Good Grief

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I think I’m shedding 50 years of grief.

A trail of tears seem to perpetually stain my cheeks. Everything I read, watch, hear, produces a stream of release that I don’t understand. Meditation teachers say to name your feelings, but these are unrecognizable. I can’t point to happy or sad, but the only thing that makes sense is grief.

I think because I’ve lived most of my life from behind a wall of protection that I never allowed myself to feel sad or disappointed. This year, having so much time alone, infirm, I’ve had mountains of time to release. Heartwarming story – tears; someone (anyone) passes away – tears; any demonstration of kindness – tears; a good performance on The Voice – tears.

I haven’t questioned it too much, but on occasion I do ask myself what is this all about? When I was on retreat last year, one of the teachers recognized something I was describing as grief. I was pulled up short. I had never considered it and thought it strange that I would grieve when I seemingly had nothing to grieve over. But today as I’m reading a sweet story in the New Yorker, I suddenly realized that I have everything to grieve over: the loss of my family, the illnesses, the lack of emotional support, my body that I had once been so proud of, mutated with affliction. It seems like as soon as I pick up some pieces, the other side collapses and I have to adjust… again.

Of course, this is life. Nothing stays the same no matter how hard we try to strong arm it. I guess it’s a good thing that I am finally grieving. 

It used to happen to me on the train. I would be running from one responsibility to another unaware of how taxed I was. I would plow through the doors, grab hold of a poll and suddenly found myself horrified to have tears running down my face. I guess it was the only time & place my body could release so I would have the fortification to take on the next challenge. 

So if you see me walking down the street with the stains of my past, please know, I didn’t fuck up my makeup that day, I’m just being cleansed.

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