For those that know me, either in 3D or on the internet, they know me to be a pretty happy, upbeat person. I am a positive person, the glass is always half full, there is always hope, always a way, always love and understanding and compassion and future. That, in a nutshell, is me.
However, I have an open heart, a heart that is willing and available to receive just about anything that would come our way. So, for me, any emotion, feeling, event, circumstance is heightened and intensified a hundredfold, in terms of the impact it has on me emotionally. Some have called it dramatic, overdramatic, overemotional……I call it, being AVAILABLE. Available to the Universe, and to those around me that come my way or that I seek out. I will NEVER, EVER, speak in a negative sense about my willingness to have my heart be open.
Another however, however. Happiness, joy, pride and love are not the only emotions to which I am susceptible with an open heart. Sadness, sadness is a tough one. I don’t feel sad very often, but when I do, as I previously said, it is intensified one hundredfold. Because it comes from my soul; every emotion which I feel is precipitated by an event, a circumstance, and the feeling is enhanced by the memories that my heart and soul hold within. They come through like flashes of light through a broken, dark window, bringing attention to those precious memories as well as to the current, bad circumstance.
I have not felt much sadness lately; there has been so much happiness and joy around me, that the sadness has not been around. But it found its way to me yesterday. My beloved aunt, my father’s oldest sister, is dying. Ruth. I spent so many summers with her and my grandparents as I was growing up, for a week or two at a time, she always lived with them, lives in their house still…….. she would let me hang out in her room, and I would love exploring the jewelry boxes, her closet, all of the nooks and crannies that there were in her little chamber. It was almost magical. She would always remember my birthday; she would give me things from Avon when she was a representative; she never married and never had children, but she loved me so much, as if I were her own. As we both aged, she has been more quiet, more to herself, but always there when I would call her, always supportive of myself and my family, and absolutely loves our daughter with her whole heart. She is dying and I don’t know how to feel anything but the sadness, the sadness of not having her physically here in my life any longer, soon, I think. The sadness feels like I am swimming in a deep, dark lake, and am a few inches below the surface, using my hands to get to the surface, and seeing the light on the surface, but not being able to get there. I am devastated. I am not ready. I don’t want her to go, I don’t want to anticipate the last time that I will see her alive. I don’t want any of it…….
Sadness, reminding me of the circumstance, but also leading me to other things…….my dad, Ruth is his sister. My dad, wise and handsome and funny and strong…….and an addict. Hard working and proud and caring……and an alcoholic. My dad who I don’t want to anticipate not having physically here anymore, don’t want to consider that each time I see him it might be the last time that I see him alive……..the same fears and sadness and anticipation. The sadness has brought me to this connection, the connection that both of these persons in my life are in danger, their lives are threatened, and in one case, with Ruth, there is a resignation, a readiness, a desire to make things right and prepare. With my dad, it is denial, and anger, and indignation at the insinuation that he should change ANY part of his behavior, be it for his family, his wife, his health, or above all, HIMSELF. He chooses and chooses and chooses, but the choices result in poor breathing, edema, excess weight, and overall rudeness and hostility all found in the bottom of a Jack Daniels bottle. Sad, sad reality of life as he chooses to lead it.
By writing this, I am letting go of two main parts that have kept me back for so long: SHAME, the shame of having an addicted parent, the shame of having battled those very demons for most of my adolescent and adult life, the shame of caring for someone who could not care for himself much of the time. And, I am also letting go of the belief that I can change this situation. I can hide all the booze in my house, I can refuse to purchase it for him, I can express my concern for his health, life and well being, but I CANNOT CHANGE HIM; only me. Which I have done and I am doing, which is part of why I am here.
I see, my eyes are opened, and they are full of tears………….