"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing." - C.S. Lewis A Grief Observed
I find it nothing short of remarkable that one man, who was living and breathing and most importantly to me, writing before i was ever even close to being an idea, can have so many words that apply to my own thoughts, ideas and feelings. Its remarkable that this man, no matter how many times i read his words, i walk away thinking profoundly different than the moments leading up to that reading. The man whom I'm speaking of is none other then that of C.S. Lewis.
I have read most of his writings, read and reread a good many of them. Even the ones I have reread i come away with something different than the first time my mind absorbed his words. To call the man a genius isn't doing him justice. Why the sudden little praise chorus for Mr. Lewis? Well because I remembered his words from A Grief Observed and how they so fittingly apply to me.
I had never before equated the feelings of fear to grief, but after having that pointed out to me, the resemblance is almost uncanny. Like Lewis said, "The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing." All things one would do when feeling afraid or nervous, yet also the very same thing I have been doing in my grief stricken past weeks, perhaps grief may seem too strong a word to describe me, if you like you can refer to the usual word "depression" but it is no different than grief.
I have become increasingly restless, I can't ever seem to be doing enough to keep my mind occupied. The fluttering in the stomach as if something, at any moment, might abruptly happen. While I keep swallowing, I find for myself I more so keep trying to gasp for air, as if it might run out or that it is or has run out. All things I do when I am deeply afraid.
So could it be that maybe at some level grief and fear are the same thing? Maybe they don't always go hand in hand, for instance if I'm afraid it doesn't really mean i am grieving. But if I'm feeling grief am I at some level also afraid? With the feelings and actions so uncannily related in both, I can't help at my present state see how they don't fit nicely together like two puzzle pieces.
With my current grief stricken state, I have no doubt i have a great level of fear involved with it too. Fear on many different levels. As I'm sure your more than aware upon this reading the main reason for my grief is that of while not a completed broken heart, just a severely wounded one. As anyone else who has felt this same unpleasant feeling, it does feel strongly like fear.
For instance, while I am at some level confident this story ends happily, that my wounded heart will in fact break completely. That she will move on in a much more permanent way. That at any moment another man may walk across her path and at that moment the rug is pulled out from me suddenly and she is in love with somebody else. Yes I know that this all sounds very suspiciously like i belong so some sub-genre of people more commonly known by high-schoolers and the younger crowd these days as "emo" short for the word "emotional" And while I am emotional and depressed I can promise I am not in fact "emo". I just happen to be experiencing some very strong and confusing emotions that my mind is struggling to grasp and deal with.
Which is another reason that fear comes into play, that i don't fully comprehend what I'm feeling, that it might have come as a shock to discover how drastically discolored and dim the world would become when I no longer could call her mine and she call me hers. But the fact that everything was so extremely dimmed so jarringly I was taken quite a back and now no longer know how to keep moving in the dreary environment my mind has cast me into.
I still find enjoyment in things, I am still able to laugh and smile at occurrences, yet none of it is the same because of the grief I feel, and that terrifies me. So yes, C.S. Lewis is more than correct. While maybe they don't go hand in hand, or have much to do with each other outside of coincidence, grief really does feel overwhelmingly like fear.