It is the New Moon in Leo tonight, which seems as good a reason to blog as any. I admit I have been taking a bit of a break from posting lately for a variety of reasons, but mainly because for the first time on this blog, I have felt the need to censor myself. This is so unlike my usual outpouring of transparency, I thought I would take a step back, pause, and tend to the unspoken words swirling around inside before attempting to put them down on paper.
I wrote a post a couple days back about what this summer has meant to me. I called it the Tipping Point, and spoke of how a couple major losses seemed to have been my equivalent of a tipping point these last few months. Just one thing too many on top of the precarious pile, and it all falls down.
I kept waiting for things to turn the corner back in June until I finally realized, that turn didn’t seem to be coming as fast as I thought it should. I have struggled to find the grace towards self, the grace towards my own process, that I usually advocate. I composed a whole piece on all of this, but I couldn’t bring myself to post it. Perhaps it just seemed too sad and shone too deep of a light on my broken down parts that I wasn’t quite able to press the button that would display those words on this site.
I also must confess that I had a bit of trepidation over the reaction of those who read these words, especially those who know me. How much do I really wish to expose of the shadows that have been inside of me? Perhaps my courage simply ran out for transparency.
Or perhaps it is easier to write about our shadows when we are not in the thick of them, when we have shone a bit more light on them as we sit on the other side beaming our flashlight back at the road we just traveled. We talk about what we’ve seen with new found illumination and offer hope to others, encouraging them that if they are in their shadows, they will soon see, light.
I think I feared my shadows were far too shadowy and much too short on hope. What if I can’t see the light? What then?
I do know that I have learned this summer that grief is a rather unwelcome, yet incredibly insistent guest. No matter how hard you try and close the curtains and pretend like you are not home, it will find a way inside and greet you in inopportune moments when you least expect it.
Out to dinner with friends, where you have to excuse yourself to the restroom to go release the tears that have been threatening release all night, before drying your eyes and returning to the table all smiles. Standing in line at Disneyland wondering who cries behind their sunglasses at the happiest place on earth, dammit. Sitting at the airport in the hard seats at a relatively empty gate so you can at least try for a bit of privacy, as salty tears drench the big pink heart on your shirt, and you wonder if anybody walking by is staring.
Trying to fall asleep, and finding this sad companion curled up next to you forcing itself into the hollow in your stomach, leaking itself from your watery eyes, refusing to leave you alone, refusing any sort of consolation. You have used up every single tool in your toolbox trying to exorcise this unwelcome guest, before you realize there is nothing you can do to make him go away: he will stay as long as he wishes.
I wrote a poem earlier this summer that contained the line: I thought some days I must be the very saddest girl in the world, and that if I could build a tiny canoe out of the splinters of my heart, and sail away on the river of tears pooling at my feet towards happier waters, I would long be gone.
Unavoidable, uncontrollable, inconsolable, insistent, persistent, undeniable, won’t be side stepped, won’t be skirted, can’t be outwitted, can’t be distracted, can’t be out thought, will be heard, will be present, will stay as long as it wishes, grief.
See? Isn’t this sad? It’s like the pitiful puppy in the new litter who can barely manage to suckle so he is slowly waning away, and you’re not sure if he will make it, as a sad little tear runs downs his tiny puppy eye. Poor, pitiful, sad, mewling puppy. Who wants to feel like that?
It will be dark out tonight, with the dawning of a new moon, which is a very appropriate back drop for this post on shadows, grief, and pitiable puppies. The thing is, that despite the dark, a tiny light has started to flicker in my heart the last couple days. For the first time in a long while, I am wondering if grief is getting tired of the accommodations here and is considering leaving what has been his permanent lodging for the past couple months.
He doesn’t seem to be feeling as comfortable as he did a week ago, and his presence seems to be fading as that invisible wall he has so effectively erected in my heart feels somehow lesser. Perhaps not entirely gone, but not entirely there either.
There is a tiny voice whispering inside of me which has been gaining volume as of late.
Grief is really just love turned inside out you know. It echoes in the darkness of my nights.
Those who love the hardest feel the deepest you know. I consider the truth behind these words.
You grieve because you loved my dear. Your ability to love is your greatest strength.
Perhaps there is something to this. Perhaps no matter how broken down it has seemed, this summer of grief exists because of my extreme ability to love. Perhaps there is strength there.
The one who almost didn’t make it, that pitiable puppy, will be the one who will love the hardest and appreciate his life the fullest you know. Gratitude is biggest for those who know what it is to have lacked.
I think about this last phrase, that the pitiable puppy, the one who almost didn’t make it will love the hardest, will appreciate life the most.
I stare down at the almost 15 year old bundle of fur curled up beside me. Misshapen, a strange little body that wasn’t quite put together right, almost didn’t make it and was rescued from the pound, an enlarged heart that is too big for his tiny frame but keeps on beating anyways. His soulful eyes will tell you a story of deep abiding love if you stare into them long enough. He raises one sleepy eye to stare back up at me as I reflect on these words.
I know them to be true.