Time and again I find myself writing about grief, because so much of life is about loss. Especially here, in what I am sure is the second half of my life.
The majority of my friends have arrived, or already settled in, to their 50s. We have spent 50 years accumulating and losing things. We have all lost jobs, we have all lost loves, we have all lost family members and friends. Now we daily lose our car keys and cell phones and reading glasses. Some of us are starting to lose our way…
I lost an old friend this week. Jo was 87 years old, so of course, it was no shock. But in my mind she is still just as I met her; in her 50s; vibrant, exciting, hopeful and hysterical. That laugh of hers. Oh, that mischievous, snickering laugh! Today I will go to the funeral home, in jeans as she requested, and I will listen to and tell stories of her that will make us laugh. And cry. And laugh again.
Loss and acceptance is the theme of the day. This morning I was messaging with a friend who has recently experienced a great loss. They are currently stuck between time zones, in a sort of limbo. They are sitting in a seat that teeters between clinging to the past and accepting the present.
Sometimes, we stay in that seat for years. Sometimes we think we have accepted things and moved on to a new seat, but in a moment, it gets pulled right out from under us, and we are teetering again. It’s a balancing act. Perhaps some day it will level off, perhaps never.
It has been two and a half years since my double mastectomy. Yesterday, I was in a fine mood. I was singing and dancing in the shower. As I toweled off I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and that seat was yanked out from under me. I cried for at least 20 minutes. I thought I might not even leave the house. All the while still grateful to be alive. All the while still joyful deep down. But the seesaw had tilted to the sad side, yet again.
Grief comes in waves. The loss resurfaces and recedes. Some days the seas are stormy. But as time passes the stormy days are fewer and farther between. Each time we feel the loss again, disbelieve again, and get angry again, we work through the feelings again, and we can accept it a little bit more.
We have to keep feeling the feelings over and over, time and time again. Time is all we have. And all we need.
the earworm Ride My Seesaw by the Moody Blues