As I approach Emily’s 2-year anniversary and Michael’s 1-year anniversary, I am giving myself permission to feel. Feel whatever comes my way. And not to push it away or suppress it, and act like it does not exist. No matter how painful the thought or feeling. Now that can be a scary thought. But I am trying to pass through the unknown of trying to say it’s going to be like “such and such” and just let things happen as they will. And honor my feelings.
We can avoid our feelings. Especially when it is just too painful. I have done that a lot this past year. Talked myself into thinking that losing two babies while pregnant is not a big deal, while I know deep in my heart that it is. When I start to think back about while Emily was inside my tummy, I was counting down to the days that we would have our anatomy appointment and confirm a little girl. I was only weeks away when my world got turned upside down. I never thought that would happen to me. I was a baby making machine. To go from two full-term pregnancies never a complication, to losing. The rug had been pulled out from under me. I was lying flat on my back with everything spinning around me. What happened? What did I do wrong? What is going on?
Sometimes this past year after Michael died, I would try and escape my pain. My sadness. My anger. I would drink more than I should have to “deal” with my feelings. I don’t want to feel jealousy or sadness. “I’ll have another beer.” Knowing deep down that would not help. It only added to my overwhelming or confusing feelings. How did it help? Not at all. Sure, in the moment it might have felt good to numb myself, and to “escape” all that I was feeling. I can see how people get addicted to alcohol or drugs. But once that “high” comes off, you want an even higher high the next time. Why? To escape. To not allow yourself to feel.
There were times these past couple of years where I just did not want to continue with this grieving thing. I am tired of feeling this way, and I will just “move on” and act like none of this happened. It is a beautiful day outside, but I feel rotten inside. This is not fair. Why does everyone else seem to be smiling today, but I am not? I felt these feelings, as hard as it was. I would journal. I would pray, even if I wasn’t sure God was even listening. I would talk with others that I knew would really listen, and didn’t try to “fix me” or talk me out of my feelings. And just when I thought the wave taking me down was really going to take me under and take me into depression, I came up. It was like God threw me a life preserver and said, “It’s going to be okay.”
I remember numerous times meeting with my spiritual counselor her saying to me, “What you are feeling is ok. They are your feelings. It’s what you do with your feelings.” I don’t think I really understood what she meant until recently. I am still reading that book called, “Choices” by Melody Beattie, and in it she says, “No, we don’t let feelings dictate our behavior. But if we don’t feel them, that’s what they’re likely to do.” She goes onto say, “Once we’re no longer afraid to feel any feeling that comes our way, we really do become happy, joyous, and free.”
I like to think that God gave us all of these emotions to be used in this life. Not to be denied, or left unused. The more we use these emotions – happiness, sadness, anger – the more we can truly live life. And also have compassion for others. So we can share in their walk. Their journey. So we can sincerely put our arms around someone, and remember how much of a difference that embrace made in our darkest days. Be present, and really feel what you are feeling.