Sometimes I feel like I cry for silly things–things that don’t make sense.
An older woman in my group at the senior center lost her husband some months ago. Her husband of many decades, of the majority of her life, truly her “life partner.” She is crying quietly as she talks to a friend, a woman whose loss isn’t quite as fresh, but who knows, who comforts, who listens, who cries with.
i cry now, remembering.
Here i sit in my happy place, this lovely, morning light filled bedroom of my #smallnottinyhouse. The sense of this house is peace and joy. My dog lies near me on the bed, my cat is fixed on the squirrel in the tree out the window. I’m surrounded by calm and colors and things I love.
Yet I cry remembering the scene in my group yesterday.
Loss. Their sense of loss of the irreplaceable. Their companions of a lifetime. Their best friends.
I cry at their loss.
I cry at my own loss and feel selfish, because my own loss is that I will never know their particular pain.
Can I possibly be jealous of their pain? What kind of person does that make me?
I think of a conversation with a friend. She is still healing from a relationship more like mine was–a long marriage she had imagined would be a lifetime companionship, taking care of each other, supporting each other. Sharing. Instead she became an unwilling participant in a war where long ago someone had already determined she would be the loser–a war she didn’t know she was fighting.
This friend is still in the place I’ve only recently departed, the place where all voices and all movements make her duck at the expectation of an exploding grenade being lobbed at her head. Silly us, we wanted so badly to believe we lived in sun-filled vacation villas that we overlooked the trenches and tanks surrounding us.
We didn’t know how to shelter our children. We didn’t know how to shelter ourselves. We kept serving pina coladas on the veranda and calling the air strikes fireworks.
Clearly I am still judging myself–for my choices, for my feelings, for my lack of awareness. For using Lying To Myself as an ineffective flack jacket.
But I see how far I have come, too. How I no longer stop-drop-and-roll every time I hear a loud voice or perceive an attacking tone. I see how I can look forward to each morning and the trees out my bedroom window and the light washing across my bed. That I can look forward to the knowledge that I am waking in a safe place.
I see that I can feel for the pain of those women who lost something I will never have, and I can grieve both with them and for myself.
That I can feel my friend’s pain, since I have been where she is.
That it is all loss. That is the commonality.
It’s all pain we must wade through to get to the other side.
And here I am beginning to see that believing my crying is a silly thing is just another Lie In My Bones I need to lay to rest.
Tears are an experience we share as humans. Loss is loss, pain is pain.
Maybe the best we can do for each other is to see and hear each other’s utterances of grief. To be each other’s safe spaces until each of us makes it through the long, hard, slog to Home.