This sadness, which I will define as a building ennui resulting from the fact that a part of my life is changing and I am powerless to stop it, has grabbed a hold of me of late. This time though I did not fight it. At all. Not one little bit. There has been something strangely comforting about it. It felt like a thing I needed to go through. It is hanging around, like a friend keeping you company when you are sad, waiting with you until you fall asleep. And believe me, sleep I have been partaking of, most nights between ten and twelve hours. This is all about my parents and their current state. I cannot and will not go into details. Before you ask I will tell you that they are fine. I am fine too. I have crumbled under the weight of pressure and reality. I would normally want to deny this to myself and certainly not want to share it. But I am sharing it because I think it is important for me to realize that it is okay to not be the rock all the time. Human frailty can be a beautiful and important thing after all, both to our minds and to our hearts.
Barb has always said that one of the things she has admired about me is that I do not go there twice. We have talked about this before in the blog and I have been blissful and grateful at my ability to stay in the moment, feel the pain and resume joy. I had much joy during the holidays but I went there. Went there and stayed there. I handled it by not fighting it. I handled it by letting it take me where it wanted me to go. I move in slow motion doing things at a new pace. Christmas just came down yesterday. Very late for me. But I was enjoying the sparkling lights, the otherworldliness of the holidays, the heightened love and excitement. My sadness was capped off on New Year’s day when we learned that my Dad’s sister Jeanette had died. She had been suffering and she was not really in this world anymore and so it was somewhat a relief, albeit a painful one for her family. My parents wept for her, for all their long gone pals and families, and for the passage of time. My Dad’s family of ten siblings is now down to four. Two men, two women in their 80’s and 90’s. What a wonderful thing that is, right? I know it is.
Still, I sat in my sadness in that brand new year, knowing with full assuredness that the sadness would end, because I know who I am in reality and I know that this is simply a path that I had to go down. I went there without protest, tossing breadcrumbs along the way.
The crumbs that lead me home were the following. My dear darling friend Cheryl sent me a photo from a year ago with me and Dad on New Year’s Eve laughing our exact same laugh with the caption, “THIS is who you are!” My husband accepted my quiet journey with his usual gentle loving way, helping me, supporting me and cooking for me! Barbara and I had lunch with Souzan, a valued member of our blog family who happened to be in town, and her intelligent elegant open spirit gave me a huge boost. She has no idea how the timing of her visit contributed to my soul. Well, I guess she does now actually!
And just as the final decoration was coming down from the tree, the florist arrived with the most beautiful white orchid to grace our now toned-down surroundings. It was from my parents and the card said, “To the nicest, happiest couple we know. Love, Mom and Dad”. These were welcome breadcrumbs! So after a somewhat rough day yesterday, I decided to challenge myself today to something I have only ever done twice in my life. I decided to read a book in a day. Now to be honest it was only 200 pages, but to be frank, I feel like I have just conquered the world. The meaning of the book was deepened for me as it was a Christmas gift from a dear friend who is facing this week the second anniversary of her husband’s death, an anniversary that falls on our wedding anniversary. The book is about Paris and about love and about loss. It is called Paris A Love Story. As I relished every page, it reminded me of our own family trip to Paris when the boy was twelve. I thought of our darling friend Sean’a and her and her husband’s recent Christmas trip to Paris, the daily diaries of which were some of my favourite parts of the holidays. So I sat down to read this morning and, as I picked up the book, I saw a phrase I had scrawled on a piece of paper. It was the title of this blog that I had yet to write based on my behaviour towards life these last couple of weeks. It said, “Be tender with yourself”, which is a choice I made when I realized I was increasingly sad and overwhelmed. A few pages into the book, the author, reeling from sadness, said she decided “to be kind to herself”. And there we are.
Barbara: Dear Deb, as you know, I’m well aware of what you’ve been going through and, because I didn’t know if you would talk about it here, have sketched out my own blog-post about depression and transformation—not just as a result of our few conversations about this, but because it seems to have become a recurring theme in many conversations I’ve been having of late. I think I will let your deeply-felt and conveyed words stand here today, as they are, and leave my thoughts on this for my next post. Because the other thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I no longer feel the need to earnestly cajole someone out of a slump. I respect your need to “go there” this time, and I respect your wisdom and intelligence in dealing with this as you must. I think it’s vital that you do what you are doing. I’m just here. Just so you know. Here.