Where did I go?

“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.”
― W.B. Yeats

When my son died, many well-meaning people informed me I would never, never, get over it.

And I set about to prove them wrong.

It’s my little pet-peeve – people who tell you stories that aren’t in your best interest.

It’s been five years and  I will tell you, they are wrong.

From my point of view.

From their point of view, they are right –

How can that be so?


From the outside looking in, it would appear the consensus of society is correct.    There are those who view my life, my dreams, my passions and priorities as not quite right yet.

They patiently (or impatiently) wait for me to return to the me I was before.

And so, in their eyes, I’m not over it, yet…   But they will continue to hope, pray and nudge me until they see signs of me ‘being myself’ again.

They’re in for a long wait and their insistence has started to wear my patience thin…


Here’s the list of things that will assure those around me I’m back to being myself and have overcome the shadow of grief, followed by my thoughts on the matter:

  • I will find gainful employment in a high-paying job that has prestige.
    • I will never, ever, work that many hours a week again and I especially won’t contribute that giant slice of my life to helping to build the empire of someone else.   I missed too much by doing it before and I won’t make that mistake again.
  • I will spend hours of my life on idle chit-chat, light gossip, judgement of those around me or those featured in news stories and what sitcom characters might do next episode.
    • I have little use for anything that does not educate, inspire or enlighten me.    The above is time I could have spent reading, writing, pondering or engaged in getting to truly know someone else and seeing the world through their eyes.
  • I will skate through life, eternally optimistic and will disdain from talking about the dark or negative.  I will see the best in humanity and blithely ignore the rest, because, hey! It isn’t my problem!
    • I’ve walked through the dark side.   I came out with some really awesome gifts in the way of courage, strength and wisdom.   Sorry if you’re too scared to walk that path, but I tell you, you’re missing out. As for it not being my problem, well, it may not be, but I’m sure not going to contribute to it by ignoring it or supporting it with my dollars or silence.
  • I will drop everything to rush to the aide of someone else who needs my help, because I’m no longer angry and bitter.
    • Um, no thanks.    Of all my losses, only two can be laid at the door of Fate.   Every single other one was the result of me spending my time and energy on the problems of other folks, instead of doing what I needed to do for myself.
  • I will forgive and forget those folks who leaned so heavily on me and did not heed my cries for help.   When I can return to our former toxic relationship in the manner which is beneficial to them, they will know I’m healed.
    • Yeah, I didn’t think I needed to explain this one – I knew you’d get it…


I’ve written about this before.  Nearly two years ago.    After my retreat at Wallaburga Abbey.

I realized the immense stress I was experiencing was from buying into the ‘milestones’ others had deemed as evidence of my healing.

That sunny June morning, in 2010, remains crystal clear in my mind.  I sat on the rough wooden bench, listening to bird songs periodically interrupted by bleats of the pastor’s goats, anxiously pleading for open gates and the freedom to graze lush hillsides.

In a blinding flash, I realized I would never again be the same person as before.   That trying to gauge my healing by a yardstick full of activities and priorities I no longer had any use for, was ludicrous.  As the rightness sunk into my soul, I became so very aware of who I was now.   What had changed for the better.   I also grasped, at the cellular level how right for me, the new me was.

So why are you hearing about this today?  Isn’t this old news?   Yes and No.

It’s old in the realization – new in the fact I’ve spent the past two years trying to communicate this to some in my circle.

Their vision of the ‘old me’ – the me they are waiting to show up, clouds their vision of who I am now.  They do not see or hear ME.  In their minds, I’m still missing in action.  They plead for me to get better.   They pray for me to heal.  They lovingly go over, time and again, what they expect to see when I’m well.

I’ve wasted precious time trying to convey the fact that I’m very happy until they inform me I’m not.  By doing this, I’ve missed out on time spent with those who see me exactly for what I am, and like what they see… or at least find me intriguing enough to stick around and see what shows up next…


I yearn for the authentic life.   When my inner world and outer world mesh in a way that makes me feel whole.    It is my primary focus.   When I focus on this congruity, everything else works…

Until it clashes up against the reality of those who yearn for the old me to show up again.

When I look at the issue in this way, there is no longer any resentment or bitterness.   I no longer feel the need to explain or try to make things work.

It simply becomes fact that who I am isn’t what they desire and hey, the world’s full of those who would be a better fit… for both them and me…

Thanks for listening – you know how I just have to audibly process things – – thanks for seeing it as part of my charm…



22 thoughts on “Where did I go?”

    1. How wonderfully perfect AND concise! Reminds me of what the speaker before Lincoln at Gettysburg said to Lincoln afterward:
      “You managed to say in 2 minutes what I failed to get across in 2 hours.”


        1. I’m sorry- those days are both trash and treasure – – here’s hoping the treasure found outweighed the trash gone through! 🙂
          And if not, I always console myself with the fact there will be less trash to take out next year….
          🙂 {hugs}


  1. I think people tend to confuse “getting over someone’s loss” with “forgetting someone” when they say you’ll “never get over” a lost one. You’ll never be the same, like you say, but you move on, changed. I lost my Mom to cancer years and years ago, so I can’t even imagine the heartache of losing a child. Yes, I’ve “gotten over it.” I’ve moved on with my life….. That doesn’t mean Ive forgotten here or don’t think about her every day!

    Thanks for sharing this powerful and personal post.


    1. My condolences on losing your mom. I’ve always thought it the height of irony that the very thing that brings us the greatest joy (loving) is also the act that opens us to such searing grief – if we are lucky enough to live long enough – we will lose someone we love.
      You’re right in pointing out the different ways to interpret the condolences given to us during out time of grief. Sad, but sometimes there just isn’t anything can be said that will land in the way it was sent… 🙂
      On the other hand, there are times when I question our cultural standards regarding grief and loss – that we’ve somehow stepped away from some of the old traditions that did give us the space to heal – I contemplated wearing black for awhile, so I could be left alone to process – alas, black is more about being chic than a ‘back off’ warning, nowadays! LOL 😀


      1. oh my gosh, you are so right! I had never thought about that, concerning black, but you are definitely right. It’s sad that we’ve lost that as an aid to mourning and moving on.


        1. I researched mourning rituals from a variety of cultures – left me thinking we’ve somewhat dropped the ball in our modern culture.


  2. great post. “over it”? more like the experience permanently changed you. Why wouldn;t it? You have learned what the “new” you needs and values. If others can not grow with you, then they have to think it is you not getting back to normal, or they might see that perhaps it is them, and they might not like what they see.


    1. True – a counselor I worked with years ago when I was struggling with issues in my marriage and at work told me it was my job to clean my own closet – no one elses – she then said,
      “Your only duty to those you have made commitments to is to inform them of your journey and how you are changing. Then, it’s up to them to see if they want to continue on the path with you.”

      I’ve been thinking about that so much this past week – I’ve informed, I’ve shared and now, I just want these people to walk somewhere else – – they’re messing with my mojo….LOL


  3. I yearn for the authentic life. When my inner world and outer world mesh in a way that makes me feel whole. It is my primary focus. When I focus on this congruity, everything else works…

    I could not agree with you more…


  4. My experience (having also gone through a ‘dark night of the soul’) is that most of my old ‘friends’ have fallen away…or I’ve had to walk away from them, in order to preserve my own sanity and health. My counsellor once told me that most people in society will not EVER do the work it takes to become authentic. I might not have, either, cause I was really good at burying my head in the sand. I didn’t have a choice in the matter, as NOT looking into my life meant my way of coping was lying on the bed, staring at the wall…which I would do for hours, days, and weeks…
    I’ve found I’ve given up trying to get my old friends to ‘get it’..or to try to understand the new me. Instead, I have surrounded myself with people who love and support my new way of being. SO much easier than banging my head against the wall!

    Brilliant post! Keep working toward that authenticity! (although I know I don’t have to even say that, cause once this journey is begun, there’s no turning back) 🙂 xo


    1. There is a grand conspiracy, still embedded in our culture, to not be who you are – to follow social conventions and protect yourself from ‘bad people’ by not showing your true self – there are a thousand other excuses given for not removing the masks we wear daily, but I have to say, I haven’t yet found myself in a position where wearing a mask brought me anything other than pain.


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