Thursday, May 29, 2014

All The Birthday Feelings...

There is this thing that people do whenever someone like me, someone who puts a bit more of themselves out there publicly, expresses sadness. It happens all the time to my fellow writers too, and more than a few of them have struggled with it lately.

It happens in real life as well, probably for everyone who ever acknowledges openly the fact that life isn't always sunshine and rainbows.

Our society tells us that happiness is paramount to all else, that we are supposed to only ever focus on the positive, that we are supposed to ignore the negative feelings, stuff away the sadness...if not for ourselves, then for everyone else because our emotions make them uncomfortable.

To that, I say, too bad world. 

Things aren't always happy, things aren't always great. There is a comfort in sadness, a realness in it. It wraps us up in memories and hopes and things that will never be. Only when you've felt the stinging pain of loss, when you've grieved, when you've missed something or someone so deeply and profoundly can you truly begin to conceptualize what joy is.

Happiness is overrated. It is fleeting and fickle and far too often we couch those terms in the actions of others.

Joy is what I think most people mean when they urge us to seek happiness. Joy is the elation, the high, the bliss we take from the moments where all is right with the world, even if it only lasts for a moment.

Days like today mean that I'm feeling all the feelings. I've learned the hard way that I cannot suppress them, any of them, good or bad. I have to feel them all. If I try to push any of them away, they won't disappear. Instead, they will burrow deep inside my soul and fester until they start to systematically undo all the work I've done to get where I am today. 

There is no harm in sadness. There is no danger in grief.

I'm at a place now where I confront these feelings as they come. I sit with them for as long as I need to, and then I move on. No burrowing and festering. Nothing lingering in the back to steal the moments of joy.

I suspect this is something that we have to live to understand, because far too many well intentioned people try to tell me that I am wrong all the time. I know that they mean well, and perhaps for them they are still able to push away the negative aspects of life. I know I can't. Not anymore.

And so, here we are. The 29th of May.

The day that belonged for so many years to her, my Mother.

This is the first one that we are here without her on this Earth, though like I have mentioned before, it isn't really. I began grieving her long before her death, out of necessity. She was gone before she was, and these milestones seem less impacting in the wake of her loss than they ever did with my Father.

Maybe that makes sense to some of you, maybe it doesn't. Maybe you aren't there yet, maybe you never will be for the simple fact that your relationship with your parents wasn't as complicated as mine was.

The complication doesn't end just because life does.

I am sad and I miss her, but more than that, I know that wherever she is now is better than wherever she was. There is relief in knowing this, knowing that she is free from all that encumbered her here in this life.

And then there is more.

For as many years as this day belonged to her, it didn't always. Once my son was born, the day was his too. Except that it wasn't. Not really anyway. It was always shadowed by her, there was always a piece of his moment that he had to share. This is what he's always known.

The two of them together,
just before she left for the last time,
almost exactly two years ago today.
Now, it doesn't have to be that way anymore. He no longer has to share this day with her and her complications and her emotional manipulations and her determinations of how things should be.

It is just his now.

There is a peace in that, though it brings with it the sadness of knowing he won't ever again share this day with her.

Except that he will. In spirit anyway, in the memories of years gone by, in the moments when we will always remember.

We keep the good with us even when they're gone.

Happy birthday, Mom, wherever you are. We thought you'd like this and so it came to live with us here. I know it looks pink right now, but the blooms that have opened completely are your favorite shade of purple. I love you.

Happy birthday also to The Oldest. The little boy who taught me more about myself than anyone else ever has. Who came early, who changed all of my priorities, who changed my life. I love you.

p.s. stay weird. we like you weird.

1 comment:

  1. feeling all the feelings right there with ya sister! Thank you for being you.


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