The light at the end of the tunnel (that’s definitely not an oncoming train) is that the sooner you really put pen to paper about the mistakes you’ve made in your life, grieving what has happened to you becomes easier. Honestly, this works with dead people as well. Acknowledging your role in their lives might give you more empathy, more grace, and more compassion when it comes to the realization that you are carrying around a lot of their bullshit. It’s not intentional. It is what it is, in the vernacular. William Shakespeare had one of the greatest ideas in the history of mankind (or herstory, depending which English class you took in college…). The play’s the thing!
THE PLAY’S THE THING!
The play is the number 42, the meaning of life, and Jack Palance’s finger in the air all rolled into one. If you can figure out your character arc, you can figure out everyone else’s. Don’t treat people like you’re both on stage; however much you feel it, giving that feeling to someone else is ill-advised. Here’s the big bang moment of reality that will make you wake up in the middle of the night: the person on the stage and the person in the dressing room aren’t the same.
We’re all players. Billy Joel’s The Stranger is one of my favorite songs in the world because it speaks to that idea so strongly. Opera singers, ballet dancers, actors (in every medium), and bloggers (don’t get me started) have more practice at the idea of separate personalities, but it’s kind of like an emotional utility. You wouldn’t live in an apartment without a refrigerator.
If you are grieving a person that has died, take heart. All the pressure is completely off that your thoughts about them are going to matter to them. When you accept this, you can allow yourself to get vulnerable enough to emotionally “go into labor.” Some people equate that image with the concept of being “born again,” and for some, it’s a sign of the resurrection. Perhaps a Phoenix has decided to come live at your house and eat all your food until the day it went POOF!
We all have our own words for this idea, but the actualization of it happens at different rates. Some of what I’m learning now is age-appropriate. Some of it is remedial math and I’m embarrassed to be stuck on the short bus because I’m ADD.
After baring my soul in every way imaginable on my web site, I have discovered that death and loss are tools to teach you who you really are. I had that realization when it occurred to me that most people don’t die young, so the reminder to think about mortality doesn’t occur very often. When it does, you have a chance to sit on the floor and look at the pictures, even the awful ones, long enough to love them.