Grieving The Distance

“Sometimes I feel so- I don’t know – lonely. The kind of helpless feeling when everything you’re used to has been ripped away. Like there’s no more gravity, and I’m left to drift in outer space with no idea where I’m going….”

“Sometimes I feel so- I don’t know – lonely. The kind of helpless feeling when everything you’re used to has been ripped away. Like there’s no more gravity, and I’m left to drift in outer space with no idea where I’m going’
Like a little lost Sputnik?’
I guess so.”
― Haruki Murakami

This is a lengthy writing and I thank you for taking the time to read it. Before it continues I want you to try to find something positive from the journey we are currently on together. Stop and reflect on how this may have altered or will alter the person that you thought you were. From my own personal pages I have discovered a remarkable “lacking” on my own journey that has deeply surprised me. But that is for the next blog. For today let’s talk about the grief in our distance. 

If I can predict and assure you of one thing it is that at the end of this discomfort you will remember the pain of lonely and it will make you a better human.

I can say with complete honesty that prior to this current place we are in that I don’t really think I understood loneliness. Which means I couldn’t construct empathy for the lonely as effectively as I will following this experience.  If anything, I think I may have envied them slightly the freedom to be alone.  As a natural introvert I love being by myself…

But not this time.  This time the loneliness feels like crippling grief, an emotion I have adapted to through my work, and one that I can place aside at the end of the work day.  Yet how do I put it away in its tidy box when the entire world around me is grieving.  Grief naturally comes in waves, it affects one person one day, another the next but in the middle of it all is that energy of peace that allows us to breath until the next roll crests. But not now. Not today.  Today we are all collectively as entire populations toppling about on the lifts and the crashes of a tidal wave that doesn’t appear to be descending to something manageable enough to swim in.  If I can frame this for you from the position of fresh grief, from a place of just having lost someone you love; we are in that first few days through the mourning period where time stands still, where nothing feels natural and auto pilot has engaged to get us to the other side of it safely.  But in this moment exists one major and influential difference in how we heal our respective pain. This time we cannot reach for each other to console.  And that’s making this experience unlike any other you will have been through or may go through again.  This is grief at its profoundest state and nothing in our lives will ever feel so uncomfortable after this is over.

To those that shy from human touch I now understand how painful that might be for you, and I want to learn who made it that way for you.  The soul, the very basis of what makes us human requires the act of connection.  Physical connection. Whether it be sitting across from someone in the coffee shop, walking with a friend, or sharing a hug…it is a natural need to feel closer than six feet away.

I stood in the cemetery the other day at the end of a row of headstones.  Six feet apart and six feet down. I believe that the basis of this is more logical of course in that most caskets are approximately 6 feet in length or more. That six feet down is more appropriate so that the earth doesn’t give up what is buried below.  All set out for geographical reasons. But as I stood there staring I wondered…why doesn’t this place feel as lonely as the world feels outside of it today? Here in our resting spots we are six feet apart. Why do I feel peace here but not out there? And then I realized.  We’re not six feet apart underneath of it all. We are head to head, toe to toe. Mere inches separate us even if on the ground above it seems farther.

Here and now we are separated by six feet painted on a sidewalk. Taped onto a grocery store floor. Our soul energy that lives in our hands is trapped into latex gloves, and our reassuring smiles are hidden in masks. The only thing we can connect to now is the eyes. Eyes that are tired, are vacant and are lost in the same grief as your own.  No one in the crowd knows when the discomfort ends. No one can tell you that it’s going to be OK.  No one can pat your hand and say it all ends somewhere soon. And there is nothing lonelier than living that.  Nothing lonelier than not being able to connect in the support that only another human can provide.  We can talk about connecting energetically but when it comes right down to it…we didn’t come to live together as humans to only connect this way.  We cannot, it’s impossible to fully feel the energy of a soul when the human body is tucking it away behind individual walls created in our own unique life stories.  We came together on the human journey to feel the beauty and the love that comes with physical touch. To remember that behind every facade exists something we know already. Something we’ve shared space with in another place free of our physical restrictions.  Maybe we all forgot about that. Maybe that’s what this is all about after all.  Maybe we needed to remember that we all need to feel loved.  We just couldn’t possibly have known the experience we would have to share together, the losses that we would accumulate together or why it would happen the way it did.

I have witnessed something remarkable this past few weeks.  In the lineups of people standing  six feet apart I have seen less and less of us looking down at our phones.  Instead I am seeing the bare naked souls standing behind another with a strange and wistful stare. It didn’t take me long to figure it out.  It wasn’t boredom. It wasn’t frustration.  It was the sound of the soul speaking in the silence.

“I need to be closer. It hurts to stand alone”

I don’t have to hope that we all one day need to try to remember this feeling. I know without a doubt in my mind, in my heart or in my soul that we will never forget this feeling. And for that part I am grateful.

Because this isn’t at all about changing things. This is about remembering what we came here for.

We came here to touch each others lives.  We came here to learn love. We came here to remember how beautiful that truly is.

And a special note for all those grieving the loss of someone to this illness, I want you to know that they were surrounded and touched by immense love in your absence. That your pain in being kept from their side was reflected to all those that went before and they stood in to bring your loved one all of the love that you wished you could give in those moments.  My heart aches for the grief you have experienced in this and I send you comfort over the journey from here.

In love, in light and in the power of human connection,

Tania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chronicles Of The Isolated Introvert

“I am leaning on the wall staring at her and in my mind I have grabbed her paper respiratory mask that she is wearing and snapped it back onto her face just to silence her.  I think I might actually have followed through on this impulse had it not been for the voice in my head reminding me of the 6 foot distance rule…”

Are you all losing it yet?  I am and I am not afraid to say that out loud. While I am fully cognitive of the need to stay put and to be a responsible member of society I have no issue with telling you that I am slowly losing my marbles. I expect that you are too so I am not going to wander off into the ether of love n light for this one but instead try to find the humor in this moment in time.  While this microscopic little SOB is wreaking havoc across nations we can do little but wait for the day that it chokes on itself.  In the interim we must do our best to sit still and ride this out so that we don’t put others at risk. This is our gift to each other so to say. I love and value you so I will wait it out with you and for you.

But it’s hard. We can be honest about that. This is hard. And it will get harder in the days and weeks to come.  We will eventually come to the realization that toilet paper is not our biggest loss but our sanity is.

I am sitting here at 2 am heading into day 4 of “social isolation”. Joining me in this new and unexpected adventure is my spouse, our two dogs and the cat.  The only one that might survive this is the cat because he’s small enough to slip through the bars on the balcony and run like hell.

If I could morph into a feline like slither I can assure you I’d follow him. Unfortunately, my soul is shoved into a rather curvaceous and mature human so my only means of escape would be to lunge one leg over the rail and we all know how that is going to end.  It would take time away from our emergency services that they can ill spare in this current climate, so, I am doing my best to behave in this imposed isolate state.

It’s not easy and I know you know that too.  I am an introvert but I am also a control freak and I prefer to choose my introversion, not be forced to it. The second someone tells me I must do something my immediate instinct is to do the opposite.  Hence my current struggle with being caught between four walls with the spouse, two dogs and the cat.

The spouse has ants up his underwear and has gotten up a dozen times in the last two hours in his curiosity over what I am furiously typing about.  With each meander he makes over my left shoulder my typing grows more aggressive. I live with the constant presence of someone’s loved one hovering nearby so this movement by this human is making me cranky and liable to snap at any moment. He knows this yet clearly he is bored and looking to fill his Virgo need to get his adrenaline going.  After 35 years in my oh so gentle presence one might think he would know better than to make me the object of that rush because the risk of getting stabbed by a fork is rather high at this point.

Molly our older dog is behaving like the Queen of The Nile right now. She is four or five days (or weeks..who knows..I have lost track of all time) post op from a surgical procedure.  If I whisper the word “cookie” she has the ability to drag herself from her horizontal position on her furry rug, get to the kitchen in no more than 3.5 seconds and produce a clear loud bark for her treat.  The minute I get into bed however she is suddenly in “drama dog” mode that sounds very like a coyote just got shot and is slowly dying in the field next door.  It is a godforsaken sound that she is clearly perfecting because she has learned that it does gain my attention.  The reason behind this satanic howl? The pillows are on her couch, the same way they have always been yet now she wishes to have her concierge remove them because suddenly she has forgotten how.  She hasn’t forgotten how to leap onto said couch however so I am catching on to this game.  Old dogs can learn new tricks folks.  I am rarely home so now I am trapped and she is enjoying this.

Our younger dog Scooby is on the fast track to a tranquilizer dart. Can we buy those over the counter?  If my other half so much as moves toward the door Scooby is in flight and lands like a 40 pound budgie on the back of the couch. This would be less of a problem if I wasn’t seated on that couch when he does it but he seems completely oblivious to that fact. I have had a leg shoved up my right nostril several times this week as he attempts and almost fails to sit his perch without tipping off of it backwards. Thank God my nose is there to avoid that tragedy.  He has taken to joining Molly in her 3 am singsong so now it sounds like one dying coyote and an off key soprano who has absolutely zero perception that he is tone deaf.

Our shared laundry facilities are in over time use this week so it’s taken me seven hours today to do three loads.  The woman stomping about ( I have no idea who she is, she doesn’t live here) has taken up every washer and is nattering on because someone hasn’t emptied their dryer in time for her to change hers out. I am leaning on the wall staring at her and in my mind I have grabbed her paper respiratory mask that she is wearing and snapped it back onto her face just to silence her.  I think I might actually have followed through on this impulse had it not been for the voice in my head reminding me of the 6 foot distance rule. Oh, and maybe I considered that arrest might follow.  Can they handcuff from 6 feet away?

Two of my adorable grandchildren went breaking bad tonight and showed up for ice cream and chocolate milk. I let them in only because I know their germs and I know their mother has recently annihilated a lice infestation (school gift) from every crevice of hair and home so anything that might have tried to live through that has failed. Other than the kids of course. And their mother. Barely, the poor girl.

My grandson all three feet of him, admonished me loudly for using the word “stupid” to describe my 40 pound budgie ( “You do not use that word around children!”). Well OK then. Clearly I need to get with the program.

As they were preparing to leave the building I ran ahead to ensure that no other human was present. No sooner had they stepped into the hall than the door to my left cracked open to reveal the sweet face of our senior neighbor peeking out.  She is out and about and talking to everyone constantly so I had no fear of her concern for her own safety with the two moppets that I was trying to usher down the hallway.  And then she started. She is Italian or Portuguese and heavily accented. I still don’t know which one and I have lived next door for five years.  Regardless, she speaks quickly and it can be difficult to hang onto each word.

Until tonight that was.

As she cooed and ooohed at the kids she glanced up at my daughter and said how nice it was to see the little ones and that it brought her such joy.  She then went into a slight vent about our microscopic little SOB and how it was making it so hard for everyone to be family.  Her final words with my grandkids hanging on to each one?

“Is bullchit you know. Is bullchit! But what can ya do. You can do nutting. But is bullchit”

My grandson said not a word.

But I can’t say stupid.

 

It is now 3:15 am. The song of the dying coyote is in full swing.  From the bathroom this time because I put the lid down on the ONLY existing fresh water supply in the world.

 

Laugh or you’ll cry as my grandmother would say…

Lets laugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I Can’t Today, I Have To Wash My Hair”

“I think the knitting part finally did it.  I was poised to Facebook message my mother ( the knitting queen) to ask her to lend me needles when I panicked and promptly booked a tour date to distract myself from the desire to make a sweater that would only ever evolve to something warm yet backless. My husband remarked that I might actually finish the one I started for him in 1989. That made me panic further as I recognized a reemergence of patterns from decades ago….” 

“It’s been 6 months since my last blog post” I almost feel like I need forgiveness.

It’s Canada Day, the sun is shining strong and I imagine the beaches are packed to capacity with families and friends sharing in the holiday.  Me, I am curled up in my  favorite chair with the AC cranked and a hot coffee beside me working on schedules. And to be truthful I am happiest right here enjoying the day in my pajamas.

I am a natural born introvert and I do it well. My husband is helping with the community BBQ at our building and I wished him well while I shooed him out the door.  Most of my nearby neighbors ( aka my hallway) are lovely souls, but I can find conversation with them by simply passing in the hallway as I exit or enter the building.  And, well, some of the others in the building just simply find my last nerve with their high heeled arrogance. I find it incredibly difficult to coexist with someone complaining that the kale salad was prepped from bagged.  Everyone is different I suppose. The beautiful thing about life is that we have the opportunity to place ourselves into the situations that feel most comfortable for ourselves. I also don’t want to be responsible for using a plastic picnic fork to  stab the person that has to pick up each sandwich triangle to determine contents and then drop it back to the platter when it doesn’t suit their tastes.  And let’s not get me started on the odd fella that wanders the building in his housecoat and comments on my ravishing beauty at each opportunity to do so.  I am still wondering where he leaves the seeing eye dog given that he generally finds me in the laundry room with raccoon eyes from sleeping in my mascara and my hair sticking up like a troll doll. Regardless, I find it less than flattering and one day might throw him my track pants from the dryer and instruct him to put on clothes like normal people do when in public.

I am just simply not the Knots Landing type of girl. For those that don’t know the reference…Google is your friend.  Watch ten minutes of one episode and you’ll understand me completely.

It’s been a long haul from the end of last year to today.  I have gone from occasional driver to nearly full time driver since my spouse seriously injured his vision in a fall last November.  We thought he might be improving until one day last week when he panicked that I was about to run over the “two little people in orange raincoats” that were standing on the roadway I was travelling along.  They were construction pylons guarding a pot hole. However, the twenty minutes of laughing til I cried certainly helped to alleviate any stress I had amassed in the weeks prior.  In his defense I did finally find my Tide Pods in the freezer nicely propped against the bag of frozen cauliflower. I blame the packaging for my faux pas in this instance. In my mind zip-lock anything must be edible right? Oh wait. Perhaps that explains the Tide Pod eating craze. Maybe I am not the only one that mistook them for carrots and the kids though they were Freezie bites.

Sitting at home trying to stop my spouse from hurting himself further as he learned to navigate with one functioning eye found my introversion blossoming like an untreated dandelion. I began to rather enjoy just taking my time in the morning and not having to get dressed to do anything social in the evenings. I mean, obviously, I had to get dressed for clients but other than that I was free to just be me.  I got into some Netflix series that found me reminiscing about easier days, I had time to actually make dinner for a change and I was finally able to make an appointment for distance glasses that would ultimately save everyone’s lives on the roads.  I rerouted my spouse from walking into walls, soothed his very frustrated pride and considered knitting to wile away my hours.

I think the knitting part finally did it.  I was poised to Facebook message my mother ( the knitting queen) to ask her to lend me needles when I panicked and promptly booked a tour date to distract myself from the desire to make a sweater that would only ever evolve to something warm yet backless. My husband remarked that I might actually finish the one I started for him in 1989. That made me panic further as I recognized a reemergence of patterns from decades ago.  So I made the decision to get up the next day and greet the world again socially.  That went well until the next day as I sat with my coffee cup at  11 am and decided that I really had to dust the apartment instead. And the next day was vacuuming. The day after was laundry.  I began to have visions of turning into my mother and setting aside Tuesdays to wash my hair. For those that don’t know my mum, her hair washing routine involves two full days and I am not kidding. One day to wash it and one day to walk around the house in her curlers.  “Mum do you want to go for lunch today?”  “Oh…I’ve just washed my hair can we do it another day?”  OK mum…see you in 72 hours.

We naturally retreat into comfortable patterns when the opportunity presents itself to do so. And comfortable for me has always been to disengage. While it serves me brilliantly in my work it doesn’t necessarily do the same in day to day life.  So I again made the decision to jump back in. I made that decision just a few weeks back. I flew my antisocial self to Prince Edward Island with the intention of spending the days on the beaches and smiling at everyone I saw.  What’s that old saying again?  I plan and God laughs?  I walked off the plane into what I am certain was -20 windchill. With no coat and sandals ( for the beaches remember).  And while I absolutely enjoyed the time spent there with my dear friend at her home, we both laughed at the lack of social interaction because the entire province had retreated into their homes to save themselves from freezing to death. So we got up each day and drank coffee and stood staring through the windows at the frost instead.  We finally braved the only day above five degrees and hit the beach which resulted in my poor friend getting a migraine for two days from the sub zero winds that almost blew our sorry asses into the Atlantic Ocean.  I did however get to practice my antisocial self further at the farm she works for.  If you are an introvert you will understand how good it feels to just talk to the animals because they literally agree with every single word you say. If you even feel like making conversation that is. The farm is the perfect place to practice your introvert communications skills. I had an absolute blast but I failed miserably at my original intention.  However I got to cuddle a baby alpaca.  Worthy trade off.  I did one event where my social self seems to suddenly reappear out of nowhere and then retreated again in the safety of alone. It’s the weirdest thing in the world. Hand me a microphone and I can talk your ear off. Send me to Wal -Mart and I’ll stare at the floor to avoid conversation. I should start wearing a wireless headset to the grocery stores right?

I suppose you all might be wondering right now where exactly is she going with this blog?  It does have a destination. Bear with me. I am chatty today.

I boarded my flight to home and made a firm decision to engage with the other passengers. I was happily chatting with two ladies in my seating row until the air attendant shooed me to another spot because ( in her words) “You look so uncomfortable stuck in the middle. There’s a full row of empty seats you can stretch out in”  I said goodbye to my travel buddies and found myself staring out of the plane window wondering why I wasn’t allowed to communicate with anyone.  You can laugh at this. I did. It was rather ironically amusing.  Mind you the leg room that a full row afforded me was divine. I arrived home full of my usual pep, anticipating perhaps a night out and friendly faces and woke up the next morning with an odd discomfort running from the top of my head into my neck. Decided it was from whacking my skull on the lavatory ceiling on the plane and proceeded to make plans for a weekend of social engagements.

And woke up two days later with shingles. Now, let me assure you of one thing. If the universe doesn’t think you’re getting the messages clearly enough it’s going to do something fairly drastic to make you finally receive them. Yes, the universe had slowed me down and forced me into some type of self seclusion, but what it had failed to do was to stop me from keeping every waking moment occupied doing anything but sit with my own self. I was planning. I was writing. I was counselling via social media. I was booking sessions. I was planning dinner at 9 am. I was planning laundry a week ahead. Despite being at home and not being social I was constantly doing something to keep busy.  I was even contemplating knitting for the love of all things holy. All this to divert myself from myself.

Well. Let me assure you of one very certain thing that I have learned. A severe case of shingles will bring you down to both knees and keep you there. There is no planning, no dusting, no meal prep. There is only you focused on you because you are unable to focus on anything else during the process. You have no option but to escape to your own mind as a way to escape from what is probably the most painful physical condition I have ever experienced.  And it was here that I found myself again.

It was here that I was able to face the fact that I disengage from focusing on myself because I don’t believe I am worth focusing on myself.  Yes I said that. I find my value in focusing on anything that lives outside of me. Because as an empath that’s just what we do. It’s easier to hone in on outside discomforts than face our own.  In the 17 days of pain that brought me to tears at every turn I had no other option but to focus on me. And it changed me exponentially.  For 17 long days I was able to retrace my steps to where I took the wrong steps, where I could have done better for myself, where I put myself into situations that made me feel worthy only to ultimately find myself feeling overwhelmed or worse than that, feeling used or disrespected for not setting firm boundaries. It was a period of deep introspection because I wanted to understand why someone as strong as myself would get knocked to the floor by something as ridiculous as a series of blisters that suddenly appeared one morning.

Sometimes comfort zones have to be uncomfortable to gain insight.

Nothing has changed in the work that I do. If anything this has heightened my sensitivity to the discomforts that others deal with every single day. It has taught me to be kinder and gentler. To take a moment and sometimes only a moment to send you a loving thought but to not get tangled up in trying to take it from you.  It has taught me that in order to be the best version of myself that I have to set boundaries to care for myself. I have learned that I am worthy of my own softness and that I should never feel guilty or selfish for reaching for it.  I have learned that I am worthy of the same from those that might wish to share it with me and not to downplay my need of it.

Most importantly I have learned that although others may need me, that sometimes I need me more and to honor that.  So you’ll forgive me if I can’t be there to fix it for you right away but promise to help you with it at another time unless you can fix it yourself first. That would be preferred because you learn so much from working on yourself.

I know I did.

But I am here if you struggle…sending love and support.

Oh…I also finished the third book kids. I couldn’t find time before now to do so because I was busy planning dinner at 9 am…

Progress rocks. 😉

Love love love….and thank you once again universe for sending me down the next path on this amazing journey.  But don’t do that shit again.