Are you breathing a little?
Updated: Jan 5, 2022
Mary Oliver said, "Listen--are you breathing a little and calling it a life?"
When we are experiencing "the missing peace" - whether the loss happened last year or 40 years ago - we can find ourselves watching life rather than living it. Things are happening all around us, but it's all we can do to keep breathing. Even breathing can be tricky.
I think it is essential to give ourselves a lot of grace at these times. And we should expect grace from others, but the sad truth is, there will always be at least someone in our circle who will not understand. Even those who have experienced loss themselves, or are quite possibly experiencing the same loss, can become distant to us, discouraged by us, avoidant, frustrated. It hurts. In our all too human experience, this turning away from others' grief is sadly natural. It's evolutionary. It's deeply seated in survival. Even though it sucks, they do not mean to be unkind. They are just moving forward - for now, at least.
Also, we shouldn't let this get in the way of our experience. And I think any way we respond to this is normal. We can turn further inward at these times. We can become closer to those who are there for us. We can find new outlets.
It's ok to wait these times out. It's ok to embrace our breath. Today may be a bad day. Tomorrow may be more problematic. We may watch and listen for a year... or more. It isn't the end of our story. One day we will surface. It may be for forever; it may be for a day. Breath. It's ALL life, even the loss.