I didn’t have a catchy title this month to match my words to.
I didn’t have a song that inspired me to contemplate the journey.
I didn’t have an event that I wanted to share to illustrate the transformative nature of the grief experience.
What I had this month is sadness.
Profound, deep, and somewhat inexplicable sadness.
As I attempted to draw from within what to write I did turn to these tools. Concepts and titles bounced around in my head as I played the same songs over and over trying to envision my message beyond the opening lines. I took scraps of random conversations hoping to apply the theory that if something makes itself known to you it is for a reason. I searched the internet for facts to bring the reason into focus. I reviewed things I had already written looking to make connections. I replayed events of this past month, trying various angles to find something that I could work with. Something that I could say in a way that hadn’t already been said by somebody else. I kept falling short. Nothing felt right. Nothing called out to be expressed. Nothing spoke to me.
Nothing…. except this sense of sadness that permeates every cell in my body. More than just permeates. It saturates me and the excess seeps out and spreads around me. It is palpable to those closest to me and it affects the way I act and interact and react.
Its origin eludes me. It is multifaceted. As I write this something connects where it didn’t before I started. Something I once wrote as a creative exercise about the colour black.
“I hold all of the other colours of the spectrum captive within me. Refusing to allow their individuality illumination.”
Maybe it applies. There is a myriad of experiences and emotions trapped within the blackness I feel. If I do not allow myself to explore each of them individually they fuse together into oppressive and meaningless sadness. My ability to recognize the truth and the validity behind what I am feeling becomes obscured.
I am sad.
I am not just sad.
I am, and it is, so much more.
It is graduation and I am processing the bittersweetness of our daughter’s success in the face of loss. I am both proud and afraid of what is to come as she makes her life choices.
It is July and I am instinctually recalling the terror and the confusion and the devastation.
My subconscious is working on how to bring these memories into my awareness and integrate them into my present.
It is struggling internally with those who choose not to acknowledge the day, let alone its impact. Conversely it is the discomfort I feel around those who do choose to acknowledge the day. I feel unworthy given the passage of time. Given that I have rebuilt my life. I am angry with myself for this. I know my grief is not limited by time or happiness.
It is the thought that perhaps I have not been entirely authentic by saying that this day, July 3rd, is becoming more about life than loss. It is the day Wing died. It is different than any other day. Even saying the date out loud sounds different to me. No matter what I do on this day to reclaim it, or who I spend it with to feed my soul, it will always be the epicentre of my most raw and primal grief.
It is working this time of year. I am frustrated with clients I face in the profession Wing and I shared who longer know or care about the sacrifices he made for them.
It is the anxiety and the self doubt I feel when I practice.
It is summer vacation and I am trying to find ways to fill the days. Overcompensating to the point of exhaustion to avoid conflict. I don’t know if what I do I would have done anyway, or if I do it because I am trying to fill a void. Or worse trying to avoid the emotions of others that I fear I do not have the ability to cope with.
It is the long weekend. I am afraid of long weekends. Wing lived for long weekends. Wing died on a long weekend. As this one approaches I am packing to go on a road trip with family. I am lost in remembrance of times past and I am terrified by my superstitions. This causes unrest and discomfort for the people who mean the most to me and I feel powerless to give comfort.
It is almost August. A month full of triggers like birthdays and anniversaries. It marks the end of my time at the sanctuary of my beach. Time that this year I have had precious little of for various reasons. This causes me panic and resentment. I feel mentally unprepared to face all the stresses of the new school year that I can see stretching out before me.
It is all of these things and more.
It is hurts and failures and insecurities that mingle, that join with one another, that grow in intensity this time of year. I have to focus to see them for what they are outside of this moment.
I am sad.
I am not just sad.
I am, and it is, so much more.
By illuminating the individuality of the complex components that make up my sadness I can see that is not inexplicable. I can lighten the weight of its oppressiveness by understanding that it is not meaningless. It is meaning full. It is natural and it is necessary. It reflects my experience. It speaks of the depth my grief. And of my life with grief.
While the process of examining the true nature of my sadness brings clarity to what I am feeling and why, it also brings with it a responsibility that deserves respect. It requires me to seek out the the things in my life that need attention. To pay them mind.
There are always going to be things that make me sad. But there are others that with reflection and work don’t have to. Perhaps if I turn once again to the words I wrote about black and apply them to my sadness I can trust what it has taught me about its origins and its attributes to show me the way.
“In my soul, I believe I am at my best when reflected back to you from the depths of a sacred obsidian glass. Born from the fire and passion of molten lava. Cooled to reveal my brilliance. The combination of strength and comfort that can protect you, as would a shield, from attack. That can ground you to the fertile black soil of the earth, which nurtures you”
I can be sad
I can be not just sad
I can be, and it can be, so much more.