Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Starts and Re-Starts
Loved this! I haven't seen anyone carrying anything on their head since I was in India. Well done, I thought when I saw her. Just then the pack of paper towels fell, which is why she's reaching up, to catch it.
Life as a human being is so complicated! Well, at least it is for me. I could take this post in so many directions ... but today what I'm thinking about is that there is no such thing as a hard re-start for the heart.
Life itself is full of hard re-starts. People die, move away, change jobs, end relationships. Jake died one year ago today. Even though he was ready to go, it was still inconceivable to me that he could be here one minute, then completely gone the next, never to return.
I had a client who suffered terribly from cancer for four years. I was at her house for a quick visit, surrounded by her family and dear ones, when she died. As anyone who has witnessed this kind of death can tell you, it is such a relief when the person suffering passes away. And yet, the event is emotionally inconceivable.
About twenty minutes before she died, my client turned to face me and said, "They all know you, Reya." I thought it was an interesting comment. I wondered what she was tuning in to. I thought to myself, I'll ask her about that in a little while. No one knew she was about to die. We knew it was close, but not that close! I was talking quietly with her sister a few minutes later when the room cooled suddenly, and got very quiet. I'll never know what she was trying to tell me. Even now, years later, I feel confused by that experience.
After bad breakups and following the deaths of (for instance) my parents and sister, also when I left San Francisco, my strategy for dealing with these hard re-starts was to take a big ole psychic broadsword and slice through my heart connections all at once. SWACK. I figured it would really hurt to yank the plug, as it were, but in my mind, at least, a sudden and complete break seemed like it would be easier than surrendering to long-term grieving.
Of course all attempts to break free by brutal whacking only made me feel worse. What was I thinking? Heart connections do not consist of just one big, solid cord, nope. A heart connection is all about millions and millions of little threads. Like fiber optics, the threads of love are strong but very fine. They can't be cut. At least mine can't.
Last year when Jake died, I gave myself permission to get deep into the grief. I was a serious wreck for several months, then a less serious wreck for awhile. Today, a year after his passing, I'm OK. I'm done with it. Not that I'll ever forget my dear, beautiful, psychotic on occasion, fearful, sweet, powerful Vietnam vet of a dog, oh no. But my heart has healed from that terrible day. It really has! All I had to do was dive deep into my feelings, and trust that my heart knew what it was doing. And so it does! Wow.
My human heart is not capable of hard re-starts, but it is so resilient, given time and compassion - and acceptance. I am in awe.
From the window of the Chesapeake Room on 8th Street SE.