Today, again, a feeling of sadness has come over me. I went to Friends In Deed at noon and that was, as always, incredibly helpful.
Mother's Day is next weekend and my mother is gone, and the anniversary of the horrific month we spent basically watching her die is coming, and all of the feelings that go along with a divorce - all of it is difficult and understandably sad.
I went back to Melody Beattie's book, "The Language of Letting Go" since I find so much comfort in it, as I do Pema Chodron's writings, and I looked up "Sadness" in the index.
Under May 20th was a posting about "Sadness:"
"Ultimately, to grieve our losses means to surrender to our feelings.
So many of us have lost so much, have said so many good-byes, have been through so many changes. We may want to hold back the tides of change, not because the change isn't good, but because we have had so much change, so much loss.
Sometimes when we are in the midst of pain and grief, we become shortsighted, like members of a tribe described in the movie Out of Africa.
"If you put them in prison," one character said, describing this tribe, "they die."
"Why?" asked another character.
"Because they can't grasp the idea that they'll be let out one day. They think it's permanent, so they die."
Many of us have so much grief to get through. Sometimes we believe grief, or pain, is a permanent condition.
The pain will stop. Once felt and released, our feelings will bring us to a better place then where we started. Feeling our feelings, instead of denying or minimizing them, is how we heal from our past and move forward into a better future. Feelings our feelings is how we let go.
It may hurt for a moment, but peace and acceptance are on the other side. So is a new beginning.
God, help me to fully embrace and finish my endings, so I may be ready for my new beginnings."
I love that reading. It is so in line with what I have learned at Friends In Deed. We learn that the only way through the grief is by feeling it. When I was dealing with my mother's illnesses and hospitalizations and other difficult challenges over a period of many years, I didn't have time to worry about my feelings, I just got on with making decisions, feeling angry about having to do so much of it alone, and being emotionally drained. But afterward, there is usually a flood of feelings that you can't escape. I have learned one really important life lesson through all of this: empathy. Until you've been there, you really can't understand what it feels like to cope with so much loss at once. My hope for my future is that I can use everything I've learned and come to understand in a way that will be of service to others.
I don't know how that will happen, but I don't have to know today. I just have to feel these feelings and hopefully release them, so that someday they will be a faint memory, like giving birth. Who remembers labor pains? Yes, it hurt, but so what?