You have had many and great sadnesses.
But please consider whether these great sadnesses
have not gone right to the center of yourself?
Whether much in you has not altered,
whether you have not somewhere,
at some point of your being,
undergone a change while you were sad?
For our sadnesses are the moments when something new
has entered into us, something unknown;
our feelings grow mute in the perplexity,
everything in us withdraws, a stillness comes,
and the new, which no one knows,
stands in the midst of it
and is silent
Those of us experiencing a significant loss in our lives can certainly understand Rainer’s description of our sadness going right to the center of ourselves. The gut-wrenching feeling in the pit of your stomach that comes from trauma seems universal; when our experience, our life story changes forever.
As he says, “our feelings grow mute in the perplexity” of life events – often we have too much to take in to grasp it all at once, to sort through all our feelings and the impact of our losses. But we know one thing for certain. A change has occurred, a change so monumental that it is cellular, touching our body, mind and spirit so greatly that at times all we can do is withdraw.
This retreating in is often the most frightening journey as we travel through grief and the one that can scare our loved ones as well as they help us through it. It is a time during which the bereaved doesn’t seem interested in daily activities; routine housekeeping, hobbies, and social engagements often take too much energy as they try to sort through the details of this great change.
For although the world we know continues in its dizzying pace, during loss we might need solitude – stillness – quiet to process our thoughts and sort through our emotions. For in the silence, as Rainer says, “the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it” waiting until we are once again strong enough; strong enough to re-enter life, to uncover the changed beings that we are, and to welcome something new.