I cried in the shower tonight. I guess I was hoping that the hot water and the sound of silence would somehow magically soothe my hurting heart. But the longer I let the heat warm my body and felt the water pound against my back, the harder I cried. I rested my head against the shower wall hoping to find my inner calm. But, I didn’t. Instead, in my shower of tears, I discovered something else. Grief, pain, and loss made a re-entry into my emotional orbit. A perfect storm. A trifecta of emotions.
Most days, I’m okay. I’ve done my best to manage my grief, and perhaps that’s where I went wrong. Or maybe not. It did, after all, lead me to write.
But here in the stillness of a cold January night a few days shy of the day five years ago when my world came crashing down, I feel incredibly raw. I’ve stripped down. I am naked with emotion. I am tired of pretending to be okay, when in fact at this moment, I am not. Beneath it all is a daughter who merely misses her mom, although there is nothing simple about it. The complexity with which I feel scares me yet it is also somehow freeing.
I fight to understand the intensity with which the floodgates have opened.
I retreat because it is easier to carry this storm in silence and the deluge of my heart; all the while knowing that letting it out – even in the sanctity of my own four walls – is a pathway for continued healing.
I still long for the day when I can talk about my mom’s passing and the connection we had without that lump forming in my throat and tears welling in my eyes. I’ve found it makes some people uncomfortable and that others don’t understand. And I don’t expect them too. Then again, I’ve been quietly comforted and happily reminded too by sharing my story. The latter, of course, telling me that in finality there is also a beginning.
I suppose the tears allow me to acknowledge these feelings. The tears make it real and allow me to continue to heal.
I question the flood of emotions that ransack my heart so randomly – and unexpectedly. And so I sit here and cry some more. A part of me says that I should stop. Enough already. Let it go. That other part of me – the one who knows that self-care is essential – allows me to feel this. All of it – as ugly and as thick as it is – because I am a human whose emotions and feelings run deep. And despite the trembling that accompanies my acknowledgment is knowing that it makes me feel better to feel this. I suppose the tears allow me to acknowledge these feelings. The tears make it real and allow me to continue to heal. I am consoled by my non-judgemental canine child who nuzzles close to me and whimpers softly – his way of saying “its okay momma, I’m here.”
I don’t quite know how to explain how I feel. I suspect it is different for each of us. But for me, pain and sadness are a vice grip, and at times, it is difficult to breathe. Until it isn’t. I can’t explain why now, after almost five years, the sadness still invades my heart. But, I suspect it is because I loved her so much. I used to think that I had to apologize for being sad, for feeling what I am feeling and for embracing my vulnerabilities. But I don’t. And I won’t. The loss is genuine, as is pain and sadness. We all experience it, and we all work through it in our way. Some of us are more compassionate toward others going through it and some of us not. I can’t begin to understand what makes us all tick or why one person deals with it one way and me another. But for me, it is this right here.
I am stripping away the layers.
I am feeling with every ounce of my being.
It’s who I am.
Admittedly, I’ve wished that I wasn’t such an emotional being. And, I’ve tried. But I didn’t like wearing that facade. It doesn’t mean that I am weak. I am not fragile — just the opposite.
I found my strength in my pain and loss.
I found my voice in my pain and loss.
But most of all, I found my way.
I’ve learned, from my mother mind you, to be resilient. And while she always told me to “never let the turkeys get me down,” I have to admit that I sometimes do. But, I’ve found, in those times that I can see my way through and pull myself back up.Why? Because like she always said, “You’re made of good stuff.”