I met a man the other day who mourned his brother. Both men were divorced (no children), and when newly single, they rekindled the closeness of their youth. They lived within a few block from each other, worked in the same area, often had lunch together or got together in the evening. They rebuilt the car one of them had bought as a teenager, and they went to car shows to display their refurbished antique. One brother worked as a new car salesperson, and often won incredible trips and cruises, which the two of them took.
The man told me about his incredible pain after his brother’s death, and added, “I didn’t even know there was such pain.”
Many of us who have lost significant people in our lives have felt the same shock at discovering there was such pain. Most of us had experienced the death of others in our lives, but one particular death — in my case, the death of my life mate/soul mate — shocked us with the depth of pain we felt. Pain we didn’t even know existed.
If this pain was in us to experience, but could only be brought out by a significant loss, what else is in us that some sort of catalyst could bring to the surface? Is there a corresponding joy? Maybe a radiance or an intense glee that is hiding from us behind our usual stoic facades? We think we know who we are and of what we are capable, but we only know what we know. We can’t know what we don’t. So what is there we don’t know?
Intense grief brings us close to eternal truths, but are there other states (perhaps less painful ones) that can also bring us such wisdom?
For a long time now, I’ve had the feeling of wanting “more,” but I don’t know what that “more” is. I have a hunch the feeling is a leftover from grief, from the knowledge that as humans, we are so much more — can feel so much more — than we ever believed possible.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.