Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Dear Grief

Dear Grief,

I know we haven't really been friends in the past. When I saw you coming I would avoid you as though my life depended on it. Because I believed it did. I met you a few times in my childhood and you weren't pleasant to deal with, so I learned how to avoid you in whatever way I could - hardening, disconnecting, closing, avoiding and denying. I wanted nothing to do with you and anytime I felt your touch I would recoil from you and run away. I couldn't look you in the eye. I hated you to be honest and blamed you for many things - my inability to feel like I was thriving in life, my need for security and validation, and my hesitation to love completely.

For years I thought you were gone. I had this false belief that because I had met your acquaintance so many times before that you would spend the rest of my life visiting others and harassing them. I thought I had put in my time with you, that somehow I had earned a life without your presence. I was wrong. Somehow, despite still feeling your touch from the last visit, you showed up again, unexpectedly, and slammed me to the ground. I wish I could put a bell on your ankle so that I could sense you coming and somehow prepare my mind, body and soul for your visit. Though I suppose then I wouldn't feel the full effect of your assault. And I can find gratitude in that because every time you snuck into my world and shattered me to pieces I failed to see why you did so. I hadn't realized you were there to show me things I couldn't see. After the shattering I would pick up the pieces of my previous self and put them together again. In a new way. Always a new way that was stronger, lighter and more compassionate. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to transform myself.

More recently you have entered my life again in a new form, so new I almost didn't recognize you. When I first understood it was you in the corner of my heart, my immediate response was to kick you out and tell you to never come back. I wanted to rip your fingernails off one by one, because of the absolute terror your presence stirred in me. I was all too familiar with the discomfort you bring to my life and I was desperate to step out of that. You stir up things in my soul that would rather stay dormant. Yet through this recent experience you have drawn attention to my white knuckled grip on people and things around me, and in stomping on my fingertips grasping the edge of the cliff, you have reminded me that the grip isn't really mine to take on anyway. You have not so subtley reminded me that I am not in control, and in order to survive with you I needed to be willing to let go and allow. Because I can never control you, I can only learn to live with you in a space of growth and love.

I was happily moving along with the motions in my life, comfortable with the pacing and unfolding that was happening. Until you showed up again. "Fuck" I said to myself as I felt the blood drain from my face. You showed up through a trusted face and made your presence known through a few simple words. My world exploded as all I had come to know and be comfortable with dissipated through a single email. I grasped. I pleaded. I sobbed. You wouldn't go away and there was nothing I could do. My world no longer looked or felt familiar to me and I struggled to see my worth in this space. Who was I? What did I care about? What is most important to me? What brings me joy? I hated that you took all my answers with you and left me fighting to find the right ones. I created a "what the fuck makes me happy" list, which never would have happened without you. So thank you. Thank you for opening my eyes to what my soul really craves, not the every day tasks that had been taking up my time through routine and comfort. Thank you for forcing me to answer these difficult but vital questions of myself, for they have led me onto a path that's much more meaningful to me.

Thank you also for forcing me to cut through the shit when it comes to love. When you are really close to me all I am aware of is love. Love without the ego driven qualities such as jealousy or insecurity. You make me see love for all it is - vulnerability, depth, softness and compassion. Without your recent visit I might still be seeing the doubt, anger, resentment and fear. Thank you for allowing me the ability to see the commonality between all living beings through the threads of love and pain that connect us all together regardless of appearances. Without you I would still be seeing the masks of others through my own.

There have been times in my life when you sat too close to me. So close that you began to consume me and I couldn't tell where you ended and I began. I associated myself with you and you became my entire entity. Back then I didn't know that you are very much like quicksand - the more I fought you, the quicker I sunk. I have learned to sit with you, listen to what you are telling me and hold you, knowing that we are not the same entity, that you are just here with me for a period of time when you will leave as sneakily as you came, and I will remain, different from all the wisdom you left behind.

So thank you grief. I know we are still getting to know one other but from now on I promise to sit with you and allow your presence in my life, because after you, I am never the same again. And how lucky am I that I get to choose whether that transformation is a positive or a negative one? How lucky am I that you keep choosing me because you know I am ready for the lessons? How lucky am I to know you so intimately?

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