grief, Love and clarity

i’ve been feeling like it’s time to emerge from my quiet cocoon. It has been a beautiful, healing place, and I’m thankful for it, but there is a gentle nudge inviting me back into this forum.

It will be a year since I lost my sister – february 24th – it’s coming up and I suppose it’s totally normal to reflect and take stock when big anniversaries like this arrive. I’ve been thinking about all the changes this past year brought, and they are not small. Last January I looked at my life, at all aspects of it, leaving no stone unturned, and I stared into the eyes of disappointment, anger, and regret and told them all I was done with them. I didn’t know how I was going to walk away from those things this time, I had never managed to do it fully before.

It’s January again. She’s not lying in that bed dying anymore, I am not pacing my floor in agony. The monsters that accused and tormented me are silenced. I am at peace.

The past year was one of the greatest clarity I’ve ever had. Grief did that. Trauma therapy did that. Love brought clarity in and planted it deep in my heart. I learned that I could tell myself the truth about what I really thought and felt and then dare to say that out loud to those I love, and that true, intimate connection would grow there.

I’m still afraid, I feel the fear tearing at the corners of my mind, telling me to run back into the cave I hid in all my life, but the monster has been seen, grief showed it to me, revealing it for what it really was. Now I can’t unsee it. I can’t unknow the truth. And there that monster sits, sulking in the corner because I have stopped entertaining him. His whispers float through the still air, taunting me every now and then to engage him, to come and play those old games where I spent hours and hours of my precious life defending myself against toothless attacks and weak accusations. Because that’s what he is – a toothless, weak monster – weak from being unfed and unattended, so he sulks in the corner. I don’t mind him sitting there. I know that one day he will be gone completely, he will slip away unnoticed and unannounced. Then down the road, something will remind me of how it used to be playing his torturous games, and it will occur to me to turn and look for him but he will be gone.

Grief took me down a hard road. Suffering was my closest companion. I’m thankful for that road. I’m thankful for where it brought me. I heard a gentle invitation in my heart a couple years ago, “Sallie, I’m going to teach you about suffering…” my heart beat hard in my chest, and I readily accepted that invitation not understanding the road I had to take. I knew it didn’t really matter because I couldn’t stay where I was, that’s all I knew for sure. It was the same voice that brought the invitation into Love 16 years ago. That road has been profoundly hard and long, and this time last year I thought I had reached the end of that road without meeting Love, but Grief has shown me that Love and suffering are intimately acquainted. I have met them both. I don’t understand any of it well enough to talk about it outside of pictures and impressions, but I can say that I am changed – I have been transformed by them.

I believe Larisa has been transformed by Love and suffering as well.  Nothing is what I thought it would be, and a year from now I expect to look back and say the same thing.

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