Monday, March 23, 2009

Thoughts on Loss and Love

In talking with a good friend recently, the topic of loss and how we cope with it is foremost on my mind. She has experienced much loss and heartache in the past 5 years. As is often the case with life, just when you think you're on the "up side" of dealing with something painful, you have your bearings again, life throws you another whammy to slap you back down. Along with two other friends of mine (and probably scores of others that I don't know about), we just keep telling each other and ourselves "just keep swimming, just keep swimming" (think Dory of "Finding Nemo") because sometimes, that's really all you can do.

The third anniversary of my mom's death is coming up on May 5th. It's really hard to believe it's been almost 3 years. I've thought about her a lot more the past few weeks. Zachary has talked about missing her much more lately as well.

I suspect that the loss of my recent love relationship has stirred up some of its own grief/loss feelings. It's a loss that has taken me much longer to move past than I had hoped or wanted...I've struggled mightily to let go. Being with him, well, it was as though I was intoxicated, literally feeling euphoric. All of my inhibitions felt like they were gone and the communication with him was just there. I was me, in my best sense. There were times that being with him felt surreal because the intimacy was so intense. I knew in my heart that he just "got me" without a whole lot of explanation. Though I've been in love before, it was never like this. This was the closest I've probably ever allowed myself to get to a man. It's hard to understand, let alone explain, how I could feel what I felt in a short period of time. I was, for once, open enough to trust and believe it was a mutual feeling, and one that would continue to grow and be strong enough to withstand life's trials and tribulations. As such, the love in my heart for this person just doesn't really want to let go and believe that what was, and touched me so profoundly, is *poof* gone. He's moved on, and I'm trying very hard to do the same but it takes time I guess...more for me than some.

So many different events can trigger seemingly unrelated memories and feelings because the emotions (grief, loss, angst) are the same. The more I think about us as human beings, the more I profoundly realize that we all have different circumstances in our lives, but the emotions we feel are all the same. Personally, I feel like it's my life purpose to figure out how best to connect to other people through those emotions. It keeps me feeling human, compassionate, and alive.

I've also reflected a lot recently on the value of friendship to me. I cherish all of my relationships...friendship, family, and romantic. I've touched on this topic before in other posts. My level of commitment to these relationships seems at times to be much greater than the average person's. But, as I continue to journey through life, I am learning how to discern between the folks who do and don't invest as much in the relationship as I do. I'd much prefer to be on equal footing with a person than not. The give and take is crucial. I'm learning to weed out the ones that don't share the same value system with me in regards to relationships. Occasionally, I make a mistaken assessment and my heart is whomped. Life happens. Loss happens. I continue to learn to live with it and move on, taking what lessons I can from it.

I'm trying to not let my trust and faith in people be rocked every time I'm disappointed...but that's another lifelong lesson I suppose. My recovery from such events has gotten shorter over the years at least. Give enough trust to be happy, but not so much as to be easily hurt. I tend to trust more easily than I should in circumstances I shouldn't...and I have difficulty trusting in the situations that I should trust in. It's almost as though my entire sense of what is and isn't appropriate with regards to trust is warped. Well, it probably is, now that I think about it. A lack of healthy boundaries throughout childhood probably has done quite a bit to form the skewed schema of trust that exists in my head. More conscious effort will be required to keep this straight I guess.

I am so very, very happy and grateful though, to have in my life friends who have endured through years and years of struggle with me. Their willingness and commitment to stand by me through thick or thin has done so much to help me realize that it's worth it to continue to give people chances to earn my trust. I'm glad I don't just blindly shut the whole world out when my issues flare up...I think that would be a very, very lonely and isolated place to be. Not a lot of personal growth is going to come of that either, I suspect. This is my personal thanks to friends old and new for showing me love. I value it more than you will ever probably know despite my best efforts to show you.

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