This thing called Grief & Learning to Traverse It

As you go through life, and the older you grow, the harder life gets.  There’s all sorts of pain, struggles and scars. Each one meant to move us, test us and mold us in different ways. The struggle is learning to sit with our pain, acknowledging it and allowing it to pass over, eventually. With time.

Grief is inevitable.  Transient but inevitable. The best marham of our pain comes from our Rabb. Perhaps the most agonizing pictures depicted in the Quran of personal pain is in the story of Yaqub a.s when he’s separated from his second son, after having patiently endured the separation of the first one 40 years prior.

The word picture depicted in the Qur’an is vivid.  The pain agonizing to witness. And the words scream of his agony, his torment.

So much pain that it feels to him as if it is a silent companion, almost a physical presence, an embodiment of internal torment sitting with him in physical form.  A dark, dark presence which never leaves him and which never ever lessens. Over a period of 4 decades!!! It never lessens!

فَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ  

So much pain that eventually the burden of it makes him go silent.  He drinks it up. He suppresses it. He becomes silent.

And he says I COMPLAIN of it to God. This is the only way to lighten one’s burden. We seek our validation, acknowledgement from a Rab e Kareem that never disappoints! And from the One Place we come back ALWAYS SATIATED!

He said, “I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah , and I know from Allah that which you do not know.

This is also perhaps why there’s so much reward in TALKING to the One generous Friend. How many times have we returned feeling even worse after having tried to lighten our burden with a dear friend? So our very Kareem Rab puts reward in the very thing He KNOWS will lighten our battered hearts. It’s like He’s saying to you and me: come my dearly beloved, try this! And so a Hadith states:

من بث لم يصبر

One who goes about narrating his troubles to people, hasn’t done Sabr.

So Yaqub a.s ONLY talks to His Rabb. So much that he eventually turns away from the people because company is painful to him.

Becomes unbearable to him.

وَتَوَلَّىٰ عَنْهُمْ

And he turned away from them-Quran 12:84

Yet despite of his pain, he has hope. Strangely, he’s the one who eventually tells his sons to take action. To not give up. To go look for Yusuf and Binyamin. Here is an old man, a father,  crippled by his pain, a life time of torment, YET his love for Allah SWT doesn’t waver. And love begets hope.  That`s his secret. And that takes courage. Tawakul takes courage.

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