Author Emily Vajda



A Note On Grief.

Aug 11, 2016

Today is for acknowledging fear, darkness, and the shadows that live within us. It is for honesty and self-love. Vulnerability.

I am open. I am speaking. Please listen.

Today I had a polarity therapy session with my massage therapist, and about an hour into the session, she laid her hands over my chest. I imagined the healing energy radiating through my limbs and this is what I told myself: Do not have fear; there is no reason to fear; let go of your fear, you beautiful soul. Tightness in my throat, my chest, burst. I said, “Whatever you just did, I can’t stop crying.” And she said, “I’m working on your fear. One way to release fear is through tears.”

I am fearful of this post. I am fearful of being honest, sharing my honesty, and upsetting someone else through my release. I am fearful of backlash. I am fearful of judgment.

But here’s the thing: I have been suffering in secret. And by stilling my voice, quieting my pain, I have allowed my pain to linger.

I heal through words, through a creative outlet. I write to understand my feelings. It is the way I process life. And I would be a hypocrite to encourage openness and honesty in those around me, and not to share my own. We are all on a journey. This is part of mine.

My grandfather passed away almost two years ago, and when he passed, he left each grandchild a Bible. I was told that my Bible had special messages written inside of it, passages highlighted and underlined – my grandfather speaking to me through verse. I felt special. And after his funeral, after a trying, emotional visit back home, I opened the Bible up to read those messages and instead found judgment. I was stunned. Stilled. And by the time we made it back to California, off of the plane, out of the cab, and into the apartment, I was curled in the fetal position on the floor, shocked with grief and loss and pain and judgment. I have not found my way back from this loss.

I have been struggling through this grieving process. Because to grieve would be to acknowledge my pain, and to acknowledge my pain would be to accept the Bible as truth, as a reality, and to accept this parting gift as a reality would be to accept that my grandfather did not approve of my life, and to accept that he did not approve of my life, would mean acknowledging that I was blind.

I was blindsided.

My therapist says the best way through grief is straight through it. And instead, I’ve been cradling this hurt, hiding the pain, and by doing so have become a rabid dog – hungry, needy, scared. Ready to bite. Shamed and undeserving of love. I have become a prickly exterior, the Iron Gate slammed shut around a vulnerable, fragile heart.

So today I decided to strap on my jumbo jet packs and go – straight through this thing we call grief. And this is what I learned. I need to forgive myself (I forgave my grandfather long ago) for being someone my grandfather didn’t approve of. I need to accept that I am not responsible for other people’s judgments. He said that I have a vile, serpent tongue, and my tongue has been quieted since. Two years of stillness. So much quiet that I now breathe through my nose most of the time. But I am unsealing my lips. I am accepting that I allowed his judgments to quiet me. It is my responsibility to flip this thing, to accept his judgment, but to be proud that I have a voice and the ability to speak because that voice has defended in the midst of abuse, and that voice is strong.

Hear me.

These judgments, these highlighted verses and text ran through my mind today during my polarity session, and as they did, I forced myself to accept and appreciate those parts of me that offended. I began to accept the dark pieces of me – the pain and anger and vindication – as I accepted the light – my love and forgiveness and compassion. And this is what I realized – every one of us is a mixture of gray for we cannot have the light without the dark.

I envisioned myself in a shroud of gray, a cape of storms billowing forth; I embraced my shadows.

Here is a shadow: I threw the Bible in the garbage at the Detroit airport not because I no longer loved my grandfather, but because I couldn’t hold on to something that hurt me so much. I have been shamed for doing so, but this is my journey, my actions, my life, and I own them all.

And here’s the thing about grief and pain, about holding onto emotions without acknowledging or releasing them – they trickle into other areas of your life. They bleed through. And this pain has made me overly protective to the point where simple intimacies are strained. I do not know how to accept or receive love and affection any longer. (But could it be perhaps that I don’t know that I can trust love or affection when it is given?)

So this is what I hope. I hope that by sharing my pain, my journey, I can help others face theirs. I hope that by speaking out, my throat will loosen and I will find my voice again. I hope by finally grieving, my heart will reopen. I hope I will be able to be intimate again with those that I love and trust them with my heart. I hope to find peace with my grandfather’s passing. I hope to be able to receive love and compassion. And I hope to accept that I deserve it.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for listening. Let us be open. Let us be honest. Let us be heard.