A dear friend of mine, who is also grieving, asked me how I was really doing the other day.
My answer for that day was “I’m actually doing ok” huh.
I explained I was still sad, and that he had just missed a sudden grief tsunami of my tears and sobbing, but at that time i was actually, truly, ok.
I told him that despite almost wanting to be sad all of the time, that I’ve accepted that my sadness and grief have moved over on the park bench and have let happiness and hope share the seat. The bench gets crowded, but they manage.
He told me I’d pretty much summed up the Buddhist teachings on happiness in one sentence.
If that’s not enlightenment, I don’t know what the fuck is.
I’ve noticed a trend in my blog entries. It’s not that I’m “better” because I kinda dislike that word. “Better” Makes it seem like I’m no longer sick, like I even WAS sick, that I’m all up to snuff, 100%.
Im not sick, I’m sad… but I’ve also been so happy lately.
I’m not better, but I’m… improved?
I’m coping. I am doing well. I am ok.
I’ve been compartmentalizing to the best of my ability these past 2 years and now
my proverbial “hope chest” is being filled. It’s more like a “life’s chest of drawers”.
It’s tidy, organized and each drawer contains their own special items.
One drawer holds my memories; the happy ones of John and I, and it’s one of my favourite drawers to rummage through. I’m thankful it’s so full.
Another holds my guilt about what I could have done, what I should have done. That one jambs a lot, and sticks when I try to open it. I try not to look in there anymore but I’ll never forget it’s there.
One drawer holds my tears. It slides open without making a noise, and prevents the others from opening if it is pulled, like the safety latch on a big red tool box. That one still gets opened a fair amount, but is easier to slide shut when I’ve taken the tears I need.
There is one drawer that is musty and dark and sucks the energy out of you…that dark vacuum keeps it shut and pulls you inwards. It holds the blur of what came right after John’s death, the whirlwind of ache, the desperate thoughts and the desire to wither away and die when faced with the worst day of my life. As much as I hate the contents within, it is there for good. I can’t empty it. Without the terror in that drawer, I wouldn’t have the promise of the next one. The middle drawer.
Here’s the good part: the middle drawer is so full of promise, it’s actually overly empty right now, if that makes sense. It smells like my favourite things: cut grass, autumn campfire, a hint of old airplane, coconut sunscreen, fresh paint and lilacs. It has a beautiful lining that changes patterns and textures randomly, like an Indian sari quilt. This drawer is very colourful, with a really neat handle. It also contains my promises to myself: my future travels, my dancing, running, flying, gardening and the simple things in life that distract, make me happy and healthy… I think there may be a motorbike in there, too – (sorry, mum)… and to my surprise and hearts’ delight, there is a new romance – it’s a work in progress as of now – terrifying and exhilarating for both of us.
I think this drawer is what an empty crib must look like to expecting parents: The sweet smell of hope, the wonder of a new and wonderful person on their way, and the bliss of terrifying optimism.
When I close that drawer, It knows I’ll be back to have a peak, so it always lets out a bit of guiding light through the crack…as a promise.
It’s my light, and I don’t ever want it to go dark again.
I can’t wait to fill that drawer with all of the best things.
I’ve already wrapped up a beautiful hug from John and placed it right in the middle.