Paul left yesterday for three weeks and I feel a wrenching in my heart, like something is being torn away from me. Every time he said to me, “It’s only three weeks,” I responded with, “I know, and I’ll be okay.” I lived alone for years, I am not afraid and I am self-sufficient. So, what is the tearing in my soul?
I know this is not about Paul’s being gone, even though I am missing him fiercely. This is something very deep, and it’s a feeling I’ve experienced before. It’s primal and it’s visceral and it feels like a chasm opening up, threatening to swallow me whole.
I gulp in big breaths of air to steady myself and walk barefoot in the yard to get traction. I’m looking for ways to ground myself as I explore this long-hidden primal fear that is right in my face.
As I sit quietly I sense a great feeling of loss, like someone beloved by me has died. I believe this is the indescribable and unbearable feeling I’ve spent a greater part of my adult life trying to escape. It’s root is the abandonment I experienced at a very early age when the ground was ripped out from under my feet. I did not have the vocabulary to express this at age three or four, but my little girl heart knew she’d been left.
This heavy feeling of loss I’m knowing feels like I’ve stepped into a dark room and though there are matches somewhere in the room, I know I’m not supposed to light them now. Instead, I need to stand still and let my physical and spiritual eyes adjust. I’ve felt this before but have always left the room because the ache in my heart was too much to bear.
I’ve carried this heaviness for most of my life and kept a lid on it so I would not have to fully feel it. I have always been able to speak the words abandonment and loss but I have not been able to fully embrace the dreadful emptiness of either.
The feelings attached to this are like waves battering the shore. I can feel the swells building within and know when they are getting higher and ready to break. They move up from my solar plexus and makes its way into my throat where it expresses itself in deep wracking sobs. It is such a huge piece of grief I have no words to describe. Nor can I attach a story to it.
I know I do not need to figure this out or give it a name or a remedy. It’s too large to wrap my brain around. All I need to do is be with it just as it is and surrender to the pain. It sounds negative and dark but my being knows it isn’t. Every time it rears its head and rushes to the surface and I give vent to it by letting the sobs contort my face and squeeze my gut,it diminishes in power and dissipates for a while. I’m experiencing peace between the waves.
I don’t know how long this process will take, but I do suspect it will continue to get easier as I stay present to it. It’s made me run in fear many times, but not this time. I feel gratitude for the courage and grace present to me now to tame this sleeping giant.