“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” – Rumi
I came across this quote this morning on Facebook and it immediately resonated with me. Sorrow is one of the many emotions I have done my very best to numb, mute, ignore or just simply avoid, as a way of coping. Now that type of coping mechanism was born out of necessity when I was very young and like most operating systems, it needs to be updated so that glitches may be patched or whatever voodoo they do to make it work like you want it to. So much easier said than done, as most things are that help one grow and evolve.
The sorrow of losing so many years of my son’s life to the jailer that is alcohol and addiction is something that I’ve carried with me for so long, it just feels like a part of me. It doesn’t matter that things are light years from what I had feared; he loves me, flaws and all, has forgiven me for what needed to be forgiven. He understands things as an adult that he couldn’t have at the time. All the talking in the world cannot help a child to understand why his mother is not there and why she’s not coming back. A child can only believe what they are told and those who are doing the telling have their wounds, too. A parent will do just about anything to protect their child, even if that means keeping that child from their own parent, should they believe them to be a danger to said child.
Should I continue to punish myself when my own son has forgiven me? Unless I really enjoy feeling like crap, I would say no. This is where the violent sweeping Rumi references. Enough already. Time to move on. Cry the tears, feel the sorrow, then let it go.
The sorrow of feeling like a failure in my marriage, like damaged goods or a hopelessly broken beautiful doll that will always smile, but the smile will not always hide the tears. Being the one responsible for ending a marriage is a burden and a responsibility that I have carried for decades, never questioning when the punishment should end or if there was need for punishment at all. We all have our expectations about what marriage will be like, tucked into those expectations are hopes, dreams, our own little Hallmark holiday movie, all year round. I wasn’t that optimistic, but I know I loved him in the only way I could; badly, in fits and starts, giving him enough hope to not leave but being so screwed up I couldn’t bring that hope to fruition.
Again, how long should I punish myself? If the punishment should fit the crime, then I would say a couple of decades of self-flagellation should be sufficient, especially considering the ex-husband in question is currently in his second decade of happily ever after with his 2nd wife. All’s well that ends well, eh? Sweep that s**t out the door!
The sorrow of losing friends and family, no matter the age, it’s always too soon. I thought I would have tomorrow or next week or next year but I thought wrong. I would have fought for them, I would have talked with them until I lost my voice and had to break out the pen and paper; I would have, I should have, I could have, I didn’t. That is the truth.
Does that mean I should wrap myself in a blanket of spikes and roll myself off the nearest cliff? Probably not. Can I travel back in time and try again? Not an option, so no. Should I take extra care to say what those nearest to me need to hear the most without putting it off until another time?
So, dear reader, today I want to take the opportunity to thank you, not only for reading my ramblings and being so gracious with your praise, but mostly importantly, thank you for loving me as I am. Thank you for expecting of me nothing more than to continue to try and find my way. Thank you for allowing me a safe place to be honest, to share my heart and soul with you, without fear of judgement or ridicule. I want you to know I could not do this without you…all of you.
I don’t wish to write of sorrow anymore; a little bit goes a long way and I’ve gone a smidge over a little bit already.
P.S. Consider yourself hugged.