You’d think that purchasing a graduation dress for your grand-daughter would be a source of pleasure. A source of happiness. After all, you really wanted her to know she’s beautiful.
But not if you found yourself in Auschwitz years ago, and you never had the chance to mark that milestone in your life.
This was the experience of Dr Edith Eger, a teenage survivor of the Holocaust. She found that she was weeping after buying that new gown.
Weeping unexpectedly, and uncontrollably.
She was weeping for the good things that were stolen in the camps.
She was weeping for the dreams that now can never comes to pass.
For we don’t just mourn and grieve for all the heartache in our lives.
We also need to grieve for all those things we were denied.
So, it’s not just for the trauma, and the damage from our past.
It is also for the good things we had wanted, but can’t have.
We need to let the tears flow freely for what could and should have been.
All the great ideas and plans; and all the normal hopes and dreams.
For Dr Eger, this included simply going to a ball. And the chance to be admired. To enjoy being beautiful.
How does this apply to us?
In this blog we tend to focus more on those who’ve been betrayed. But any kind of trauma can affect us in this way. For example …
We may find we need to grieve because we can’t relax and trust (because our spouse deceived us, and has built a life on lies).
Or, perhaps we need to grieve because we’re not ‘the only one’ (as our partner was unfaithful, or has paid for online sex).
Or, perhaps we need to mourn because our children’s lives have changed (as their parents are divorced and, thus, the family’s not intact).
Writing our own list
So maybe it would help if you could set aside some time, to think about your losses.
All the trashed and broken dreams.
For the things that didn’t happen,
All the stolen fantasies.
For the multitude of losses you have buried in your heart.
So why not start that process, and allow yourself to grieve.
You will find that it is healing.
It will soothe, and bring relief.
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief.”
– Washington Irving