I’ve been trying to get this post up on the blog for a month now, I just haven’t had the words to truly express my emotions. I’m wanting to soothe my heart a little, work out how I landed myself here. How did I land here? What went wrong?
I’m grieving the loss of one I once loved. How do people lose a parent, a best friend, a sibling? How does death work to rob us? And I’m not only referring to death in the physical but also in the emotional. When love ends, it feels like death. This feels like death. Dearth. The end of a chapter.
And if there ever was a rite of passage when love dies, I’m travelling right through it. What happens when love doesn’t work out? When instead of planning a wedding, you’re planning a funeral? When instead of joy and bliss, you feel disgrace, anger and disappointment?
I wish we, as women, were as vocal about miscarriages and abortions as we are about births. About loss. About children we hoped for that we’ll never meet. About children we did not hope for and chose not to meet. How does love turn sour? Toxic? When did it become evil? That which once gave warmth, reassurance and direction now leaves disillusionment and darkness.
What happens to us when we fell in love, had a child with him and then he left? Vanished. And now you’ve put up a status update on Facebook saying you’re single but at least you have your two year old son. You call his Dad a bastard but your son looks just like him, and so your son hates himself for looking like his Dad. 26 years later, you're still bitter about what happened.
What happens when love fails, when he makes the decision not to choose you? He wants every other woman, even his mother, but not you. What happens to the hearts of single mothers? Brides who never walked down the aisle? Mothers who never heard their children laugh.
Why does love fail? Why did his love fail me?
And now I’m crying.
I’m letting the tears flow, hot down my cheeks. In torrents. It’s the second time I’ve cried today. And it’s only 1pm. I’m allowing myself to cry. I’m mourning my loss. Why does love fail?
What happens when you don’t get that engagement ring? Everyone on Facebook and Instagram seems to have one. Don’t you wish it was as easy as it looks. To get him to actually commit to you and only to you. Don’t you wish it was easy. To find the right one, your one. I wish it was easy. Marriage and all.
And what happens when you get the engagement ring, and then the wedding ring and he still leaves thereafter. He was seeing someone else all along. 10 years of marriage and 2 kids later, you’re single. Single. Did you hear me? I’m single. I gave him kids, we had a family, why didn’t he choose me? What did I do wrong? How could he die, leave me in this country of his with 3 children? How dare he! How could he not see that we have a son who needs his Daddy? Why is he not here? Here with me? What did I do wrong?
And now I’m crying, again.
Because in my own little way, I understand the pain of losing one I once loved. Weren’t we meant to be forever? Him. Me. Us. Our kids and all. What happens when love fails? What happens to the heart of a woman when love fails her? When she doesn’t get the chance to share her “engagement story” or “birth story” or “wedding story”? What happens when love fails?
And now I’m crying. I'm still crying.
I don’t even know if I can offer you encouragement because I know so many of us hide behind perfection. Trust me, as a blogger my life is meant to look like perfection to you. But I’m human. I go through things. And I’m learning, I've made some huge mistakes in my personal life and I'm trying to make better decisions going forward.
So maybe all I can say to you is, its okay.
I’ve been dealing with my own loss in my own way, taking the time to lick my wounds. It’s okay to hide away sometimes. It’s okay to take time to process your feelings.
1. I’m not ready to apologise or forgive just yet.
This doesn’t mean I’m holding on to what’s happened, I’m just acknowledging my anger. I’ve felt anger like I never have before. And what this reveals to me is that I loved passionately, I allowed myself to be vulnerable. I allowed myself to give and to receive. And anger is just as human an emotion as joy. When the time is right, I’ll seek forgiveness and reparation. But for now, let me be.
2. I’m holding back, scaling down.
Dealing with grief is gruesome and exhausting. Working out a new way of life is mentally consuming. And so if I choose to lie on the grass all day and bask, trust me, I’ve done a lot today. Re-imagining a new future, planning, letting go, working through - that’s hard work. So rather than agree to new projects, I’m taking time to hold back, scale down and recuperate.
3. I’m so much more self-aware.
I was meant to wake up at 7am today, but I decided to sleep in till 10am. Not because I’m lazy, but because I’m taking time to listen to my body’s needs. I’m tired, so I’ll allow me body to rest. I’m taking time to eat healthy, to exercise rigorously. I’ve cut down sugars and fats and I’m eating a lot of raw veggies and fresh fruit. I’m also taking time to meditate and pray. If you’re not religious, focus on your spirituality. I’m seeking expanse, knowledge, wisdom. I’m exploring. I’m writing and journalling. I’m fully aware of my existence. And I’m giving thanks for my life’s journey.
4. I’m counting, and I’m pacing myself.
I have a diary in which I write down my tasks for the day. Every single day, I set up time to do a few things I really like. It’s spring in Melbourne so I take mid-morning walks to feel the sun's gentle kiss on my face and to smell fresh, blooming flowers. I’m also pacing myself by breaking down my day into time-bound tasks. When we’re grieving, we tend to feel like time has stopped so instead, I’m giving myself a daily checklist of what I want to achieve for the day, for the week and for the month. I’m setting up a new normal in light of my loss.
5. I’m listening.
To you, to other people’s stories. To be human is to experience loss at one point or other of our lives. And sometimes, in fact oftentimes, to be human is to experience loss at multiple times and seasons of our lives. Loss comes in many ways. You may lose a limb in an accident, you may lose an unborn child, you may lose a relationship, a business, a parent, a pet, a home, money or assets.
To be human is to experience loss.
But the beauty of being human is seeing others work through their loss and come through victorious - a tab bit stronger, humbler and wiser. And so while I go through the loss that life has dealt me, I will do so with dignity, gratitude, patience and understanding, knowing full well that at the end of the day I am human.
And so I’m thankful. I’m thankful for this sense of loss, because it has humbled me, given me a deeper sense of empathy and compassion for those around me. It has refined me - I’m learning new coping skills and thought patterns. I didn’t even know I had it within me to get through this, but each day is getting easier. I’ve given myself over to learning. To re-learning. To unlearning. To listening. To forgiving him, her, them. To letting go. To redirection. I’m thankful.
Love and sunshine,