Monday, December 8, 2008

Pain revisited

One morning last week, I broke down into all out sobs about Soldier. It came unexpectedly and from way down deep.


How does that make YOU feel? Angry? Irritated? Sad?

Because in my experience,

Most people turn away from pain.

This is something I've noticed my entire life. I have always felt emotion, uncontrollable emotion, at things in life.

These can be beautiful things...

I am the one who will tear up at the end of the national anthem.

I cry when I see my daughters express complete love for each other.

Or sad things...

My dad would get angry at me every Easter when I chose to watch the Jesus movie... and I'd be a blubbering mess at the end.

Even my ex-husband would frequently get irritated at my complete comfort and openness with emotion.

Why is it a bad thing exactly?

Many of my friends and family don't want me to talk about Soldier anymore. Everyone's acting as if I should be over it.

Why? I felt the love so very deeply. What is wrong with my feeling the loss the same way?

What I've learned about myself and my emotions is that the longer I deny them, the longer they stay around. Once I decide to sit with it, accept it and allow it, then I am able to let it go.

What you resist, persists.

I actually learned that in yoga, of all places. If I fight the pose, my muscles will tense up and cause more pain. If I accept it, allow it, relax into it... then my muscles actually find comfort in the pose (albeit briefly, depending on the asana, of course).

I feel really good about my healing. Yes, it is a bit awkward trying to find a new normal as his friend... especially when he acts like nothing has changed. But I have. I am so aware of the change in me that I'm not quite sure how to react to him anymore. I will not force it or deny it. Again, I think acceptance is key. I've done this work before and with my ex-husband, I had to actually be in his physical presence and heal. I think Soldier's being far away in Iraq may be a blessing for me.

Sometimes, instead of seeing the truth of each other, we only see our own wounds. Those wounds are nothing more than a veil that needs to be lifted so we can see each other more clearly and with love. But unfortunately, the veil can only be removed after we see those wounds and feel that pain. Acknowledge it and let it go. We've put the veil there to protect ourselves but I believe it really does all of us more harm than good.

So, for the first time in such a very long time, I am allowing myself this. If I feel pain, I will post about it... because it is my pain. If it hurts you, maybe it's your pain too. Maybe you still feel the pain of loss too and that's OK. Allow yourself to feel. It's not so bad. The really good news is that it is only temporary.

"If you are going through hell, keep going."
~Winston Churchill


  1. I think you are handling it very well and doing what you need to do to get through it, which is all that you can do.

    I have a feeling that the family and friends that want you to stop talking about him are civilians. They probably don't understand how deeply you felt for him even though he was thousands of miles away. They didn't see him on a regular basis and they think that since you didn't either you should just be "over it". It's not that simple, and I'm sorry they aren't more understanding about that.

  2. Good for you, girl. I really hear a lot of myself in your writing. Don't feel like you have to apologize for your feelings.

    My ex-husband used to make fun of me and shame me whenever I cried at a movie or because of something he said. My mother would always lay a HUGE guilt trip on me if I showed emotion that she thought was "inappropriate" because it wasn't aligned with whatever drama queen emotion she was feeling. My Dad would just walk away if I expressed my feelings. It's hard...


  3. Good for you T. The fact that you can embrace your emotions, happy or sad, means that you have your eyes wide open to the process. Some people never see the path they're on until they get to the end of a road they didn't intend to travel.

  4. Oh my goodness, T, do now feel bad about needing to express emotion still over Soldier. I had to do grief work during one session with my therapist over a relationship that had ended almost a year earlier. I agree with what Kiki said too, I think it is far more intense to love a person in the military, especially when they are deployed.

  5. What you resists, persists. That is a wonderful mantra.

    I think your question in bold really divides people by innate qualities...those programmed as caretakers vs. those who are not. I don't shy away from others' pain; your words made me want to embrace you and make you a cup of hot cocoa and marshmallows, sit with pillows and listen to you.


    Be well, T. Lots of hugs and love to you.

  6. I come from a highly emotional family. Even the men. So I can completely understand where you are coming from. And I agree fully with what Kiki said. Please don't shy away from sharing how you feel on this blog. It is, after all, your blog. Not everyone shies away from other people's emotions. You will find there are other people like you, that see your pain and want to comfort rather than turn away.

    Keep you chin up and keep sharing!

  7. I love the part about the veil and the pain. That's so true! The things that hurt most emotionally are the things want to turn away from and ignore, but are probably the things that need the most examining and introspection.

    Just being present and aware of the painful emotion can help it subside. You're doing good work!

  8. My thougths exactly! I'm so sick of being judged for being an emotional and feeling person. What's NOT normal is trying to pretend not to feel strongle about something when you do. The whole "just get over it" thing doesn't seem right.

  9. Wow, how cool that we are blogging about essentially the same thing. I find that grief is like that - sometimes it just wells up without warning, and our job is just to let it move through.

    You speak well to our pain averse society. I have something felt embarrassed about the enormity of my pain. It just makes it so much worse to layer shame on top of something already difficult.

    You write and process through the loss of your relationship with Soldier as much as you need to. What people don't understand when they think we should be "over it" is that any new loss can bring other unhealed sometimes we're dealing with cumulative effects.

    Anyway...I've gotten very long winded here, but brava, dear T! You inspire me.

  10. As always, I am so grateful for your thoughts and your openness. You so often give me something good to think about for my own life. Thanks, T. ;-)


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