And while she was in fact someone close to me, even more so she was someone very, very close to many other people close to me. So, even as I feel my own loss, my own shock over her absence in this world, I feel even more devastated for the people standing at the epicenter.
Her very young son. Her husband. Her best friends. Her family.
Along with the sorrow, there is concern, and worry, and then even more layers of sorrow.
I've been reminded again this week how slow I can be in processing loss. It just doesn't penetrate to my heart and soul as quickly as it seems to for some people. I am not that person who can burst into tears immediately upon hearing bad news, and I kind of wish I were. I hold it in my gut. It feels like anxiety and stress before it feels like sadness. On the outside I can be very calm. I don't have many words to say, or I have too many words to say and it's all a rambling stream of nothing. But I hold it together. I'm that person who often appears very "strong" in a crisis.
Inside, my heart hurts and my stomach is in knots.
I feel nervous. Jittery. Anxious.
I fear what comes next.
Because what comes next...at some point...when my brain has done its work filtering through the confusion and dismay over the reality of that which is done and unchangeable...I feel sad. Really, really sad.
I hate feeling sad.
Honestly, I'm kind of tired of feeling sad.
And I say that knowing full well that I am among the luckiest people in the world living a wonderful life full of so much happy.
I know that, and I'm grateful. Truly, truly grateful.
But sad is sad.
You can't wish it away and you can't even 'gratitude journal' it away. No matter the enormity of the blessings in your life, when grief comes knocking there is no hedge of protection wide enough to shield you. You just have to feel it.
Or, you don't, and then you get all the problems that come with that but I'll leave that to the professionals to explain why that's a bad idea. (And it is a bad idea so if you are dealing with repressed grief, maybe go talk to someone?)
So....this is really not a good blog post given my whole Word of the Year and all that. But when I picked the word "happy" it wasn't because I believed that would magically mean I would get 365 days of easy breezy sunshine days full of cookies and margaritas (Yes, I think that sounds like a perfect combination. What?) It was more about setting an intention to keep looking for happiness, and recognizing happiness, even in the midst of life's inevitable rough patches.
I also chose the word "happy" (or did it choose me???) because I had started to recognize in myself a tendency to hold happiness at arm's length. Not because I don't enjoy feeling happy but because sometimes it can feel like too much happiness only puts you at more risk for eventually feeling sad.
In the last 48 hours I've felt that inclination creeping in again. The desire to throw up some walls and see if maybe I can't just build a fortress of protection against future pain. Sure, it makes for a rather boring, lonely life but maybe it's worth it in the long run??
I know. It's not.
And the bright light who left us this week never would have done that. She lived utterly without walls and knew so much love and happiness because of it.
She was like a field of clover.
Beautiful. Wide open. Full of life. And you felt lucky to be around her.
|"Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God's best gifts. It involves many things, but above all, the power of going out of one's self, and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another." Thomas Hughes|