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Take the Pain

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

A rainy Friday afternoon was the perfect backdrop for Netflix and a cup of earl grey tea. My movie of choice, Wind River, was about a U.S. Fish and Wildlife tracker who was called to assist an FBI agent in a murder investigation that took place on a remote Wyoming reservation.

Thirty-five minutes into the movie, the tracker, Corey was standing on the front porch facing his friend Martin. Martin collapsed; sobbing into his arms. Corey, silently held his friend, all too familiar with the pain caused by the death of Martin’s daughter. Grief had become his constant companion; the death of his own daughter played out in his mind as he held his distraught friend.

Corey, the dad who was a few years into his own grief journey shared a heartfelt, raw truth, “You can’t avoid the pain… let yourself suffer….you allow yourself to visit her in your mind, you remember all the love she gave and all the joy she felt.”

I paused the movie, tears streaming down my cheeks. I had just witnessed the most beautiful movie scene, ever.

Our society cringes when faced with death and grief. We find it extremely uncomfortable. Not many of us have a person in our circle of relationships that will encourage us to feel the pain and get familiar with it. If truth be told, they ignore the pain, gloss over the pain, replace the pain and encourage us to do the same.

It is in the pain where the memories live. We relive the death details; the pain is there. We remember her laugh, in the pain. Seeing her classmates, pain engulfs us as school memories flood our mind. We remember the last words spoken and realize we will never hear her voice ever again; the pain pierces our heart. The constant pain feels unbearable.

But, if we avoid the pain and ignore it, we must then ignore her memory. The memory of her birth, her words, her steps, her spirit and her life must be erased in order to avoid the pain. In so doing we rob ourselves of her memory and we rob her of the love and joy she experienced.

Instead, we give ourselves permission to take the pain. The pain will never get smaller, we live with it. We make time and space for the pain. We endure how the pain feels. We become familiar with the tastes, sounds and smells of pain. We expect it. We experience the pain; for the price of banishing the pain is not worth the risk of erasing her life from ours. We are willing to live the pain in order to express the love that we continue to carry for her.

In the closing scene of the movie Martin was sitting cross legged in the snowy yard, staring into distance. Corey quietly approached and sat down beside him.

“Do you have time to sit with me?”

“I’ve got all the time in the world.”

Each with their own thoughts, staring into the distance, they took the pain and remembered.

Taking the pain is living with Grief In Life.


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