Monday, February 18, 2008

In the chrysalis

This past weekend of packing my house has brought up many memories - some wonderful and some painful. I've been in a weird place all weekend. Quite positive that this is a purging of the old to make room for the new, I am aware of yet another period of growth. I am curious of the "T" that will emerge on the other side.

Today's Daily Om hit the mark, as it so often does:
As any gardener knows, the bulbs that contain the beautiful flowers of spring and summer—daffodils, irises, tulips, gladiolas—cannot bloom until they have endured a period of cold. Held in the dark earth during the frigid winter months, they undergo internal adjustments and changes invisible to our eyes. Like babies gestating in the lightless, watery wombs of their mothers, they are fully engaged in the process of preparing to be born. So many of the greatest mysteries of life begin this way, with a powerful urge for growth enclosed in a small, dark space.

We humans have a tendency to yearn for the light, for the coming of spring, and for the more visible phase of growth that all things express in coming to be. In our love for what we can see with our eyes we sometimes lose patience for, and interest in, the world of darkness that nurtures and protects the seeds, bulbs, and babies of the world for such an important part of their life cycles. It is a perilous and mysterious phase of growth, and one that we have little control over, and perhaps that is why we don’t celebrate it with quite the same passion as we do the lighter and brighter phases of life. Nevertheless, we ourselves endure similar periods of developing in the darkness throughout our lives.
I have found letters, cards and art projects from high school. I've found blankets and sheets that I had on my old waterbed when I was single. I've found many reminders of the first house that the ex and I owned together. Why did we keep all of this stuff? I've also come across many items that I'd bought for my dream trip to Italy and Spain that was cancelled at the last minute. That was sad... but then again, I know that I will make that trip one day. There were endless items that pointed to a future that I thought I was sure of.

I've found all sorts of baby stuff that I don't need anymore. Lots of really sweet photos of my oldest daughter as a baby. I'm realizing now how much I savor my little one as my last baby. When my oldest daughter was 3, I was pregnant and/or had a newborn. My little one was only 2 months old when my marriage began to fail. So I was dealing with a toddler, a newborn and the emotional rollercoaster of questions about my future.

My oldest daughter hasn't had my total attention, really, since she was 2. She's had to grow up fast since that age. I found I was pregnant a month after she turned 2 and miscarried at 11 weeks along. During that time, I stopped picking her up and told her she had to be a "big girl" because I was pregnant and she was going to be a big sister. Then after my miscarriage, I went into a depression that lasted til I found I was pregnant again. Then there was a whole host of other things I was occupied with, including the disintegration of love in my marriage.

Many things I found brought up the memories of how I tried so hard to hold my marriage together for my girls. I felt like such a failure that I couldn't simply hold on and continue as a family of four. I guess I had compartmentalized those feelings of loss. I'm very proud of how I handled it, don't get me wrong! I listened to my true self and did what I thought was best. However, I guess I still worry and hope that I handled it best for the sake of my children.

In the meantime, I will try to be patient with myself. This is a time of remembering, learning and growing so some discomfort is normal. I am but a hermit crab, as a therapist once told me, leaving one shell and off to find another one. In the meantime, in the chrysalis or in suffering the loss of one shell, I will be vulnerable.

But I still have the one thing that has brought me safe thus far, amazing grace and faith. And as I've learned, in faith, there is nothing to defend.


  1. "I guess I had compartmentalized those feelings of loss." Cogrants on recognizing this. So may people ever do and it lives them with deep seeded pain that will be with them until they are much older.
    While we hang on to things wether it is in physical form or emotional they bring us comfort from the past. While reviewing and sorting as we move forward their are always going to be feelings that come to the top. This is all normal as you know and you know that there is a wonderful that will await you in the future.

  2. Let this be a time not only to look ahead, but to "pay your respects" to your old life. I know it must be hard to look through all those things. When I moved into my own place, I remember going through all the letters from my ex, way back to when we first met, mementos of our wedding day, etc. It was so sad to read/see those things, and then to finally relegate them all to their own storage box. Imagine a whole life fitting into a box! But it helped me process and grieve the loss and to move on, too.

    You'll be fine, and this is just another step along the way. You have so much to look forward to.

  3. So may people ever do and it lives them with deep seeded pain that will be with them until they are much older.
    A busted (n) key can change never to sad. Sorry for the mispost.


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