When faced with a storm, cows and buffaloes react in quite different ways. As the storm approaches, cows gather and attempt to run away from the storm. By doing this, the cow actually ends up running with the storm, thus spending more time and misery in the storm itself. A buffalo, on the other hand, waits for the crest of the storm to arrive and then runs straight into it. Although the buffalo may actually feel the intensity of the storm more acutely, it will actually spend less time in the storm itself and be the other side far more quickly than the cow.
After Delores’ 24-year-old son, Eric, died in a car accident, she was determined to face the pain head on. As easy as it might have been to try to hide from the pain, she did not. She allowed herself to truly feel it. She read every book on grief and near-death experiences she could find. By doing so, Delores said that she learned so much about pain and faith. She realized that before Eric’s death, she had tried to put God in a tiny little box. She kept a prayer list beside her bed to pray for each night. Her faith was clean and tidy.
After Eric died, however, she says that her little ‘God-box’ blew up. That is not to say that she lost her faith. It actually became bigger. Delores realized that saying prayers each night does not assure us that we will not suffer pain. We WILL suffer pain. What God can do for us is to help sustain us through that pain and suffering. God can help us be the buffalo and face the intensity of the storm of grief head on.
I’m sure that today, six years after Eric died, Delores would not say that she is completely through the storm of grief, but she would agree that the intensity of the storm has lessened. By allowing herself to face her raw emotions head-on, they are not as sharp and stabbing now. She has even written two books about her grief, both available on Amazon. The first, entitled ‘Look Around: A Mother’s Journey from Grief and Despair to Hope and Healing,’ chronicles her grief story, while the second is a book of poetry, ‘A Bird Called Wisdom.’ Her hope is that others will be brave enough to run into the storm as well.