you lost. You fail to see that any one of the people around you could have easily been the one you lost. Would you carry that burden around and lose sight of your love for the one you really did lose, had you not lost them? Imagine for a moment that she’s still here. That he’s still here. But something else has crushed your spirit, and you don’t recognize the gift. That’s what the people who love you are. They’re the gift you don’t see. Grief is a blindfold. It’s a destroyer of perspective.

What used to be a hole inside you has filled up with things, but they’re not the right things. They make your burden heavier, and they block the way out. Nothing tastes good, music only brings pain, you don’t even care that people can see how far you’ve fallen into despair. You may still know God loves you, but that doesn’t even help. You’ve stopped listening to anything positive. You see something good, and it pulls at your heart, but you shove it away. No more tears. You’re sick of it.  You want to hit someone, something, yourself. You want it to stop. But you’re holding onto it as if laying it down means giving up the dream that you can make it not real. Sometimes you let yourself pretend you really can make it not real. It doesn’t make sense, after all. How can it be true?

But it is true. You lost something. Someone. And there is no time limit on pain. I can’t take your pain from you any more than I could take it from myself. And no matter what I say or how hard I beg you to listen, I can’t even make you want to heal. But I can love you. And I do. I love you. So do the other people in your life, but they just don’t know what to say. Remember that when you feel yourself slipping.

I know how hopeless it can feel. I know it because I felt it. But I laid my burden down, and I pray you will, too.


~ by Rachel McMahon on December 18, 2012.

6 Responses to “I know how you feel…”

  1. My sweet Rachel. Thank you for sharing this. Never let anyone tell you how long you can grieve or how to do it or how to get over it. It will happen when it happens and not a moment sooner.

    Much love to you on this and every day.

  2. So true. I enjoyed your perspective. I’ve been there too, some years ago. I wish I could have read something like this back then. I hope it helps others.

  3. This is truly profound and eye opening.

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