If you were to ask my friend Christine about this, she will laugh hysterically and probably not be able to tell you the whole story.
About a year ago, i felt compelled to take a vow of silence. If you know me, this is the punch line. Im a talker. Im a writer. Im an expressive woman!
But, i had reached a point in my healing where I felt it was important to stop. To listen more, yes, to others. But also to my own silence, my own heart. My mind needed a rest. It didnt take– i made it about 20 minutes.
This week I attended the first home game of Isaac’s basketball team. It wasnt easy– i had been trying to decide if i could handle it and once the decision was made, i went in prepared to be hugged and loved but also, prepared to protect myself from the vulnerability/ fragility I am currently experiencing “in the public”. What i didnt count on was the boys warmups having “IRM”–Isaac’s initials– on them. What i hadnt considered was how the National Anthem would break my heart. How when my dear friend Sharron sat down beside me, that all my nervous energy would try to pour out the disclaimer of my ego and attempt to explain away the grace everyone seems to have bestowed upon me.
I left exhausted and with a migraine brewing. Because I didnt remember the value of my silence– of listening and allowing myself to be filled up with the love surrounding me. I had a full on vulnerability hangover that lasted until the following evening.
I dont have any answers and Im not trying to make any point. I do think it is really important to keep the channels open– to find a way to communicate despite the enormous challenge within my heart and mind to understand all of this, including myself and my grief.
But because of the persona I have cultivated in myself over many years of learning, healing, and growth, I feel a perpetual responsibility to others to have the answers. And the truth is, everything I ever thought I ever knew has dissolved. I dont know shit.
I dont know when or if i ever will and for now, I am at peace with this. It may or may not require a vow of silence– of one kind or another– to move forward. In the meantime, if Im quiet here, or there, or anywhere, dont you worry. It never lasts too long with me—
Everyone wants to know what they can do to help. If you can listen to my silence as easily as my words, THIS is “what you can do for me”. Help me remember, through no words at all, that grief is the physical, emotional and spiritual work of accepting loss. And that it doesnt have to look–or sound– a certain way, while I continue to float through remembering and forgetting– just as I go through talking and quiet.
Thank you. Shine On.