A little bit ago I realized that it was getting to be time to think about my annual Mother’s Day post. Or as I mentally label it…my Mother’s Day Wallow.
Except it’s not really a wallow. To me wallowing is all noise and splashing around creating a messy scene while you sit on a stable foundation. It’s the kiddy pool.
This place…this place of solace and peace? It’s different. Harder to explain. Harder to share. It’s the place below the chop of the water; after you’ve gone down the last time and discover what’s below the waves. When you’ve learned to live with what you miss.
It’s a cool, smooth weightless space. So encompassing that you’re not even aware of it until you struggle back to the surface and get a cold splash to the face, drowning once again. It’s peace, not dependent upon fortunate circumstances, present even when things are “not going your way.”
When my son died that November there was pain, despair, all that you would expect, but there was also the emotional life preserver of my daughter. There was a certain amount of “turning everything off so you can get through so much pain” because a 2 year old will not let you dissolve. Then I lost her that May and life became the type of insult from which you think you’ll never recover. An incredible tsunami that destroys everything in its path, with a continous flow of aftershocks and waves.
Of course, the first few times you struggle to stay afloat, fearing drowning. That fear separates you from the strength that lies deeper. You cannot conceive of anything other than drowning. Some people even manage a careful back float, maintaining equilibrium, not buoyed by the waves but not buffeted by them either. The disadvantage with this is that it steals the good as well as the bad. You can’t have any emotion or memory about the situation without upsetting the balance and beginning the struggle again.
I am a coward; I can’t live in that type of pain. Eventually I stop flailing around and sink. As time goes by withdrawal begins, not wanting to be brought back to the surface with its struggle. In these cool depths I’ve come to learn that loss can stop being a soul-crushing sharp-edged blade that lashes a thousand cuts with every breath. It can eventually become something that lets love return to your life.
If you let it.