There was a time I shrunk from the pain of life happenings. I shielded myself, and feelings were stuffed, as they were too big for me. Outside a stone wall that had to be everything to everyone, and pretend everything was ok. Inside a fragile structure of my own making to hold me together into what I thought I *should* be.
Through time and events bigger than I and my notions of what was acceptable in me, and failing after failing to live to my own standards, I changed.
I no longer had to be my definition of, "strong." To me, treating pain as a disease and fighting it with fake smiles, what had meant letting no one know the hurt, and letting no one in, now meant embracing it.
When pain comes I open my arms, and let it blow through me. I crumble at the blows, and fall apart. I cry, rage against injustice, feel the sorrow, and spent, something of peace washes through me.
Last night, a friend passed away, and last night part of me went with her. For a while, her pain was mine. Her many loved ones and friends in pain, the agony washed through open arms, and after tears, confusion and more tears, memories of her began to roll through me. Lights of comfort, and the knowledge that this event for me was loss, but was in inexplicable magnitude, gratitude.
So many who loved her have reached out, prayed, sent loving thoughts to her and her family, and I got to be a small part of it. I have seen that I only knew a portion of how greatly she was capable of love, and how many lives she enriched. I am in awe!
I got to question, why is she gone? She was so full of love, and helped so many, while I am here, and oft don't know what to do. I felt her smile.
Countless times I, in my clumsiness, would speak of some social thing I didn't understand. I always loved to make her laugh, and I knew she'd jump on the opportunity, such was her joyous way. As many times, she'd explain people to me, and let me know it was o.k. not to get it all of the time. I'd played some Chopin, and she heard, only to tell me his was one of her favorites, and we listened to Erroll Garner, while I listened to stories of old romances, early motherhood and felt a love bigger than I am.
A thousand years ago at a 12 step meeting I attended I hear the word, "intimacy" rephrased as, "See into me," and now people like Kathleen who have been strong enough to allow others to "see in," are the ones I admire most. Not only do they have this strength of allowing, but it seems by doing so, they can "see" into others. It was not pain I feared, it was vulnerability. When faced, however with someone with whom it is impossible to hide from, and they are there and many (smiles), the very vulnerability I thought a weakness, becomes my strength.
Thank you, Kathleen for helping me let another layer of this false protection from not pain, but Love go. For helping me let go of things I don't understand and accept a little more each day
For laughing with me and letting me make you laugh sometimes.
For listening to me, and for sharing your stories.
For finding a way to encourage this one whose focus was to encourage others. (You snuck that in on me! smiles.)
For opening the world a little more to me, and for opening me a little more to the world.
For giving me a safe place to simply not get it
For dancing anyway and seeing that my reaching for play is often a way to cope
For making it just o.k. to be whatever I was.
For being along with me a woman, at times an old woman, and at times a child.
For helping me embrace passion for anything that impassioned me.
For the tears we both cried.
For the late evenings when we'd somehow find ourselves giggling, neither making sense, and too sleepy to talk, but that didn't stop us.
Thanks for your time, your openness, your honesty, your humor, your tears, your compassion and your love. I don't expect your work is done. So I wish you joy on your new adventure. If the ride is like anything in this life, I know you'll make it a good one! smiles. Here's to a new beginning, Kathleen!
Until next time, with love,