Wednesday, May 25, 2011

That Old Familiar Feeling

"We all lose loved ones; we all face our own death. And loss, strangely, can attune you to what is beautiful about existence even as it wounds you with what is awful." ~Meghan O'Rourke
Distance lends perspective. It surprises me to come back to where I once was, and have the ability to discern changes or gain understanding. It surprises me more when I can turn that around and recognize an element of myself in someone else. I suppose if that didn't happen, I'd be useless. Never learning anything or being able to improve my outcomes. I find this happening alot lately, emotionally. I had anxiety. I slugged through depression. I got treatment. Got better. And now that I'm off the medication I can recognize I'm getting worse. Since I've tasted life without that shroud clouding my thoughts, its so much harder to resign myself to it again. But what is also eye opening to me is how well I'm doing, considering the circumstances.

Back when I was in therapy, I remember the doctor telling me that she thought most of the issues I was experiencing were due to the unresolved emotional trauma I endured from the loss of my mother. Funny thing about losing someone is that its never truly "resolved." Its more of an ever evolving trauma, constantly reshaping itself and able to wound you repeatedly through life. Like an emotional Prometheus, my heart gets ripped out every time I approach another milestone. As today marks a tipping point in my life, I'm a little surprised at my current perspective. I lost my mother fifteen years ago, just 2 weeks shy of my fifteenth birthday. From now on I will be living without her longer than I knew her.

Two years ago, even last year, I was dreading this day. I was terrified of what I would be feeling, of how it might distort my views of my mother, or myself. But consciously, or unconsciously, I've been taking small steps to already start walking that distance. I decided I needed to start living with her memory, and not just the memory of her loss. Last Christmas - it helped that I was busy with the arrival of Little Bear - I only let myself dwell on her absence once on Christmas Eve. And in doing so it was by singing a song for her. This Mother's Day, I celebrated her by doing a painting project which I know she would have approved of, instead of trekking to the shore to commiserate for an hour or two on the fact that she wasn't here so I could give her a card. I want my kids to know what the essence of their Nana was like, not just know that she's gone. I still want to love her, but I want to do it by having my kids learn to love hearing about her in stories, or seeing her in pictures. And I'm amazed that I'm seeing this all from an even level, and not from the bottom of the emotional hole I usually find myself in when unmedicated. I feel like I'm meeting the pain halfway. Almost like I'm familiar with it, can somewhat predict its movements and mannerisms, and maybe even be a bit welcoming to it, because I know it will move on. I feel the need to reassure others when I recognize the pain they're enduring in their own lives. Not that I'm the poster child for recovery, but hopefully my sympathy might make their own load a little more bearable. Shared pain is half the pain, right?

Standing here, looking back and looking forward, I can still see the future is stretching so much further than my past. But from this perspective it doesn't seem to look as looming as it once did.

1 comment:

  1. I love your perspective. I don't know how a therapist could really expect you to get over something like the loss of your your teenage years, none the less.

    I think you are making steps...scratch that...leaps and bounds in the right direction. Doing things that would have made her happy. Having happy memories and doing things in her honor.