Free to feel sorrow

I am a big fan of embracing and accepting my emotions these days.  I consider them tides now that rise and fall and are like waves that would like us to ride them into what every shore they are breaking.  And even though it can feel exhausting to be hollowed our or broken open by grief like I was yesterday, I am so grateful now for my body’s ability to surrender to that tide rather than resist it’s natural flow.

I was thinking today of how braced my body became over years.  One of the consequences of not opening up to our feelings is that we hold our breath. We may have been taught to do this by a parent or other social conditioning, we may have been threatened if we were angry or felt sad with a punishment and so we had to freeze, or suck it up, or we may have tried to fight or fly away and been stopped, like when my Mum pulled my arm out of my socket when I was only three as I was trying to get away from her.

Yesterday at the crematorium as they played the song You’ll Never Walk Alone I really felt my abandonment wound triggered.   Gerry was far from alone in his cancer journey, Carmel listed in her eulogy all the things done for them.   I thought of my own breast cancer surgery where I had little in the way of support, a mere skeleton, but that is far from the only time I walked alone in my own life, especially after my father’s death in 1985.  This is not meant to be a post about self pity, only an attempt to say I had it really tough for so many years and validating that and feeling it is painful.  It is admitting to a truth.  I was not part of a close knit loving family like Carmel and Jerry and it’s been very hard.

Anyway surrendering to my feelings felt good yesterday even if quite uncomfortable at times.  It is not easy for many of us if we were never validated in the past.  But I truly do believe the fastest way to freedom is to feel our feelings and make sense of them, emotions are nothing less than energy in motion and energy wants to move out and through, having to bury it all inside has terrible consequences for us.  Embracing and feeling our grief is not automatic and complicated grief that is buried can be left undealt with for years with the result losses pile upon losses.  This is what I experienced as my sobriety unfolded with each funeral of a male friend or father of a friend, which would tap into all the pain over the loss of my Dad and his hurtful treatment of me over years as well as his stumbling attempts at kindness.  All these feelings were was buried for so many years in my addiction and probably my fear around males generated difficult reactions too the threatened intimacy between us.  These feelings can be a a potent cocktail when associated losses are being triggered in us from the unconscious.

When we grieve I believe we have to deal with feelings of powerlessness.  When someone we love dies or something is taken it shows we are not in control.  If we fight against the process we can end up blocked in my experience, far better to let ourselves surrender to what needs to move through us, reshape and change us.

9 thoughts on “Free to feel sorrow

  1. Allowing yourself to grieve, to let the tears flow and just accept them for what they are is such a difficult thing to do. In the beginning I think it’s fear that makes us hold on to them – we feel that if we start to cry and really let go we’ll never be able to stop. Acceptance is really the only way to peace.
    This post demonstrates the strength and determination that you’ve had over the years despite all that you’ve suffered; the fact that you can now allow yourself to cry for it all just proves, once again, how much fight you have in you. Love and hugs xx

    1. Awww what an absolutely spot on comment from someone who knows full well about grief. Thank you so much, Lisa and I think you are so right about fear. I think that is what makes others try to block our grief process too. Its deep territory navigating complex losses. Big hugs to you sweetie. I value you so much ❤

  2. I completely agree with you, you explain so much better than me. Even at my mum and then partners funerals I just didn’t want to let go. It just felt too public. Ended up just trying to fight the tears. In both funerals it was the music that finally broke the tear dam. But even then I still tried to fight them. I also just focused completely on my son. As a result I just delayed my grief process – because I never let go it just feels like I have a process inside of me which is incomplete – it’s an awful feeling.

    1. Yes but you need support too, please don’t ever forget. We probably should not need permission to grieve but how often do we get that kind of permission and acceptance. Yes, it has to start inside but we have ideas that especially we may need to ‘be strong for the kids’ or we may not consciously get a child to carry our feelings for us. Its not easy to grieve, Its not easy to accept the loss. Its not easy to know how to deal with it. I don’t know if your wife’s death was sudden or expected, all I can say is my heart goes out to you and I am here to listen to anything you need to say. Big hugs xoxo

      1. Thank you so much. I think one of the problems is that I really understand what ‘grieving’ really entails. It’s different for different people. I just haven’t worked it out for myself. Hugs to you as well – it is so so painful for you.

      2. I am okay.. Yes each person grieves differently that is so true and its not easy to know how to do it really. It can all get mixed up with other feelings too… its complex all we can do is falter stumble and bumble.

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