This past weekend I was able to attend the keynote at Hippocamp and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve written a couple pages of proposed book #2 and wasn’t “feeling it”. It felt like a lame account of memories that weren’t collected in detail and wouldn’t be of much use to anyone but myself. I learned more about creative nonfiction and the way to write a more lucrative and compelling book using science and other methods. Suddenly, the ideas that had been swarming around in my brain clicked! I’m now working with my friend Susan to figure out how to outline the book and search for an agent and ultimately a publisher. I have a lot of groundwork to lay down but just the fact that I finally have some goals makes me super excited if not intimidated and overwhelmed.
My life has typically been an open book on this blog – especially as it relates to grief and widowhood. Nearly 7 years out I find myself keeping my grief and feelings tucked closer to me. Walls go up. I become hardened with it and that’s never been healthy for me. I find myself in a quiet, silent grief at times. I want to share, yet I don’t want to have to face the questions, the sympathy, the empathy, the constant concern.
I began therapy again earlier this year when I felt like I had some unresolved issues. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as I would begin to face some trials in my life that weren’t anticipated. My therapist has been great to talk to and we’ve come up with a few goals. They are to find contentedness in my every day life and to work on being empathetic to others.
My grief has been very selfish for a long time. Despite giving back to the community that helped me, it can be very difficult for me to relate to others in their own grief. I would often compare; I still do. I know part of it is just human but part of it is what I feel is a bit of my hardened soul. Parts of me that have clamped up to keep the grief away. That just doesn’t work. I’m trying hard to tear down those layers and feel exposed in all of my feelings and I won’t lie – I feel depressed and sad. And when I feel that way, it’s really, really difficult to find contentedness.
This summer has reminded me that we never know what is going on in other’s life. We can never know what they can’t share with us, what they’re battling, why they ache, the desires of their heart, the strains in their lives, the daily hurts they face. There’s so much we don’t often share with one another. Those silent griefs.
These reminders are teaching me the empathy that I longed to find again; the relief in knowing I’m not alone even if no one is talking about it. I don’t know what I need to seek to find quiet and pause in being content. My girlfriend calls it my 5 year itch of wanting to change everything in my life. I guess it’s another re-evaluation of what has brought me to this point in my life, or what I want to see ahead. The struggle in planning for the future is just when you think you have it figured out *monkey wrench* and then you’re left not knowing what ground you’re standing upon. It’s very frustrating and it adds to the depression. The unknown is always lurking and it can be difficult to see the unknown as possibility instead of worry.
When I thought life would be like as a 31 year old woman did not include the challenges I have faced. It’s depressing to think what I’ve been through in this short time. I can try to swing it positive like I’m learning life lessons and my new outlook on life has been inspired by trauma, but ultimately the pain sometimes washes that all that hope away. Life is an open book – the universe has me on a course and it’s of no use to worry or predict its future. But I can refocus and embrace the things I know to be true: good things happen after trauma. Life moves forward. Unexpected things can be good. And above all…it’s good to be here.
Oh, Brenda. You are not alone. I, too, have been holding my grief close the past year or so, not writing about it, not sharing it. Even in the midst of good things happening, that presence is there…and lately my mindset toward it has kept it from being a ‘comfortable companion’ and instead has caused depression and discontentedness. But just as we have made it through things unimaginable for women of our age, we can do that again…especially when we have community. You have inspired me to be less selfish with my grief, so that I can be there for others. Just like you. Lots of love to you pretty lady! <3
Thanks Erin-this was such a pleasure to read this morning. Loves to you as well.