Did you ever fall off the monkey bars back in the day, land flat on your back and have that paralyzing moment when you can’t get any air to move in or out of your body? Me too. It was pretty f*ing scary, at the time it was the first sensation I had experienced like that – my eyes got wide, I tried to open my mouth to scream and nothing came out. Total terror.
Well, that’s something like how I felt when I found out my older brother Matt had died — like someone had smacked the life force straight from my lungs, from my entire spirit. It was paralyzing, so say the least. So now, eleven years later to the day, when I feel an echo of that shock, I also witness my patterns in response to those feelings of loss – to want to be “better already”, to want to be “over it”, to think that with all the yoga, meditation, service work, vitimins, green smoothies, trainings, books, amazing friends, counseling, good cries, journaling, exciting travels.. that SOMETHING should have removed this obstacle or made me not have to feel sad this time of year.
In fact, I think all of those things have made me more able to embrace that unexpected WHACK feeling (whack in both senses here;). If I had not done all of the above I would be more tempted to stuff my face, drink, overwork, or fill the void with some other substance or distraction. Instead I’ve been trained to be curious and kind about it – to say to myself, ahhh, I remember this feeling, and to nurture my exhausted emotions rather than play the woulda shoulda game. This week, l’lI cry when I need to, space out a little more, and may seem slower or not quite as peppy to those who know me well. I may or may not talk about why, but I am keenly aware – this is how I used to feel ALL the time, in the years that followed my brothers death. Now I just feel this way once or twice a year. Thank God.
So, my one piece of advice for today. If there is something you think you “should be over”, some emotional loss or some big change you can’t seem to adjust to, give yourself a break, even just for a moment, an hour, for today. Notice all the ways you have endured, moved on, healed, and honor the part of you that grows as well as the part that still grieves. As we mentioned last week, what impacts us tells us what is meaningful to us, and my brother Matt will always be a very essential part of my heart. I’ll take feeling sad a few times a year for the gift of his presence in my life any day.
This one goes out to you, Mattums! Thanks for all the love you’ve brought into my life, I send it back to you each and every day, and make a special point to honor and celebrate your life every 7/10. And to all my brothers & sisters (from another mother & different mister) please – love yourself up this week!