Monday, November 28, 2011

On Grief, Love, and Loss (Part Two - Divorce)

Friends: This is a multiple-part grief series I wrote two years ago, in November 2009. It was raw, unedited and emotionally messy material I penned in the weeks just after my spiritual teacher died - during a time I felt utterly alone in my grief. I've always wanted to post these, but the time has never been right and I don't know if it ever will be. I'm preparing material right now for my second book (the follow-up to Bindi Girl), in which I'll be delving deeper into my spiritual journey in India. Therefore, I've decided to rework this grief material and post it here first. Also, I never know if my readers may be going through similar passages in life; therefore, I like to share these writings in case they offer insight or inspiration during one's time of need.
Love, Erin

(Continued from On Grief, Love, and Loss: Part One - The Guru Dies)

Grief is a difficult emotion to write about. It seems so much easier to write about love. Even anger, or sadness, seems easier.

I can’t put my ‘thoughts’ together. I keep waiting for the day I wake up, like I used to, and some story or missive or vignette will flow forth and I will know for certain, “This is the entry to share with my friends. This is the piece to post.”

But it’s not happening.

Instead, I feel more constricted and alone in my grief. I know there are a few people who are ready to hear it, who can hold me through the tears. It's just so hard to know how to reach out, and how to receive.

How do I know this is the emotion called grief? How do I know it’s different than mourning, depression, or mere clinging to the past?

It feels different. Grief just feels different. And, I’ve been here before – a few times. I’ve been through something called D-I-V-O-R-C-E, so I know this is a similar emotion.


My first marriage was monumental, even though it only lasted seven years. It was the real-ationship and male-female partnership where I’d felt truly my-self, for better or for worse. We were truly friends, and I trusted my husband with full exposure.

When the Tower came crashing down at the end, I knew it was merely Life acting through Death, that we were being sent in separate directions in order to keep growing, evolving… and we could not do it together.

With 100% certainty, I knew it was for the Highest Good of All Concerned for my marriage to end. No matter if it was the right thing: even if you know it's gotta go, it's like losing an arm. Needless to say, it hurts like hell.

It took a good year for the most wrenching, intense waves of grief to quell. I was working a super-intense job at the time, one in which I had to be ‘on’ with a happy face, and it was evenings and weekends that I’d sit on balcony overlooking the San Francisco skyline, slowly puffing one cigarette, feeling the ache of the let-go of my married life, the departure of the dream, the passing of an intense love relationship.

And yet, and still, it hurt like a mother. It hurt so bad I’d cry and cry and cry. I never once “wanted him back.” I did wish for his – and of course, my own – ultimate peace and happiness. I knew the past was the past, and it was clearly over. Sure, nostalgia arose – the missing of joyful times, like cross-country skiing in the winter, breakfast in bed and making love on Sunday mornings, having someone to spoon with. Having someone to sing with, to cook for. Someone to have on your team.

It took about two more years for me to stop wondering how the ex was getting on. Slowly, new life entered the fold. The ex got remarried, rapidly, and had children before I’d even had a proper date, let alone boyfriend steady.

I went off to India, Europe, New York City, grad school, and the cosmos, refilling my coffers with adventure, passion, growth – and, eventually, boyfriends, too.

Slowly, slowly, over the course of the next several years, I forgot about my ex-husband, though I never stopped being grateful for the seven years we shared together.

But I was talking about grief, wasn’t I?

I brought up Le Divorce because it evokes the memory that "I've felt this emotion before," and it's here now again. It is real, and I need to talk about it.


  1. Great post.

    Emotion is felt, connection is felt.

  2. Beautifully written Erin, you put in words what I felt in some moments of my life.