"Why didn't you tell me it was this bad?" I asked my wife. "I'd like to hope that I was at least somewhat supportive, even if I didn't understand at the time." The time to which I was referring was an incident some years back. My wife had lost someone incredibly close to her in a very, very tragic way. And it was far too early in this person's life. He was about my son's age. About six months after the death, I remember seeing her very....well, unmotivated for anything in life. (There's that word anhedonia again.) At the time, I had no idea what she was going through. How could anyone know what this is like until they experience it?
And my wife's answer will stick with me because it's true. I don't want it to be true and I'm not sure when, or even if, I would've figured this out on my own. But the longer it sits with me, the truer it gets. "I didn't tell you because you couldn't understand......and in the end, there's no one to go through the grief with you except yourself." Tears began to well up in both of our eyes. "You're there and it's only you and your grief alone. No one else."
Don't get me wrong. I have some wonderfully caring people who wouldn't hesitate one moment to help me out. And I greatly appreciate it and they do help out in their own ways. I've leaned on more than a few different shoulders. But my wife is right. There is The Path of Grief that you and you alone walk down. No one else is able to accompany you there. You can relate to others about the pitfalls and dangerous spots. You can ask about their own stories on that path. There even may be similar twists and turns on that journey. But in the end, on that dark path is you and your grief alone.