Quote of the day:
Like I said, you can't avoid grieving. You can't avoid feeling badly. You're going to grieve for the rest of your life, on and off, for those who have departed. Everyone Needs Therapy. Read more: here
Ada has to visit the vet today for an annual, comprehensive wellness exam. The last time I visited the vet was in July when Molly died. I have been staring at the cat carrier and thinking about picking up Ada and placing her gently inside before heading out the door. I know Ada well. She will cry and yowl and moan until we reach the clinic. It is her way of talking to me. I have great fear about what the vet will tell me. Will Ada be on the brink of some fatal disease? Will we need to do surgery? Will I lose Ada too? Of course, none of these feelings are rational. Ada is in great health, eating, sleeping, playing. Her fur is sleek and shining and she snuggles up close to me when I sleep. However, it brings back memories of past losses, and immediately those old hurts rise up to greet me. I look at Ada lying peacefully in the chair and feel closer to her than ever before.
Loss is difficult and I have had my fair share. This past Christmas I bore witness to Jazzy's last days with Randy, Milya and Maddie. She died of old age and had a glorious life full of love and energy. She died with love all around her. When we returned home from San Francisco I lit a memorial candle for Jazzy. And as it glowed and flickered I remembered animals who I have parted from: Molly and Terry, and I wondered about Jenna and where she might be these days.
Naturally, the feelings of sadness triggered thoughts and memories of my father, Charlie and Mar-Mar. I had the honor of sharing with them those most intimate of times, their last days, hours, and even moments, their last breath.
My advisor and friend, a renowned grief counselor, Tom Frantz used to say, "It's all about grief."
Loss is not only about people or animals who have died. It is about saying goodbye to my past lives. Bidding farewell to childhood, adolescence, embracing adulthood, leaving home. These days I realize, deeply, that I have finally left home: released my grip on my mother's strings, cut the enmeshed, psychic, umbilical cord. There have been numerous incidents or reasons that have brought me to this point. Some of them I have written about in my blogs these past two years. Most, I have experienced alone with myself, or written about in private journals. Last night I lit another memorial candle for this period in my life. It is peaceful, sobering, even, in a way, sad. After all, it means letting go of ancient pains and habits that have helped me survive all these 57 years. At the same time it is exhilarating to stand alone, free with the adult me making choices based on what feels right or deserved. Shedding self-destructive patterns and trying out a more nurturing, compassionate path. The end of an era. Necessary Losses.
Physically, I left home nineteen years ago. However, it has taken that long to untie the intense enmeshment, psychic strings, and unhinge double binds. This morning when I awoke, I lay for a few moments realizing that in a way this past week I have been sitting shiva. Only, it has been alone with myself. No friendly mourners stopping by with supportive comments or hot meals to tide me over. Just a head cold and sniffles, my bedside companions, that seem to be miraculously lifting even as I write this post.