Dichotomy of Emotions
As the years pass, while continuing to process and categorize the grief from the loss of my beloved Sydney, the “job” of remaining present within each moment is an added challenge (to the grief journey) that I willingly take on. I say willingly, because from the very beginning of this painstaking journey, she reminds me in a variety of ways to stay the course.
While willingly, I am hard on myself when I have, what I call (only related to myself) “weak” moments or thoughts such as “what’s the point, who am I helping anyway?” (Being a person of service) or my favorite “oh my gosh, I have approximately 30+ years of living here without her sweet face”. Gratefully, it is at those moments that one of her songs may play which immediately brings me back to the who, what, where, when, why and how of the situation I find myself in for the reminder of my existence in this realm. These feelings oddly enough do not bring a feeling of dread of the future, which is what you might think, nor a feeling of anxiety. As I sit and try to put words around the feelings that have been surfacing over recent months, my quiet moments have become a little…difficult. Perhaps the difficultly is because my human self doesn’t feel up to the next level of acceptance that most likely is upon me. Gratefully my soulful self is much more patient and compassionate towards me than my mindful human self.
As my human self catches up to my soulful self, I am able to see through the cloud of confusion that my mind establishes as “real”. This “realness” does not correspond with the feelings I am having, so I am led to that quiet place of contemplation and soulful honesty. A place many do not venture. There is no doubting the soulfully honest data being downloaded. The delay comes with the process of allowing the information into the mind and making time to rework the preconceived story its designed to “protect me” from any additional potentially harmful next steps. It is at that moment that I remind my human self that there are no “next steps” that can ever be as painful as the one that has me here in this new reality. This process takes less than a millisecond but I am incredibly aware each time that it happens.
Now that the soul and the mind have agreed to make the necessary steps to align, my entire being is able to move again in harmony. The conflicting emotions that are seemingly occurring at the same time during every scenario that takes place in my days are beginning to find a voice in a choked up word, a behavior or a feeling. An example of what I am attempting to describe is my garden. It took me a good 2 ½ years to even feel like playing in the dirt. And quite honestly, it was a heavenly nudge that got me moving. I heard Syd’s voice saying, “momma, get back in the dirt. Play with the pots, and get your hands and knees in the earth”, so I did. I started again slowly as instructed, with pots, and started to feel…something. Initially it felt awkward. Gardening wasn’t something I did alone but it was something I was always very passionate about. I mean, I alone got dirty, but Syd was always with me. She would either sit somewhere in the yard talking to me keeping me company or would bring me lunch on the patio or would follow along after me picking up sticks to show herself “helping”. So, this new reality of playing in the dirt was painfully lonely but I pushed forward and stuck with it. That summer gardening was not a good thing and it wasn’t a bad thing. Gardening…it just…was. I was doing what was necessary to move past the acceptance of the idea of gardening alone, at least on this plane because I knew she was watching over me. This year, I have the gardening bug again along with a completely new canvas to play in. The feeling of bringing beauty together through the depths of colors, textures, varieties and smells has me experiencing joy again but it’s different than joy as I recall. It’s a dichotomy of joy that seems to happen with grief. While I can look out at the menagerie of nature’s magic intertwined with my vision and creativity and feel great joy, I also have a deep soulful longing tied to it. It’s less painful than it initially was but I find myself standing up on our deck looking longfully out over what could be described as a watercolor, feeling joy at the same moment. I have come to identify this as WWM (walking with me) and WOM (watching over me). Joy as I knew it when Syd was walking with me vs. now as she is watching over me. It has taken some time but with her nudging and signs, I am able again to experience Joy. It doesn’t feel the same as when she was walking with me, nothing does. At first, the realization that this dichotomy is a part of my new normal saddened me. Then during a quiet moment, I was reminded that perhaps it is yet another stage in the journey. Not owning it as a permanent place, allowing the flow of what could be but instead experiencing gratitude for the ability to even find Joy again at any level.
Once again, schooled by the powers of the quiet and guidance from above. ⚜️💜