So last night, I went into my back yard. It was after the boys went to bed and the house was quiet. I was bringing the dogs in and my husky likes to play “I want come in, I don’t want to come in” with me. She scratches on the door then when I open it, she runs away. We play the game for a while until I’m frustrated with her or she finally comes in the house.
Anyway, last night during the game, I just went outside and looked at the stars. The moonlight was low so the stars seemed bright. The back yard was dark. I noticed that the constellations had shifted further southwest than they were a few weeks ago. I noticed how beautiful the night was. It was dark, the stars were bright and beautiful. The air was still and quiet. The only notable noise was my dog trying to engage me in her game.
So this is what comes to me. I can notice, I can see the beauty of the night, the stars and the stillness, but I can’t feel the beauty. There is something about me that has shut off since my husband died. I witness things, but I don’t feel them like I used to feel them. I don’t know if that makes sense or not, but sometimes it seems that I am more an observer of my life and all that entails than a participant in it. I know love, I know beauty, I see them around me, but I don’t experience them as I used to experience them. There is something different, something missing. Many times I wonder if I have shut down feelings to cope with my sadness. Maybe I have shut down so I can keep people, beauty, life really at a distance so I won’t be hurt so badly again?
I ran into a woman from my former grief support group last week. She is a lovely woman and was widowed more than a year after me. She looked beautiful and happy. I recognize both-even though I don’t feel them much! She told me she had remarried. The news started me thinking – I know everyone is different and grief is as individual as each person, but now I’m wondering – how does this happen? How do you find someone and be married again? I haven’t been anywhere near that yet…sadly I haven’t even had a date or any interested parties to this point…I roll this around in my head and my heart and wonder if it isn’t tied to how I felt, or didn’t feel really, last night as I looked at the beautiful, night sky filled with stars. Have I shut down so much that I wouldn’t even notice if someone was interested? If so, how do I plug back into feeling things? How do I face the fact that to feel awe, beauty, and love I must risk the possibility of pain again?
I don’t want to go through the motions of my life. I want to feel. I want to be engaged, but for some reason I just can’t get there. I don’t want a cold and broken heart. I would settle for an open and wounded heart. I want a heart that is overwhelmed again by beauty, gratitude and love. I had a heart like that. I want to be so moved by the amazing things in my life again, not just moved by the sad things. I want tears of joy, not only tears of sorrow and lack.
So, I guess I start pinching myself, forcing myself to feel. Sure pinching is pain, but at least I would feel something. Maybe it would wake me up again to feel the joy in a hug from my children and the awe of seeing the stars again. Maybe the light of the starry night will be able to penetrate my wounded heart to begin to warm it again to the beauty around me. Hopefully, I can stave off the fear that with great love I risk great pain and just begin to feel the love, the beauty and the joy of life again.