Monday, September 28, 2009

Closing Doors

Every once in awhile, I bump into a quote or something and I stop and think, hmm... I might have said that... or... I wish I had known that.... or .... I wish I could say that...

I found one today. "Grief is a door that cannot be closed until one knows, precisely, what is in the room."

I stopped. Read it again. Then smiled. It brings up a lot of memories. Some years old. Some fresh. Some doors I've closed. Some I have open. Doors of mine. Doors of others. Knowing that some rooms are ones you need to see but don't want to alone. Walking with others into some of my rooms. Walking with others into their rooms. And I smile.

I stopped. Felt it again. Knowing what it is like to try shutting doors when they can not be shut. Trying to force them closed, but they bulge like a closet uncleaned. Knowing what it is when others feel you should shut that door when you are not ready. That hurts. Don't talk about it and it will go away. No. I have a need to know, to feel, to walk in, to grieve, to feel. When I have done that, I am willing to shut the door. Not nail it shut like the lid on a coffin, but simply shut it. I may walk in there again one day. I may not. Likely I will, and when I do, I like company. Please listen to me. Please let me talk. I'll come out again and shut the door again - when I am ready. Not before. If you try to make me do it before I am ready, you will hurt me. I will think you don't care. But I will come out. Let me tell you when I am ready to shut that door. Until then, listen. Be aware that I live in two places - in the here and now, and in the room where I grieve. Walk into that room with me. I want company. I want to talk. I value people who stop to step into this room with me.

I stopped. I smiled. I know this. I know that doors can be closed. Closed and walked away from. In a good way. After they have been felt. After they have been known. And there is again delight, again joy, again the desire to run in the wind and laugh in the rain. I know that now. I can't say that while I am in someone's room. I can't tell myself that when I am walking into my rooms with doors not closed, but I know that. That quiet hope allows me to be quiet at times, to not "fix", to not change the conversation. Because I know. A knowledge that to me is as precious as purified gold. Knowing that, I can remain still. There is a way to close the door and move on. Move on deeply changed, yes, but move on. A change that does not destroy, but deepens. It deepens to feel the pain, but the deepening also means a deeper ability to feel joy. I know that. So I walk through people's rooms quietly. Let's stay here as long as we need to. Let's listen. Let's talk. One day, we'll have found we've walked all the way around the room again. We'll look at the door and decide, "Do we go out now, or do we want to walk around again?" We might walk around again, not ready to leave. Not sure we caught everything. But there will come that day we get to the door and decide to walk out. And we will naturally shut the door behind us. Before we even know we did. But we will. And then we will walk away, not forgetting, but deepened by the experience. Changed. More tender. More strong. More joyful. More sorrowful. Changed. But we will know. We will know that there is again delight, again joy, again the laughter of a child playing in the rain. But we will know that joy in a deeper way because we have let ourselves walk through the room of grief without running away.

I smiled when I read that quote today. I would have liked to say that.


Angela said...

Ellie, you describe it so beautifully. It means a lot to see someone put into words how you feel. This past year I have spent long hours grieving. I'm glad I did because you're right, it changes you for the better.

Cindy said...

Ellie, thanks for that!!!

I, too have plenty of doors...
but this time I'm thinking of my
sister who died when we were girls.
Yes, that has been over 40 years ago... and now when my mom and I go in that door and walk around it is actually comforting. We laugh, we remember, and now I'm not afraid of that door...I used to hate that door...but, not any more.

Ellie said...

Cindy - I think that is true. We like to go back in. Not to be overwhelmed with pain, but to be comforted with memories.

I think it is something people who haven't faced their own doors to shut don't understand. Then they cause pain to us because they won't go in those rooms with us. They are afraid of them.

I feel like I can only half get to know people who are afraid of rooms of grief. They can only half know me. A sort of flat, one dimensional way of knowing me.

Cindy said...

You might be interested in a blog that is linked to mine...called Ellie Skees. the writer is Janeen
Skees and the blog is about her daugher Ellie who died almost two years ago. It is a very long blog and best to start at the beginning...although it takes a while to read it all... but the process they go through is heart breaking and heart warming all at the same time!