I remember being there—in the struggle. The craving to be better and the need not to be. The compulsion to “accept” what has happened while rebelling against the very thought—as if accepting it would mean being okay with it. The savagery of emotions beating down upon me and the demand to feel it all while at the same time screaming for relief.
It’s a complicated fight. It’s the Wrestling.
It’s ironic, really. There were moments when I felt the need to clutch my grief even while others were trying to make me feel better; not wanting to give it up, even while I was miserable. I needed to process. The need to be there, in the dark valley—the need to feel it even while feeling the need to make it all go away and let me breathe. The struggle of being true to my grief, honoring the intense pain and honoring what I lost. There’s a smile you give to friends, family and acquaintances who are trying to lift you out of the mire, when you know, right then, you need to sit in that mire.
It’s the Wrestling.
The struggle to be okay when you’re not. The struggle to understand when you don’t. The struggle to go on living when you don’t know how. The struggle to comprehend the far-reaching ripple effects of what has happened even though the enormity of it is too much to bear. The struggle to adjust to an amputation when you don’t want to have to adapt.
The fight as you try to hold onto your faith while the oppressive weight of grief pulls at its very fibers, making it feel threadbare with even the threads unraveling. The need to acknowledge your anger, hurt and disillusionment, while feeling guilty to do so. The drive to scream at the unfairness of it all, the pent-up lava overflowing from your soul for the heartache you want an answer for and find none.
So you attempt to hold on to that threadbare faith. You try to submit to the knowledge that God is love, God is good and God is sovereign and God has a reason, but there’s a rebellion inside that you can’t snuff out.
The cry out to God for rescue even while you retreat from Him. The longing for support from your loved ones even while you want to be alone. The need for getting a breath from the deep waters of grief all the while diving back down into it.
It’s a wrestling with depression, a wrestling with despondency, a wrestling with anger, a wrestling for hope, a wrestling for healing.
When there is a wrestling, two opponents struggle against each other, trying to find mastery over the other. Sometimes the two opponents fighting are two contrary needs within yourself, like a principle striving against an emotion. It can make you feel like a piece of meat between two wolves. The problem is the two wolves are You, and the meat is You. It’s all You.
But there’s a normalcy to The Wrestling. A necessity, even. What would we be if there wasn’t a grappling? There should be a contending with such momentous matters of life, such massive soul-crushing changes, such painful losses.
We need that time of wrestling. It’s a transition time. It’s a processing period. It’s being true to ourselves, our loss, our faith and our questions. It’s the raw honesty of the complicated mess that grief is. It’s actually a genuine step of healing.
We need The Wrestling. As we wade through the muck, as we redefine our life, as we reconcile The Was and The Now Is, as we rebalance what was thrown off kilter, as we rectify what has been derailed, we need The Wrestling. It’s a paradoxical piece of sanity amidst the insanity.
But might I add …
The Wrestling becomes tiring. Exhausting. It can morph into The Weight, and can suck you dry.
Don’t feel weak for going through The Wrestling.
But also, don’t feel guilty when you’re ready to cease, to lay down the burden, and surrender the struggle. You’ll know the Time (which most often comes in small increments). It’s when everything listed above brings more heaviness than the paradoxical comfort it once did.
5 thoughts on “The Wrestling”
Bravo for another well written piece!!! I can totally relate to this new post. Thanks for sharing your journey, your feelings and just yourself with readers like me. 😊
Hope you are doing well!
All the best, Elissa
This is my life the last 21/2 years.
I just discovered your blog with this post – that fit my feelings so perfectly! I’m now going back & reading others and it seems that you are in my head – describing the things I can find no words for! Saying perfectly what I am feeling. The paradox of emotions is what I get most obsessed about. Thank you for helping me feel that I’m not crazy!!
I just sent an e-mail saying the exact same thing!
My sister sent me your post on grieving and it fit perfectly with having just placed my husband in a memory care unit as his dementia and Parkinson’s races ahead. I would have kept him at home, caring for him, but was wearing out mentally, physically and spiritually. My sister’s post was on Facebook and I really wish I could print your message to read again and again. I too lost a husband at a very young age as he was jogging. Sometime later, I married a man who also experienced widowhood and we blended our families. This is the man who I have shared life with for 43 years and watched fade away before my eyes the past two years. Your descriptions are very appropriate for our lives now. If you could share your blog with me via email, I would greatly appreciate it.. Bless you and please keep sharing your insights. Libby Pyles