Since my February 11th post, I've been thinking about the idea that grief reflects the struggle to hold onto what has been -- or soon will be -- lost. For me, it's not that simple.
Dictionary definitions for "struggle" revolve around the idea of contending resolutely with an opposing force, challenge, task, adversary or adversity. But I can think of many circumstances where someone completely accepts a loss yet still grieves.
A friend's husband had struggled for years with illness until his treatment options ran out. My friend stayed by his side throughout, hoping against hope until the end, when she welcomed his death.
For months afterward, grief colored her days while she expressed ongoing relief that his suffering was over and gratitude that death ended it.
I suppose it's possible she was struggling subconsciously to hold onto the myriad ways his life had been intertwined in hers: the smell of his cologne, his shoes by the bed, his taking care of their financials and his teasing about the way she flung her scarf around her neck. Maybe her grief reflected the struggle to hold onto her role as his wife and caregiver.
But couldn't her loss of appetite and tears reflect nothing more than the human expression of missing him? Of feeling his absence the way one feels hunger when the stomach is empty?