I’m re-reading the Stephen Grosz’s ‘The Examined Life‘ It’s a collection of case histories when he was a psychoanalyst.
One of the stories is about grief and how our pursuit for ‘closure’ worsens the experience, making it all the more stressful. We want to get better. We want our grief to follow a clean 5 step process. We are happy to go through the first 4 steps as long as it gets us to the fifth – acceptance, and then we want to pack it away, close the door and move on.
The worst is when we think we’re over it … finally, and then it hits us all over again. Now, we not only have to deal with the grief again but also the anger, shame and helplessness that arise because we thought we were done. We thought we had achieved closure.
But that’s not how life is. We like things neat and life is messy. We like rules so that we know how to play the game and where we stand but life has a way of breaking down the rules. And it’s not just with grief, it’s also with the other mundane things.
Like how I feel about London’s weather right now. I’m done with winter, I’m done with the cold, I’m done with the rain. We had a couple of beautiful warm days the past couple of weeks and I thought, we were finally heading for summer. But then it reverses back to being cold, wet and miserable. While I grudgingly accept this during winter, now, I find it unbearable. Not only is the weather crap, my expectations of what it should be is making it worse.
“Let go, Shoba. Just accept. It’s all good and it’s all happening as it should be,” a voice says.
I’m sure THAT VOICE is probably coming from somewhere in the Caribbean, lying on the beach, sunbathing.