The older I become, the more I desire to simplify. Most of us live in a very chaotic and complicated world. Even when we’ve been blessed to reside in a small town, or in an area where farms still exist, most still find their lives filled with complexity. The more we fill our lives with machines and technological advances that were originally designed to make our lives and chores easier, the opposite has resulted. Nature abhors a vacuum.
When my son passed on, a void was created; a tenant-less space was formed. Simply by being human, my nature dictates that somehow I must fill that vacuum. It seems to oppose the idea of ‘being still’. This need, however, can make one vulnerable and result in unhealthy choices. It is also an impossibility to fill the void left by my son in my life. Nothing/no one could ever do so. I could vainly make attempts by filling it with work, relationships, traveling, etc…but it’s all entirely fruitless. I have to accept that vacuum. To do otherwise leads to frustration, a $.50 word for anger, and robs me of any peace. The assiduous manner in which I mostly unconsciously attempt to fill that void can result in utter despair, for all attempts to do so shall fail.
There is another ramification I have discovered. I seem almost incapable of Jettisoning. The discarding of anything in my life becomes a metaphor for loss. The loss of anything triggers a spontaneous ‘panic’. When I can’t locate something, a stifling fear immediately presents itself. This opposes any attempts to rid myself of ‘things’.
Yesterday, I went outside to do a few chores in my yard. A neighbor lady was also outside and a conversation ensued. She began to tell me how she was paying someone to clear out some unnecessary items she had been holding on to. She had old bicycles, containers, gadgets, etc., that she no longer had use for and decided to discard them. Her husband had passed away a few years ago and items he had collected over the years were unsuitable for her needs. She appeared to be lightening a burden she had been carrying. I found it interesting and took note of her words when she lightheartedly described it as a ‘spiritual cleansing’.
So, I found myself with an internal battle taking place. On the one hand, I desire to simplify; on the other hand, I have to confront the looming feeling of loss. The warring of the two produces stress. I need to resolve the ambivalent and conflicting emotions before making any decisions so that, hopefully, I choose wisely. I want to avoid any regrets down the road, if possible.
As a bereaved parent, grief is a constant companion. The simplest loss of any sort can unexpectedly re-open Pandora’s Box. Choosing to discard anything to which I once had a degree of attachment results in confronting even a minimal feeling of loss. The acquisition of simplification needs to be more significant and desirable from my perspective than any array of accumulated feelings of loss. I’m discovering that ‘simplifying’ is a very complicated endeavor. There are things that belonged to my son that I will never discard. They are packed away in the corner of an attic and I haven’t opened those boxes in years. They take up space, have no practical use, etc. However, they will remain as long as I live and have any say in the matter. I need to not transfer how I feel about his things, though, unto other things that are completely separate. Grief is complicated. Peeling through the layers is hard work. It’s tentacles wrap themselves around the simplest, or would normally be, things in our lives. Is it any wonder we so often feel so drained?
It becomes necessary to learn to quit striving and let go of some things. Letting go of anything can be frightening when we have already lost so much. Yet, letting go is necessary to simplifying, and simplifying reduces stress permitting peace to take its place. I have to choose to swim upstream and go against the current of this world enveloped in busyness. I have to work harder to make things easier for myself. I have to choose to be a walking contradiction to my natural tendencies which abhor the vacuum. I have to strive to be at peace. I have to yell at my thoughts to be silent. I have to take action to let go in order to find rest and be still.
Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/https://themighty.com/2017/03/the-pain-of-holidays-after-the-loss-of-loved-ones/ ; https://themighty.com/2017/04/what-grief-can-be-like-bereaved-parent/
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