Missing you is a way of keeping you. If I didn’t miss you, how would I find you? Where will you be? - I love you.
It’s a weird thing, almost as relieving as it is disorienting and disturbing, to recognize the moment we feel the grip of grief release. The presence of grief can become so familiar, as much as the grief itself. Is the sadness gone? No, not really. It perhaps is never truly gone. But there is also a pivotal moment of noticing that something of grief lifting. There is a bit more joy that shows itself, a little more sparkle, tears flow less easily, something more stable appears. And it can feel disarming, strange. We are shifting from grief to living. Something within has made a decision, and we are becoming aware of it. We are being asked to accept the invitation.
It is this new stability that feels a little like a free-fall. Moments of guilt or abandoning may have thoughts like, am I leaving them behind or have they left me? We may find a spaciousness in conversations that don’t always lead back to our lost one in our thoughts or words. Our thoughts and feelings become more chosen or internalized. Thoughts allow for other thoughts and feelings that are more inclusive of the present moments, more engaged, curious, lighter, and less resistant or comparing and reminiscent, longing or even combative as we rebel against life itself.
As these shifts happen, it is not completely a relief. We may wonder if we’re doing something wrong or disloyal by going on without them, if we’re not upholding a responsibility to keep them present, or if we can trust it, if our sorrow is waiting under the bed, or around a dark corner to spring out. We may feel concerned we’re forgetting something important, like a laugh, a way they move, what they might say, how they do things, feel, smell… that they’re slipping away, like we’re losing them again more softly. We’re so used to feeling it, it’s unfamiliar to be without it. Grief can evolve into a trusted friend who understands and holds all of our unspoken desires, fears, mixed emotions. The grief becomes our companion.
It can be jarring, the moment we notice we’re shifting. The soft shift is palpable, and we are not familiar with what is now there. Something within us, or that we are mysteriously connected with, is extending an invitation to remember, it is ok to be HERE, in this moment, this life, this world, to be more present and available in these living relationships we have and are yet to encounter. The invitation reminds us, shows us, if we allow, that we may still have them with us in most moments, like “not a moment goes by without thinking about them,” but the way they are with us can can evolve, as the relationship between us did in our lives. It no longer feels like a false comfort to consider this as possible.
We can embrace our grief and the release of our grief into a curiosity of this new space within our loss relationship. Who are we together now? We are ready to find out. This is another gentle invitation. We are ready to embody and see them anywhere in a new way. Why were they so significant? How are we more for knowing them?
This shift is not as much a signal that we’re moving on, leaving them behind, as it is that we’re integrating them, that this worthy companion of grief has done its job insulating us from what was too much while we healed a deep brokenness, and is moving on. This is already happening within. We can buck against it, but we are missing the invitation if we do. That’s the way the shift works, how it came to be at all. If we bring a presence to it, with some gentle awareness, some stillness, giving permission to notice and be in wonder, curiosity, joy, accept the invitation, we find who we are now. There's no going back to any way we were before. We are not as we were. We go forward. We include a wider range of emotions and experiences, movement and learning present in all relationships; joy, sadness, anger, frustration, silliness, contentment, connection. If we lean in, allow, we find ourselves more than for knowing them, not less than for having lost them.
Always in kindness,
Two poems for you:
Holding and Not Holding
BY BIRDI SINCLAIR
Who am I now, without you?
as I assemble my parts of life.
This part that sleeps without you
How do I now sleep?
This part that eats without you
How do I now eat?
This part that walks in the wooded path
we loved together…
without you. How do I now walk?
Who am I now, as I assemble my parts,
holding and not holding the piece that is you?
The Thing Is
BY ELLEN BASS
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you down like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
May all beings be in peace.
Ama la vita d’altro,
Rev. Dr. Birdi Sinclair
Interfaith Spiritual Care and Counseling
Wholeness Arts Specialist and Creator
“Begin Peace now. Each now is new.”
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