Surrendering to sorrow.


It's a deep soul emotion.

Over the years I have had my fair share of experiences with death. Grandparents and animals. I've been with friends as their loved ones have passed. Over the years I thought that I knew grief well.  As a kid when an animal would reach the end of their life my mom encouraged the good-byes. All the hugs and tears felt like I was really letting my animals know how much I loved them and how important they were in my life. I integrated, not consciously, the idea that grieving was the physical good-bye. And if I did that right then I would be free to say a heart felt good-bye and carry on. I didn't see a lot of tears or slowing down around death. I learned, through no fault of anyone, if I had no regrets then grief would be less painful, and I could fit into the mold of moving forward with strength, dignity, and a sense of humor.

The focus on grief was also about the tasks after death. Being able to get through them. Grief didn't slow you down, it allowed you to be free to move forward. No time to slow down. That isn't what the animal or person would want. Grief was about how I was going to pick up and continue moving forward feeling good about myself.  It was how grief was not going to slow me down. No need for that. I mean really. There is a lot to accomplish immediately after someone dies. (and there is my sense of humor)

I realize that I haven't truly grieved at all in my life. This is not to say there aren't pangs of longing for my grammas in my heart, because there still are. Not to say the animals who have graced me with their presence haven't left an imprint on who I am today. But to believe that I should be finished grieving the loss of my dad after two months, to say I am finished crying and have integrated the loss of my dad into my life would be an outright lie.

What I might say is that I haven't grieved enough in my life. I haven't allowed the tears to cleanse my soul. I haven't grieved the loss of the little girl who was happy, carefree, loved deeply, and who was cherished when I decided to fit in with a crowd who didn't value me.  I haven't grieved the loss of the girl who loved sitting in the front of the classroom learning so I could be the cool kid who didn't care. I haven't truly grieved in my life. And that feels bizarre to me. Because what I am experiencing right now is a real quality of tenderness in grief.

The opportunity I have to surrender to the sorrow in my life feels like important self care. To feel the loss deeply, for me currently, means I'm glancing at all of the goodness that my dad infused in me along the way. All of the things I appreciated and all of the things I am going to miss. And just that exploration starts to cast doubt on those little hooks that tell me I'm not worthy or I'm not smart enough or capable. I'm brought back to those moments before I became a chameleon to fit in and I remember what it felt like to be whole. To be cherished. And to be so loved and adored.

I remember.

Yet there is this pull that leaves me questioning how long do I get to float on the calm and gentle seas where I feel good about myself and my life?  Where I am not longing for more and I'm connected to something bigger than myself? And where I get to remember how my dad smells. How long will I remember what his hands looked like as he scraped a piece of wood smooth with a plane?  I can still hear his "I love you" and his encouragement for me to just be myself and not sacrifice who I am for someone else's dream. 

How long will I remember? That's the pain that I want to escape-the pain in the fear that I am going to lose all of the goodness. So I head back out to sea. I go to an event or meet with friends to test this new way of being. And the swells become so big that I get thrashed around.  One of my friends loves asking "What do you need?"

I need to remember. 

My heart is cracked wide open. It hurts so deeply. And I realize my dad is moving in. And that takes time.

I need time. 

I surrender.

On the speakers...

Bastille-Good Grief








Andrea Watkins