Friday’s musing was about all the thoughts and feelings and yearnings we don’t talk about. Yesterday I posted a John O’Donohue quote about feeling your feelings fully. Today grief is on my mind. I am directing a play in Portland, Maine at St. Lawrence Arts this summer and its protagonist Billie and her best friend Pat have gotten together after many years of estrangement. Eleven years prior Billie’s daughter ran away and never came home. The buried emotions are very complicated and all attempts to sort them out are very painful. This play, What We Get to Keep by Roland Tec really captures the subtext of loss. Grief comes to us in many ways – the death of someone we love – person or pet, break ups, estrangement from friends and family, changes in our situations, bodies, abilities… The thing I know to be true about grief is that is takes its own time and never really goes away. Sometimes a visceral miss for someone long gone wells up out of nowhere and just upends me. Every now and then I get all weepy about the little children I raised and mourn how I will never again hold those tiny bodies to me. There are days I miss my father so badly my stomach aches. Being the elder is not a job I particularly like. I grieve for simpler times, lost loves, lost days, wasted years, friends not in my life, pets who passed on. My grief is pent up love and craving and yearning and tears and snot all rolled up in a messy ball. Just writing this makes me want to cry. And that is not a bad thing. It feels hard but good to feel it all.
When my fiancé died by suicide, I interviewed other people who had lost loved ones in the same way and I found that they too wanted to talk about their beloved and the way they died. One mother wanted people to say her son’s name. Just to say his name, Shawn. Shawn. It is not as if addressing someone’s loss will bring their grief to mind; they are already constantly thinking about it, experiencing it. Compassionately asking about what is going on for them can give them an opening to release or to process or to cry and gives us a deeper understanding of grief itself. We’re in this together people and we can’t escape change and death. It keeps on happening and happening.
Soulful Shared Stories Sunday Writing Prompt ~ Write about something or someone you miss terribly. What specifically do you miss?