My daughter is taking a long trip and my son is moving into an apartment with his girlfriend. These are exciting pieces of news. Why then am I crying?
I am emotional, touched by the slightest kindness, connection, bit of warmth. I watch the world move in multiple directions, unsure of my position, in the midst of a swirling windstorm. Where am I? Where are my kids? My parents? My family that keeps me centered and intact? I exist flummoxed and impinged.
My family, now inclusive of my oldest son’s fiance (my daughter-in-law to be) and my second and third sons’ girlfriends, gather for a farewell dinner for my daughter. They show up, and just two days after they showed up for my niece in Colorado. A lucky woman am I to be surrounded by such special people.
But so emotional. I break through the screen, the filter, of my very being. Unprotected, my vulnerability is a curse and a savior. I rattle around my shell as though visiting a mansion filled with untapped rooms and staircases. Which door do I open? Where will the staircase lead? Am I brave enough to make this journey … I don’t know.
In the moment, in the uncertainty, in the murky darkness, I sit directionless. How can something awesome be terrifying? That something, someone – is me. My sense of balance is thrown and I teeter on the edge of what I don’t know. Sometimes delighted, sometimes shivering in trepidation. Emotion contacts my heart in a soggy, water-filled place. I see the world through undulating waves.
The sensation of being left, real or imagined, is a triggered bleeder dragging me into a bloodstained and wilted pasture. There is no movement in yesterday’s news, yet I sink into that meadow with a cradled ease.
I long for the familiar but growth pulls me in other directions, making me fear and love change simultaneously. Stepping from the known, my insecurities roar loudly, calling attention to themselves. They step from secrecy so I take notice. One cannot examine what one does not acknowledge.
Bittersweet, so much is in the rear-view mirror. Miles stand in my wake. When someone leaves and I use the word, leave, loosely, a buried sadness surfaces. Worn, well-trodden paths of crumpled daisies and trampled grass. Fragrant memories fill my nostrils.
Perhaps on the staircase leading to places unknown, new flowers and fragrances will draw me, creating a bridge from what was to what is. If I can focus. For a moment. Without weeping. On the now.
Beautiful, vulnerable, honest. Those are the hallmarks of your writing, Wendy.
Thank you, Celia – for your comments, loyal readership, and dear words.
“When someone leaves and I use the word, leave, loosely, a buried sadness surfaces.” The key to everything that I also feel is in this sentence. Leaving/any ending = death to me. My heart, soul and body respond the same as if I’m in mourning. This was exquisite writing, packed with emotions that triggered me vividly. But I needed that today. Thank you for sharing.
Actually, I thank you. Your response tells me you get it, you hear me. One of these days we must meet…much in common.
Beautifully written and understood. Reading this must I am sure resonate with many. The words are haunting but real and show what most of us try and hide. Vulnerability. Well done. xx
Vulnerability is one of those illusive traits I work on, an life certainly helps me along. Thank you for your kind comment.
wendy karasin – Very moving piece. I can join in sharing your emotion, about some leaving you alone. My wife of 50 .years three years ago; she succumbed to cancer of gall bladder; and now I share life with two sons and two daughters in law, in the same house.Yet I feel alone. There is no one to iron my clothes. I am diabetic and there is no one to give me theproper food needed to combat this diease. My daughters used to do all these things when their mother was alive. But they are married and are in their own homes, happy with their husbands and children and their daily chores. They do visit me but it takes them a long time to come- Nonaid Iqbal.
Life gets difficult and complicated. I know. Somehow (emotions aside) we must pick ourselves up by our proverbial bootstraps and start again, creating a new normal. Painful to let go, but happy to move on, because change is ubiquitous.
I so relate to this beautiful, heartfelt piece. What I have learned to do with the pain of loneliness is to pay attention to it, take deep breaths and let it in and then let it pass through me. Sounds like you are on a wonderful healing journey. It takes courage to write about feelings so I salute you for being a brave soul.
Brenda, thank you kindly for relating and for so eloquently responding. I appreciate and take to heart your comments. Deep breaths help. It’s a tough journey and the fact that you recognize that it takes bravery to share vulnerability, soothes me. You and many others have lived through it, so I know with patience, I can too.
I lost my family of origin over a few years two decades ago. I, too, have kids–daughters–who grew up so fast. They live near, have even provided grandchildren, and my love for them is unconditional. But they’re in the spring of their lives, heading here and there and who knows where. You’re the first to give those undulating conditions a label: windstorm. You nail it–our emotions blow in all directions–I’m certain because our original family isn’t here. Our foundation is gone.
I hope my daughters will one day understand how love differs — be it for a family of origin, the family we create, a significant other, long-standing and loving friends. I know my girls know how much I love them, tho they can’t begin to register feelings of empathy for my not having any of my original family. Despite the loving women that they are, such loss is beyond their comprehension. I’m grateful for that most of the time. In other moments it magnifies my loneliness far too much. I have to consciously find my footing in the moment and use all of my strength to stay put in it. It never goes away. I guess our original family provides the protection from windstorms. They really are the elixir that keep us feeling grounded, whether we’re 5 or 55. I love your writing, Wendy. It’s all consuming and so genuine.
How authentically marvelous, I understand your words with my whole self – we lose our anchor when our parents die, and then we lose our sails when our new family, the one we create through marriage and children, morphs into (what can feel like) oblivion. It is a windstorm – removing our footing and, as you mention, our foundation. I, too, consider my life as my children continue on with their journeys, without me. I agree that our children can’t begin to comprehend our loss, because they haven’t yet experienced it. But everyone, eventually, does. We tend to understand life much later than those who came before us – even as they attempt to warn us with their words, we just don’t get it. Until we do. Like you, I chase my footing, each day, because the ground beneath me shifts often.
Thank you for your kind words and insightful response.