It was [a story] that M. F. K. Fisher wrote about in one of her books, of having a friend over for tea one day. The friend noticed out the kitchen window that Mary Frances’s cat was lying in a big mud puddle. Mary Frances said that it was hurt and trying to take care of itself, but the friend asked, Then shouldn’t we take it to the vet? Mary Frances said no, absolutely not, that if she did, the cat would die, that the cat knew exactly and intuitively what to do, knew that only time and lying in the mud would heal her. A few days later the cat was okay again.
That’s how I felt after my dad died. I had to shut down almost entirely and just lie in the mud for months. I felt that the world was no longer safe if my young handsome lively father could be so suddenly dead. I felt like it was a shooting gallery out there. And I felt like my heart had been so thoroughly and irreparably broken that there could be no real joy again, that at best there might eventually be a little contentment. Everyone wanted me to get help and rejoin life, pick up the pieces and move on, and I tried to, I wanted to, but I just had to lie in the mud with my arms wrapped around myself, eyes closed, grieving, until I didn’t have to anymore.
— from Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott