Grief.

I feel so stuck lately. Usually comfortable with words and expressing emotions I find myself unable to find the words to express myself and a new impulse to keep things inside and stay guarded. Like I’m regressing in the emotional vulnerability I had come to feel so comfortable with. Sometimes people ask me how I am and just the idea of reaching into my mind to assemble my scattered thoughts into a cohesive response feels like a huge task. So I shrug, fake smile and say I’m fine.

Not every day but half of the time I don’t feel like myself. Stuff that was funny to me isn’t as funny. Stuff that was interesting to me isn’t as interesting. The things and ideas that motivated me aren’t inspiring. It’s the numb feeling of indifference. I often find myself just playing a character of what I assume is wanted of me. The work persona. The dad persona. Stuff feels like it’s moving so fast. There’s too much information pushed out to me and it feels overwhelming that I want to ignore most of it.

Mourning a future that never will be is counter productive yet I find myself unable to stop dwelling on what could have been. Ideas of time we’d spend together. Conversations I can no longer have. Holidays. The yearly birthday voicemails. All the mental discipline that I used to feel I had through meditation practice is just gone for now.

My mom wrote a lot. She wrote stories to make me and my siblings laugh when we were kids. And in going through her things after she passed we found a lot of notebooks. One had a poem about grief. She had lost her sister this year. She had also lost a step-father figure recently. And she lost a son many years ago. She dealt with a lot of grief herself and her words in a way feel like a gift to me in the moments I can’t really find my own.

On the plane ride back to Arizona I had this idea of posting one of her writings as a way to honor her. So that something she wrote could exist outside of her notebooks and journals. Originally I figured I’d include it with some kind of blog post that was more optimistic. I’ve always been a silver lining person, feeling like I can find meaning in adversity and negativity. But that silver lining and optimism has yet to arrive. And I am not sure that it ever will.

The most logical piece of advice that someone gave me was that I now have a hole inside me that will never be filled. And while it will always be there, I can and will learn to navigate life around it. I definitely look forward to finding that map. But for now I will just hold onto the thoughts of my mom in place of my own.

“I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know the start when grief took up residence inside my broken heart. One pain that lives inside me sometimes rages without end. An open wound that never heals, one I cannot mend. I know this life is a loan therefore there is a debt. I’d gladly pay my own to save those I can’t forget.

In truth I know death is just the flip side of His gift. God keeps his word to take us home-not leave us adrift. But I am only human, selfish in my loss and pain. Tears still fall, but love shines through-my rainbow through this rain.

-Robin Martina Svelnys July 11th, 1964 — October 15, 2021

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