When tragedy strikes, we should become still and let the silence permeate our beings. We should speak less and listen more for instructions from on High. Women, especially, have been known down through history to wail or scream when the unthinkable happens in their lives. We have all heard of the wailing walls.
And then, we hear of men who moan in their sleeps as their souls look for some sense of release from pain. They have too often had to display a stiff upper lip and give off the appearance that they are strong and not hurting.
We all process anguish, feelings of helplessness, shock and disbelief in different ways when we see our children being killed in front of our eyes. We feel anger, rage and we need to know what to do with these harsh emotions.
So, it is okay to cry. It is okay to be angry. It is okay to scream and yes, it is okay to even wail. In Edwidge Danticat’s book, Breath, Eyes, Memory, Sophie, the main character, screamed and cried after losing her mother. When the tears subsided, her grandmother asked, in essence, “Are you now free?” This was a telling lesson in the grief process.
In the South, when someone died, the elders became very quiet. No televisions. No radio. Few, if any words. Though the thoughts were plenteous, the spoken words were minimal. The children knew to be quiet or to be absent and away from the sorrowful adults.
So, after being wet with tears and soaked in perspiration and after witnessing lives being shattered like shards glass, we must pause. Quite like emerging from a long shower, we dry off and stand up. We move forward with a calm resolve, as we are more mindful and recall how our ancestors handled their grief. We walk on at a mourner’s pace, but being in the present moment, we can least offer the next needed hug.
July 8, 2022