Allowing the Grief... of Missing Me
For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve generally seen myself as the ‘positive one’, or the cheerleader of others. I am the person who listens to what you are feeling and then looks for a way forward to all that could be possible. I see the flaw in myself now. I was always uncomfortable when others were hurting, so I wanted to be the Uplifter. If I ever left you behind in your moments of doubt and fear, know that I love you and I am so sorry for that. I am finally hearing differently now.
These past few weeks, I have felt my own sense of loss, while also craving to just be heard. My brain has kept me up all hours of the night trying to find a logical reason for it so I can justify these feelings. I mean, what justification do I have? No one in my family has been directly impacted by the virus, but I try to rationalize by asking myself if I am feeling sadness for the hundreds of thousands who have been impacted?
Then I coupled that with feeling ashamed for hurting. Facebook has a way of perpetuating shame for me. Reminding me to not complain, but to remember that my family is safe. I have a job. I am getting exactly what I wanted for years; the opportunity to work from home and spend more time with my children. I am not on the frontlines. So, what excuse do I possibly have to feel bad?
Yet, for weeks my heart feels as if it is breaking. Every day is a rollercoaster of emotions, from relief and regret to anger and peacefulness. But one overarching emotion still lingers like a cloud over the others… Grief. When I finally gave myself over to it and gave myself permission to just feel it without a logical story to make it make sense, I felt a sense of calm. And this morning, clarity washed over me.
I immediately called my best friend, Christina, to share what came up. I was grieving the loss of the Me that I have always known. She agreed. This is what she is feeling too. We often talk about being ‘present in each moment’ and I thought that I had practiced that the past few years, but this overwhelming sense of loss indicates otherwise. I have spent most of my life being future-focused and goal-oriented. Even being present in the moment simply meant “what do I need to do now to get to where I want to be later?” Whether it was a future vacation, a new coaching client, the completion of the next degree, helping my children to the next grade, a birthday celebration, an anniversary, a new job or even the meeting/event at work I needed to plan… I was always looking to the future until the future felt like it was swept out from under me.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been left feeling uncertain about what the next day holds as we navigate this new way of being during a pandemic, much less where we will be in 6 months. I know for certain that things can never go back, and I feel optimistic about what they can be, but the inability to “see” or plan for it is uncomfortable to me. And so, I am grieving that woman I’ve been for so long. I think that’s okay. I am telling myself it is. I am not judging her for ‘being her’ all those years. In my mind I am holding her close, hugging her and thanking her for all that she taught me. I am crying with her and for her as I emerge into someone new. Someone who asks ‘How are you feeling right now… in this very moment.” But I am not forcing that emergence. I am just letting it be whatever it will be and I am allowing myself to feel the loss of that part of me that loves to plan. I am hoping that the Me that I was and the Me that I am becoming will emerge on other side of this as a beautifully balanced woman who is okay with not always being ‘okay’, but who surrenders to the whatever I am feeling in each moment with a foundation of Knowing that every experience is perfect as it is.
For now, I am off sit quietly with the woman in my heart who led me here. She is loved, but she is tired. I think I’ll let her rest now.