The tears rolling down my cheeks turned into convulsions that I could not control. My chest was heaving in short, labored moves as if I couldn’t catch my breath. My throat had a block in it the size of an apple, or that is how it felt. My shoulders were tight and my head hurt from the pressure. I could not stop. I was sobbing uncontrollably. This went on and on for what felt like hours. I would then calm down, curse at someone who was not in front of me and feel strong again. A few minutes later something else would hit me and I would start again. I would cry and ask the universe for my mommy. I would cry and curse at someone who I felt wronged me. I would cry and belittle myself. The fear all was coming up. The fear of being alone again. The fear of losing mom and dad being elderly. The fear of not being loved. The fear of not being able to build the business I want and need. The fear of not being good enough, The fear of being unimportant in the world. Oh the fears! I didn’t expect all that was hitting me, the feel of waves of an ocean just coming over me, one after the other.
The trip was planned as a way to decompress from 33 years in corporate America, gain some clarity and perhaps see some friends or family. It was planned as a trip alone, allowing for flexibility so no flights, no schedule, no promises to anyone that they would get to see me. It was what I thought I needed to move forward, a little rest and relaxation.
The two day drive was wonderfully uplifting and reminded me, as you read last week, of wonderful family memories. I got to see a little of Charleston, South Carolina, a city I have never been to and I vow to be back soon. The time in the car was therapeutic. Exactly what I thought I needed, and all I thought it would be. This was the time to think and I thought a lot. I talked out issues, I sang at the top of my lungs. Thank goodness I was alone for that! I was healing all my wounds, or so I thought
My first morning in Naples Florida was uneventful. I decided to run out to Dunkin Donuts that morning and then to Walmart to pick up some food for the week. I went to the pool and I relaxed. As I relaxed and let the warm air take over my body, I heard the music that was being played at the pool. Much of the music was classic rock, but more 80’s than anything and a few songs struck a cord in me. I could feel the tears begin to swell and then fall down my cheeks. The emotion surprised me. I pulled my book out to distract me. The book, Judgement Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein, has really forced me to see where I judge people and myself and how I hold some in judgement instead of in love and light. It has been a humbling experience to realize where my judgements are held, about myself and a few others. I opened the book where I left off. It had been a few days since I had read the book. As I read the first paragraph, the tears were flowing down my face. I was reading about the cycle of anger that I have imparted on one person. I realized that I had harshly judged them and their behavior toward me, versus holding them in a place of love and trying to understand. And this was the first step to really feeling, so I could heal.
The grief that I felt over the last few days was a surprise to me. I thought that since I know you have to feel things to heal them, that I had felt everything that was going on. I was wrong. Given I have been busy with Dad and the wind down of my of career, I wasn’t feeling all of the loss. This trip created the opportunity to feel the loss. I had no distractions. The loss of mom. The loss of my career. The loss of a friendship. The losses are huge. I hadn’t felt them. Being here, I had nothing to stop me, no person, no busy work, nothing. All I could do is feel. And I felt everything.
I decided that I really didn’t want to see anyone, I wanted to remain anonymous in Naples, not talking to a soul. But I have a friend who would not give up on me. She badgered me until I said I would come to visit her. I didn’t want her to visit me, I needed control over when this visit would be over. I also knew that the drive would force me to stop wallowing in my own grief and begin the process of healing. So I drove across the state to see her. The drive did wonders. I began to think more clearly and realize some of the losses, and grievances were issues I could handle. I gained clarity on what I was fearful of, and spending the time with her helped me to see that the fear was about expectations.
She helped me to process some of the loss, she too had recently lost her mom and changed careers. We helped each other process things that were taking their toll on both of us. And we laughed. We took a walk on the beach and enjoyed the sunshine, the sound and smell of the surf and the ground were healing to us both,
I came back that evening refreshed, feeling a bit more positive and starting the process of healing. As I sat at the pool the next day, a yellow butterfly flew by my head. Yellow butterflies have a very special meaning for me. They have been signs of positive results, and positive moves for me for a while. They generally mean the path is right for me. I felt a sense of relief when I saw it and relaxed a bit more.
That evening I spent a few hours in down town Naples. I walked in and out of shops and galleries. One gallery was all glass art, beautiful and whimsical art. As I was ready to leave the shop, I peered into the glass case and was struck by the glass yellow butterfly. There wasn’t a question, I was buying it.
I smiled as I left the shop and realized that I had begun to heal. I was beginning to move forward and out of the muck of grief that had paralyzed me for a few days. Although I know that grief will take longer to heal than a few days, these days have forced me to move forward from some of the loss and my yellow butterfly gave me the hope that my path is clearer and right.
From the depths of grief, I am beginning to climb up and out of the muck.