“ As the sky fell down, I was lost and found…“
- Echo & The Bunnymen. 1987
I spend a lot of time with myself these days. This trek toward healing means digging deep. Looking at parts of myself that haven’t yet made it to the surface in this lifetime. I am learning a lot about myself (and others!) while I’m at it. It has been especially enlightening to recognize the biases I have mindlessly harboured throughout my life and how those biases seem to change when they, all the sudden, become relevant in my OWN life. How my “black and white” thinking suddenly becomes much more “grey” when I am personally involved.
Like the way I always judged a cheater, until that time I cheated. All the sudden I had some compassion for the myriad of factors that could be involved in someone’s infidelity. Or I just finally had the understanding that everyone makes mistakes. (Especially when they are married at the tender age of 22 years old and get drunk a lot with the very hot, Irish, line-cook from work. Just sayin. Not my finest moment.) I realized in that messy situation that I both loved my first husband AND I also…mmmm…”loved” (to use that term VERY loosely) that Irish line-cook too! Both of those things were real and true. At the same time. Frowned upon and confusing. But real and true, nonetheless.
And like when I would hear about someone losing a partner and I would have big ideas about how and when they should move on, appropriate timelines for grief and other narrow-minded opinions that came from I-don’t-know-where. I am pretty sure I would have had a judgemental opinion about how one should react in pretty much any situation – like, say, if someone's beloved husband were to go OUT one day and accidentally DIE, leaving them with two little kids, a mess of paperwork and big shoes to fill. I am sure I would have had something to say about that. But I hadn’t actually pondered that one, to be honest - I didn’t think such a thing could happen - but since it has, (to ME) I am looking at all the polarities and paradoxes I experience as I go through this season and I cannot believe how often I experience both poles in any given moment. It is never just black or white…it’s getting very, very grey in here. Fifty shades, at least.
Polarity. North and south. Right and wrong. Black and white. Happy and sad. Healed and wounded. Love and Fear.
I always thought that we had to feel one way or the other but my extreme examination of this theory has shown me, unmistakably, that we can (and will) feel many different ways about things in the course of a lifetime…and in the course of a single moment, too. We can feel "both/and".
Take this supposed pandemic, for instance. One minute we are cursing the virus and it’s lockdown and the next we are sincerely grateful for the down-time and the slower pace, right?
That covid-influenced quarantine was a special kind of hell for our family (and yours too, I’m sure…). Until Darcy died and now all I can feel is gratitude for that time together. For the fact that it gave us six months that we never would have taken, voluntarily, to be a full-time, stay-at-home-together family. One situation, two polar opposite feelings about it.
There are lots of other things that have arisen through this that are just WAY too paradoxical to fathom. I could never have imagined that I could be SO devastated AND feel SO fortunate in the same moment. In one thought, it’s an experience of tragedy. My husband is gone. I no longer have a husband. Worse, my kids have no Dad. Anything I thought I knew about my life has vanished in an instant, along with Darcy. And a split second later, it’s an experience of abundant support, community and overwhelming gratitude. I notice that everywhere I look, every step of the way, I seem to have exactly what and who I need…just when I need them. I am held.
How is it that on the day I need to tell my kids this traumatic news about their Dad, I literally have a text-worthy connection, through my brother, with one of the world’s leading trauma specialists, (shout out to the brilliant Dr. Gabor Maté) and he is willing to help guide me through this unthinkable experience?
How is it that, when Darcy died and the stock market teetered on the brink of a potential crash (Biden vs. Trump leaving us all unsure about what to expect…) our bank provides me with service from their TOP investment specialist who just happens to also be my very compassionate neighbour?! A person who knew Darcy’s investment plans intimately, and as a result, I was able to protect a lifetime of hard work and high-risk stock from the comfort of this neighbour’s home-office in my sweat pants and flip flops. With the assistance of someone who actually cares. And with coffee! (Gratitude wherever possible, friends. I am grateful for coffee.)
Actual footage of me showing gratitude for coffee.
I am both devastated and blessed in every moment of this.
These major contradictions are what I keep in mind whenever I am confused about what the “right” thing to do or feel is. I know anyone who has lost a partner will have judged themselves for something along the line… retreating to the old conditioning…those biases and judgements I mentioned about right versus wrong. Appropriate versus inappropriate action or behaviour.
The truth is…
Sometimes I feel very ready to move forward with my optimistic disposition, to leave this painful path in my dust and rebuild my life in a whole new way. Stronger and better than before. And other days (or maybe less than an hour later!) I feel like crying on my couch and eating ice cream like a movie-griever would do. I feel both ways.
Some days I cannot believe how much I have had dumped onto my plate and I curse Darcy for leaving me alone as a solo-mom. I don’t feel like I will ever be enough and it breaks my already demolished heart. Other days, ALL I can see and feel are the gifts of my life, just as it is, and I sit in gratitude for all that he gave me and the kids during our time together. In those moments, I know that I AM enough and I know that HE knew it too. I am MORE than enough and that is why he picked me. I feel all these things at once.
Sometimes I want to be a widow in a black veil mourning her husband as though he was the very breath that gave her life. You know, like a good widow. For a minimum of one calendar year…to show dignity and respect for the deceased. (But not exceeding two calendar years…that would just be too much. I mean REALLY… move on…this is getting uncomfortable for everyone. Ha!) And other times, I ponder what Tinder will be like!
I feel both ways at the same time.
Moving on doesn’t have to mean I am forgetting Darcy. I can hold my past memories of him close to my heart and also dream of my beautiful future at the very same time. They are the poles of my lifespan. I cannot have one without the other. Like lightness and shadows. The sun and the moon. I am all the things at once. And that's okay.
I am lost AND found.
Til Next Time,
Heal and Be Healed.