Friday, January 06, 2006

As If My Chest Is Being Ripped Apart

About three months after the death of my father, I was in seminary translating a psalm from Hebrew into English when I began to feel as if my chest was being ripped apart. Before I could scrutinize the feeling, I began to cry. My tears wouldn’t stop; they came with vast sobs. I cried for a very long time.

At some point I began to realize that my sobs were for my father—or, more accurately, my loss of my father. It wasn’t as if I had not mourned him before that moment, I had—and I cried several times. But this time was different. The grief came from what seemed like nowhere and just wouldn’t stop. The psalm I was translating hadn’t brought my father to my mind, but somewhere in my deepest soul the sorrow had built to a crescendo and just had to come out.

After a while I began to realize that my sadness was not for my father but for me—for the feelings of bereavement that I amassed from his death. There was a barrenness within me that was being filled by this sense of loss and it was as if it could/would never be filled. I wanted my father with me at that moment. I wanted the tears to end and a smile—even laughter—to replace them. But that didn’t happen—at least not then.

I write this because I am having the same experience at this moment and I have no idea from whence it comes. I feel empty and alone—as if I have lost something or someone who is very dear to me. I want to scream—but I don’t know what to scream. I don’t discern who or what I am mourning.

I suppose I will just have to allow the feelings/the tears/the sobs to come out. Then maybe—just maybe—I’ll understand.


  1. You must be in great pain. I hope you are feeling better now.

  2. That's really sad Nick. I am sure that there will be a reason for it, and when you are ready you will learn what the reason is. Until then... just flow witht it.


  3. Grief has been described as a roller coaster of emotions, a wave that engulfs you, an ever-changing sea of experiences, and a place with no ceiling, floor, walls or protection. C.S. Lewis experienced grief as feeling like fear itself.

    No one can tell us how or how not to grieve. This is a unique and personal experience. Allow yourself the time and patience your grief may demand. This grieving journey is like the seasons of change in our very soul - fall, winter, spring, and the renewed sense of hope and courage in the summer of life.

  4. i felt kinda like that since my borther has been in iraq

    i hope u can laugh soon

  5. It certainly sounds as if you are mourning a loss. You cousin’s death? “C” not being around? A combination of both of those and other losses?

    Allow yourself time to grieve and realize that this sadness will pass

  6. Sometimes I think it is your body, mind and soul dealing with life...the personal loses and and transitions in dealing with those loses. The waves can come when you least expect them...without warning...without explaination...go with it..I hope you feel better soon.

  7. I cant say I know what you are going thru...tht would be presuming to much. But I go thru something similiar once or twice a year...its the bottle overflowing. Every emotion kept inside, breaking out.

    Let it take its course. Dont try to control it...I hope you will feel better after all this...


  8. Thank each of you for your words. What you have written is very important to me and most helpful.

    My blessings and hugs to each of you.

  9. (((Nick)))

    So sorry I'm late, been a busy weekend.

    I'm glad to read that you are now feeling better.

  10. Thank you, Milkmaid! You really aren’t late. I appreciate your words.