“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…