Grief Exposed: Giving a Voice to the Unspeakable
Throughout the course of Jim’s battle with cancer, I wrote a blog to inform family and friends about his treatments, procedures, and progress. That blog forced me to expose all the hard news and endless disappointments. It forced me to expose my fear and confusion. It forced me to expose everything I would have preferred to hide and deny.
After Jim died, I kept writing in that blog. I continued to expose my fear and confusion—along with my anger and pain. I chose to expose my grief. I wrote every word that came to my mind. I didn’t care what the words were. I didn’t care if they were the right words. I didn’t even care if they made any sense. I just wrote them all down. All the pain and anger and fear and doubts and frustration. I exposed it all, one grueling word after another.
As I did that, as I exposed my grief, I realized I was finding words to describe what was happening both around me and inside me. I recognized the discovery of those words for myself but I realized other people, who continued to read my blog, were discovering those words for themselves too. Readers would leave comments on my blog thanking me for giving words to what they had been feeling.
The pain of death is a deep grief. The grief over the death of a dearly loved one is deeper still. The death of child—a precious daughter, a beloved son—is unthinkable. That loss is indescribable. That pain is undefinable. That grief is unspeakable.
Eventually, I stopped writing in that blog because the words became too unpredictable and offensive. But I kept a journal. I continued to strive to find words to describe how I was feeling, to find a way to endure, and to make the whole thing bearable. If I could give those words a voice, maybe they could be spoken. Maybe they could be whispered in the dark emptiness of my soundless nights or shouted into the ferocious storms of my angriest days.
As time passed, I believed my words, spoken in the midst of my grief and loss, could help others endure the unbearable realities of theirs. I realized I was giving a voice—not the voice, maybe not the best voice, but a voice, my voice—to others who were colliding with unspeakable grief. Through my voice, I thought others could find their own voice with which to speak into the depths of their pain.
Sixteen years and four months after Jim’s death, that blog and those journals are going to become a book. It is appropriately entitled, Grief Exposed: Giving a Voice to the Unspeakable. It’s an honest depiction of how it felt for me to grieve.
By God’s grace and mercy, I pray the book will do precisely what the title declares. May God bless all who choose to read it.