Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Good grief" ...there's an oxymoron

Cuba - March 2007

As I sat here tonight, feeling a wave of grief wash over me; an unexplainable emptiness and loss, I was trying to figure out (to avoid the pain - I figure) what the heck the expression "good grief" means. How could grief possibly be good? Grief is described as "intense mental anguish; deep remorse; acute sorrow or the like"... What could possibly be good about that?

I spoke to a friend tonight and she agreed that I have been avoiding my grief. I noted that I didn't particularly want to feel all that pain; walk into a burning building, if you will. She said that I should see it more as "diving into a pool to find the key that will open the door to the rest of my life". Her husband noted that I shouldn't dive just yet 'cause the water would probably be frozen... (A little humour!)

Just thinking about all that I have lost is overwhelming. The following insight will give you an idea of just what kind of man Tony was and why I knew he was the man for me. When I first met Tony in 1990, I was a full-time university student, I worked about 35 hours a week and went out every night. He's the only guy in a bar who ever asked if he could talk to me. Also, when he came to visit my apartment, and realized that I had not done my laundry in a while (there were no facilities in the building and I didn't drive), he offered to help. He and I packed up 10 garbage bags of dirty laundry and took it all to a laundromat near his apartment. We (he) washed all of it. He made me promise that I would never let it get so out of hand again; he wouldn't wash 10 bags at a time again... What a guy!

When I was pregnant with Richard and he didn't want to attend the delivery (he would faint just walking into a hospital), I told him I would hold it in until he agreed to accompany me. He was there and was very proud. When they handed him Richard, he walked around the delivery room singing in his Irish - he'd kill me if he read this; so let me rephrase - in his Irish-Canadian voice: " I have a wee son! I have a wee son!" It was one of the most touching moments of my life. When time came for Mathieu, I couldn't have kept him away from the delivery room if I wanted.
Now, you tell me, how can I think of all of that and not feel a terrible loss? What is good about that grief? However, while there is no such thing as "good grief", grief does nevertheless allow us to remember the "good" times and relive pleasant memories. I just wish it wasn't so confusing and painful. Because, at times, it actually is a physical pain; or so it seems...

I'll be back at the gym tomorrow! It can only help...

Take good care!



Anonymous said...

Hi Renee,

What you say makes perfect sense. I guess I never really stopped to think what was meant by "good grief". Now that you mention it, I can't believe that anyone ever came up with that term. I agree that there is nothing remotely good about grieving, except maybe remembering the good times...but that only seems to make the pain worse.

I really like your friend's analogy about thinking of your grief as if it were a pool you needed to dive into to get the keys to unlock the door to the rest of your life. Your friend sounds like a smart woman.

There haven't been too many comments lately, so I just wanted to post something to let you know that someone is out there...

Amanda Comeau

nikki said...

hi reneee i want to let you know that i read your blog all the time and let my parents know what you are saying, but they hear how you and the boys are from jean and richard. they went out for lunch the other day mum and jean went shopping and dad and richard took a ride on a big wheel here in belfast its similar to the london eye if you know it! i wish i could get the incentive to go to the gym also. i had a chat with my sister when out riding today about what you were saying re good grief and agree with you totally. i have to tell you my sister gillian has me riding one of her horses and he is 18hands high!!!! a giant its pretty scary up there. my son hugo was assessed last week for autism but they dont think he has it, i think its good news but i have no excuses for his behaviour anymore, he met the belfast giants ice hockey team in school last week they have left over some tickets, i think i will take him see if he likes it, he can wear his ear defenders, doesnt like noise!!!! anyway just wanted you to know you are in our thoughts and prayers, take care and god bless from nikki and hugo in ireland