I awoke with the memory. A giant sob, like an enormous bubble expanding in my body. I felt as if I were being lifted off the bed as it grew. I held it in, to spare the kids the sound of howling grief. When it burst from my chest I let out a gasp as I tried to find another breath and fell back down onto the bed. Another would follow, and another. A pain so intense it can only be described as soul searing.
I buried that agony. And I let the love of my life go, without tears, without visible sorrow. Death took her. And a very large part of me. I carried on. Three days off from work and then business as usual. Because that’s what a man does. Right? In my family that’s pretty much what everyone does.
I saw my dad cry, once. The day his mother passed away. I don’t think I ever saw my mother cry. She was a nurse and hardened to such things. Her Scottish roots inured in her a stoic toughness that I have never seen breached. I grew up in that tradition and took pride in it.
Liz’ death cracked my resolve. I don’t think there’s anyone who knows me well that hasn’t seen tears run down my face since she passed. And yet I still hold a lot inside. It comes out more often as anger now than tears. That’s why today is therapy day.
We’re human. With a range of emotion from the depths of despair to vast heights of elation. And everything in between. We are meant to feel all of them in a lifetime. They are our birthright. To deny them, to bury them, is to wall off a part of ourselves from our experience on this plane. It is to intentionally be less than a whole human being.
Let yourself get lost in love. And let yourself feel the anguish of losing that love. Then do it all over again. Cry when the pain is too intense. Laugh like no one’s looking. Dance in the rain. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s unseemly to feel life in all its glorious shades of color. It’s yours. It’s up to you to live it and feel it like it’s the only one you get. Because it is.
Thank you for reading.