When Grief Doesn’t Capture It
My horoscope for 2020 describes this as the year to confront my intimacy issues.
God help us all.
I find that nudge both accurate, and cruel.
I start to unfurl the meaning behind my armoring — as information, as insulation.
In the face of new loss and heightened trauma responses, I returned to “Square One”, and read the second tool I’d described as a resource.
Boundaries are what we use to assign limit and definition to people, places and things. Without them no emotional availability can be gained.
A week ago today, my close friend of fifteen years died suddenly.
So far my attempts to create distance from that news have been unsuccessful, and I’ve entered our relationship through our written words.
Letters over ten years that start at age fourteen.
They stop before our recent history; my memories fill in where our words trail off.
My heart and my loyalty can’t agree on what to say next.
What comes to mind is a tv show that came out around the time we met.
One Tree Hill.
In the first several seasons, a friendship between two female leads is emphasized.
Brooke-described as slutty, formidable, neglected, open but not vulnerable, a risk taker, an achiever, too sensitive to forgive betrayals, reliably independent and vague.
Payton-artistic, brooding, witty, slow to share herself, subtly self destructive, poignantly observant of her world and others’ perceptions.
I’m Brooke in this collection of memories from high school and college.
I’m an eye in a storm.
I’m hard on people.
I’m self reliant.
Unwilling to play it safe.
Closed to intimacy. Tightly.
Seemingly resilient quickly, even to my self injury.
Dissonant to how guarded I feel I need to be
Until those seasons ended and tremendous change upset my ability to cope the same ways.
Healing work entered my story, now blankets all of my memories and the impact behind them.
There‘s an overlooked consequence of healing. Self abandonment, and constant falling outs. A loss of belonging.
When we change to heal, we change to others.
When we heal in community, those ripples have to be housed and somehow integrated.
It becomes simultaneously true that you are losing closeness with the people who know you, so that you can have space to meet yourself.
Everything that is true rises to the top.
While things that can’t rise, emerge as untruths.
People we love can also love our untruths.
People we build our lives with can need our untruths to reside next to theirs, can feel a closeness that depends on those shared parts.
And harm and resilience can land on us differently, and many times insufficiently.
Boundaries are how we love people and our truths at the same time.
Between what’s mine,
and ours once,
and yours now,
and mine for a time,
we develop keener observation of ourselves.
We let each other experience for ourselves.
We let ourselves learn from our patterns.
We nurture relationships that can accommodate these bulky dimensions.
We choose space when that’s the only loving thing.
We choose nearness as often as we can.
We, as Piglet says, make sure of one another.
- My tears are for what was true that remains.
- My tears are for what is no longer true.
- My tears are for who I was, and how that was hurtful.
- My tears are for who I wasn’t, and how that was a hard lesson to learn.
- My tears are for the healing that wasn’t shared.
- My tears are for the insights I wish I’d absorbed earlier.
- My tears are for the losses that can’t be separated from each other.
- My tears are a signal to my body that I can experience more than one truth at a time.
As my friend would say, with her Payton poignancy, breakdowns are inevitable.
Let yourself be glad that in spite of everything, you can still let yourself breakdown.