When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
From Allow by Danna Faulds
Today is Wednesday. I visit Molly now on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Yesterday and Sunday were especially hard for me.
Molly was out of it, sleepy. I missed the moments when her eyes light up and she smiles. This time her eyes were dull, her gaze unfocused. She did not respond to a favorite poem or a well-known song. There is a real possibility that she didn’t know who I was. I saw confusion on her face yesterday at least once.
This is what I have been afraid of. I thought it was fear of her losing her ability to remember, to talk, to walk. I thought it was fear of her dying. Today it is fear that she does not know who I am and will never know me again. She will no longer smile at me and hold my hand.
I got deeply in touch with this feeling this morning while doing a guided meditation. I am taking a class in mindful self-compassion. The guided meditation involved focusing on a difficult emotion and finding where it resides in the body. Then you soften around the tension and soothe the body with touch. This is supposed to lead to being able to “allow” (accept) the emotion rather than resisting it or avoiding it.
For me, I responded with tightness in my belly and then loud and intense belching as I released that tension. Then tears.
And then the impulse to write. Some part of me still knows that this writing thing is the way for me to respond to difficult emotions.
And sharing it. In the Buddhist meditation practice of loving kindness (metta), one focuses in part on shared suffering, common humanity. What one experiences is hardly unique: at any given moment there are many, many people experiencing the same pain, the same loss, the same fear.
I sure hope none of you is feeling grief today, but, of course, we all do.
And I am grateful that I have this vast network of support and love.