Unrequited grief is as crippling as unrequited love, and it can last a lifetime, because grief is patient. –“You’re not crazy, you’re grieving”, gateway-women.com
I’ve been thinking a lot on grieving. It all started with a quote I read on some blog a couple days back that said something like this: “Your parents are your past. Your siblings are your present. Your children are your future.” Sometimes, especially when the moon is full, little things like this can set me off. I am somewhat estranged from my parents, and these days really don’t feel like biological children of my own are in the cards. I crave a way to find peace over my current situation.
In “The Heart of Life is Good”, Vanessa writes beautifully to support the idea that pain, even extreme pain, is what makes life rich. Pain is useful in that it leads to compassion. The key is to not try to hold back, to let it wash over you like a wave.
One time, when I first got to the islands, I tried to learn to surf. Surfing has a steep learning curve, and usually you get pretty beat up on the reef when you are just starting. On my fourth or fifth time out, I was trying to catch waves on a beautiful evening in Waikiki. Waikiki is overrun by pale-skinned people who don’t know how to surf. It is a comedy of errors with overturned boards. After making some good progress, I ended up on a wave, but chickened out towards the end.
Well by chickening out, I ended up disconnected from my board, with a large burly German man with his legs straddling my shoulders, pushing me under the water! I have no idea how it ended up like that. He apologized in heavily accented English while he tried to get off me, we laughed a bunch. I never tried to surf again. I was too scared of what could happen if you back out at the last second.
“What you resist, persists.” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
I think I have good reason to resist grieving over my “lost” fertility. The first is that my friends and society like to tell me that I am overreacting – it is no big deal. ‘Women have babies until they are 42!’, they say. ‘You have time.’ ‘Children aren’t the only important thing in life’ (said both by parents and the childfree by choicers). ‘There is always the next life.’ ‘The reason you aren’t finding someone is because you are acting desperate.’
How can you not act a little desperate in dating when your doctor has given you a stern talk about how you will start having problems by 35 (and you are currently 33)?
So, folks, positive thinking is helpful sometimes – and being miserable around your friends is a recipe for losing your friends. But, if you do want a family of your own, then it is a loss to be childless by circumstance, to not have a life partner to come home to. My situation may change in 5 years time and I might have a miracle baby, but that doesn’t change the fact that right now I feel like I have lost something very important. Being told over and over that I shouldn’t feel sad, that “good things will come”, just makes me feel worse about being sad.
So, this week I gave myself the green light to grieve my future, even if others don’t understand. I looked deep into my heart and produced racking sobs that I had only made once before in my memory. It takes courage to let it hurt so much. I will do this as long as it takes, and not hold back. Hot yoga helps a lot to release, and all the sweat from the class hides the tears and my red face.
So what if it seems silly to grieve so soon? Why wait a decade to grieve, when I feel right now that things are breaking? I don’t want to hold back from riding the wave on this one.