Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Learning about Loss

In on year: one of my dear co-workers lost her husband suddenly of liver failure, another very close co-worker lost her son at age 22 in a terrible car accident, then her daughter less than a year later at age 25 from cancer. I had a baby that was very hard to love, then one very traumatic miscarriage, then another somewhat less dramatic miscarriage four months later.
I feel like I got the crash course on Loss. Loss of life, loss of dreams, of motivation, of hope, loss of love, loss of physical/mental capabilities. Loss of self. I have struggled to face the fears/feelings/and vulnerability that come with loss. 
I have experienced the heartbreak and sadness that come when a friend loses a parent, loses a friend, when dreams aren't realized, when expectations aren't met, marriages fall apart... But as i grow older and wiser, instead of pushing those feelings far FAR away, I've had to learn to just FEEL them. 
I pride myself on not being much of a crier. I like that my left-brained pragmatic self can avoid getting caught up in some of the drama of life. Over the years I cry almost never, yell less, and in general just calmed the hell down. HOWEVER, to avoid feeling negative feelings of anger, resentment, frustration, I also push away the feelings that are good- grief, empathy, sympathy, hope- anything that may cause tears or outward displays of emotion. 
For a while I didn't know what to do-I held back those feelings & then just freaked out in a huge breakdown of emotion built up over months. (Poor Brad!) Allowing yourself to feel sad, heartbroken, is scary. It's hard to just say "THIS IS AWFUL." and swim in it without wallowing in it. Does that make sense? You have to immerse yourself in these feelings, validate them, understand them, don't belittle it, while at the same time moving on with your life and not saying "woe is me" every moment of the day. It's a delicate balance.
Here's my dilemma- the more I let those feelings in, the more all the other ones come, too. Feelings of being left out, loss of friendships, insecurities, discouragement. I can't seem to have a soft heart and not have every other negative feeling attack it. How does one be strong AND sympathetic AND secure? I guess I just don't know. That's my struggle. We're working on it.
I'm learning to feel/express/accept and deal gracefully with all this. Grace isn't my strength. My strengths are more like "I can organize your office to make it more efficient." Things that you don't use feelings.
As a pause to reflect, which is usually in the middle of the night when I can't sleep or said baby is up screaming like he's being murdered, I see growth through the growing pains. I feel change. Necessary, good change. I'm grateful that these experiences have taught me more love & empathy & taught me to share my heart with others, even tho it's painful. 


Shauna said...

I really enjoyed reading this. Yes, I know what it means to immerse yourself in sadness, loss, trauma and disappointment, when my baby was born at 26 weeks and my mom died suddenly four weeks later. And I just kept telling myself, "this is my life right now, it's hard and it's awful," just like you said. But I trust so deeply in the gospel of Christ and his Atonement. The Atonement has gotten me through some of the hardest times of my life and it will get me through all the hard times to come, and they will come.

As for being strong, sympathetic, and secure, all in time. We will always be a work in progress while in this life. Always.

I enjoy following you on Instagram. It would be great to meet in person some time and visit with your sweet family.

I really enjoyed this post- it's very real. All my love,

Shauna xoxoxo

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