October 25 feels like a black hole that will swallow me whole. I know its just a story of fear, because I have already survived it each year since 2014. But this year I am more able to witness myself flailing, trying not to fall in. It feels like a rope around my waist is attached to the black hole, pulling me toward it, and I maneuver every which way but loose, trying to out wit, out run, out last it. Sometimes it feels silly to fear a day so much, to give it so much power. The same can be said for many things. There’s not been a day yet that I have outrun the truth of it all, so what’s the point of trying to skip/avoid a single day?
Except that it isn’t really just a day, or the anniversary of a day. Sometimes in the midst of a perfectly lovely Winter, Spring or Summer day, the black hole emerges. Threatening to take more from me than I can bear. Some days I say, “I have survived the worst, nothing can hurt me now”–how whack is that?!?! Other days I remember that grief is cumulative. More loss inevitable. My own death looming. I cannot survive life. Life is ultimately death. I’m a fucking ray of sunshine on those days, let me tell you…
Despite these awful-no good-terrible-very bad days, I’ve spent a good amount of energy trying to ‘utilize’ the fulcrum of grief to land in a life I can stand living. That’s the truth, Ruth. The options that seem available to me appear as a fork in the road. This Way to Total Insanity/Hell/Death From a Broken Heart or This Way Toward Something Else Maybe We Can Call It Hope. I have to choose daily. This is where I can prove that who you surround yourself with can influence you. I spend most of my personal time around Miss Moon (my canine companion) and my husband. Their steadfast love, their allowing me to be, AND their watchful eyes combined with their indomitable spirits, their eternal quest for fun, and their appreciation of naps has resulted in me having a nest to convalesce, tend to my wounds, cocoon and emerge back & forth as necessary, in. The keening grief of child loss is relentlessly exhausting, painful, confusing, & scary stuff to endure and I’m quite sure, to witness. All the secondary losses that come in the aftermath are terribly sad & perplexing under the already dim light of deep loss. But my dog & My Dawg have held space for it all. Thank You God. Holy Shit. And Blessed Be. And behind these two yahoos are beautiful others who love me fierce and tender and have just continued to reach out their hand for me to hold on to if/when I need it. (Thank you Lovebeams!!!!!!!!) I feel I can never repay all the kindnesses and it worries me sometimes. Sometimes I find it hard not to be DOING something about it when I am here.
I feel like a pendulum swinging, vacillating between yes and no, not ever centered into stillness, though perhaps there is more rhythm to this motion now, or atleast more acceptance that it happens. Some days, I AM alright. Not everything is or can be, but Im ok. Between these extremes– (ir?)rational fear and relentless indebted gratitude– that’s where I aim to find myself more often. I think of it as steady, calm, graceful, at ease being. I will probably always be becoming, doing the best I can, trying not to put so much pressure on myself, dropping the expectation of perfection like so many things I’ve had to drop–had to stop telling myself are true or false. The mind keeps coming back with “what about this?” when I send it away shaking my head. It comes back more sly, each time. Vying for me like a wolf, licking its chops. But I intend to find a way to tame it and keep it wild simutaneously, to make peace with it–to be alright, with all my might.
(Image by Dimitri Milan)
“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.” –Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes