Monday, May 25, 2015
The past few weeks have been difficult.
Emotionally, I feel as though I have had the weight of another's painful experience bring sorrow into my own personal life. Physically, I feel drained of energy, strength and feel a sense of hopelessness at times. One morning I was standing in front of the sink as hot water poured into a mixing bowl, faint steam scrolls floating upwards, my thoughts distant when Byron's voice stirred me. He had been talking and I drifted away somehow, rudely, forgetting that we were having a discussion when he repeated himself and I realised he was doing that to regain my attention. One moment I was listening to him, the next moment I was somewhere else, somewhere hazy when his words came back into focus.
I've been doing that a little bit too often lately. I try to pay closer attention but sometimes I slip away into that haze again, lost for some undetermined amount of time. When I come back, I try to stay, like blinking and forcing your eyes open when you feel tired. It's not very effective. When you're that tired, you generally need to rest and I find the mind needs a break from distracting thoughts as much as a weary body needs sleep.
The cause of these frequent distractions has been thinking about a friend of mine from my university days who recently lost her partner. Writing these words still shocks me that this tragic event did happen. It causes me to wonder what if I suddenly lost my husband or daughter? How could I cope with such a loss? How could one possibly recover from such a life-altering and heart-shattering experience? It pains me to think about it.
I cannot separate my feelings of fear and anger from my feelings of anguish and despair. I am at my very core, an empathetic creature and always have been. I relate to others and share in their feelings at various moments. I cried with joy at learning my friend was pregnant at the same time as me; I felt excitement at learning the same friend delivered a healthy baby girl via an unassisted water birth and I felt elation when watching my husband's proud reaction as he observed our daughter crawl for the first time.
Witnessing a friend bury her best friend, the father of her children moves me to unimaginable grief, quiet self-contemplation, sadness and unpredicted feelings of guilt that my family is still together when hers has been ripped apart by the cruelest twist of fate.
I want to possess the gift of time travel so that I may go back in time to change what has transpired. I wish for these circumstances to be reversed. I hope and pray that I can find enough strength to be a strong, supportive friend to her in her time of need.
But more than this, I find myself mentally wrapping my loved ones in cotton wool at every opportunity. I cannot sleep until my husband comes home late from work after a night shift. I see every piece of furniture in my house as a potential threat to my daughter as she becomes more mobile. I smooth multiple layers of blankets on the floor to provide a soft crawling area, I remove sharp corners and heavy objects wherever possible. I hover close by incase she tumbles and I pile cushions and plush toys around her to prevent nasty bumps should she slip or roll suddenly.
These things can and probably will happen. I dread the thought of her one day, years from now, coming to tell me she has saved enough money to backpack through Europe or India or South America for a gap year- She's only nine months old...
To feel pain, loss, wonder... Is to feel human, to feel alive and although I understand this, I now realise that becoming a parent is more than being a tiny human's mama. It's about learning to live more carefully and letting go of fear, as difficult and distressing as that may sound.
I took Love's photograph at our friend's funeral last Monday. Looking at the joy in her expression, the pure, naive and genuine happiness of her youthful eyes seeing the World's beauty in a stem of fresh white flowers moves me. Yet, I cannot help but notice that at the same time, my husband protectively holds her close, inhaling her baby scent as he kisses the crown of her tiny warm head.
Can you relate to these feelings of anxiety? Maybe we need to take a few deep breaths in through the nose and slowly exhale the negative, heaviness as we say, 'Let go'.