Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I Push Back

We sit at the dinner table, my kids and me. They ask me to tell them stories. They want to hear about
My picture quality is awful because
I took a picture of a picture,
but I had to show these two clowns,
Sue and Dad
Pop, and Gramps, and Auntie Sue. They are intensely curious about these people who are lost to us.

I mostly do okay now. I can talk about Sue, remember her, and laugh, without my heart feeling like it is being squeezed in a vice.  I still feel the loss of her strongly at different times, like when I hear a certain song or see a picture of her.  But I sometimes battle an underlying feeling of bitterness at the unfairness of it all.

I get angry for all I don't have. I am bitter about all that has been taken from my kids. And don't even get me started on how bitter I am about all that has been taken from my two nephews and two nieces. There is so much we are missing. It's overwhelming.

So what can I do with this anger and bitterness?

I guess I feel like I have two choices when they start to take over: I can lean into them, or push back.

I could sit down right now and write a one hundred page essay laying out all of the sorrows we have felt.  I could enumerate all of the future moments that will now be changed for the worse because we have lost Sue. I could go on and on about how DAMNED UNFAIR it is that we have suffered this loss while so many other people have all their family members alive and well. I could scream from the rooftops about our broken hearts, our trauma, and our collective grief.  And I have to say, sometimes I sort of do this.  Or, at least, I do it in my head.

Then when I'm done going on and on about how hard and awful it all is, I usually feel...worse.

This is what happens when I lean in.

When I push back, it works out a bit differently. I still feel the unfairness. The bitterness and anger either creep in slowly, or spark like a jolt of electrified negativity. I can tell it is there when I am thinking things in my head that start like, "I'll never have what that person has..."

But when I push back, I take a moment to feel that anger and bitterness. I tell myself it is okay to feel that way, but only for a very short time. The anger and bitterness can't stay, I push back against it. It takes too much from me and leaves me worse off than I was before. I don't get anything from it except more anger and bitterness.

I am not in charge of whether I feel the anger and bitterness, but I am in charge of how long I let it stay.

These days I'm working to push back against those feelings that pull me down. Sometimes I fail. That's okay. I'll just try again next time.

I am determined to keep pushing back.