We have to feel them…
It was a ridiculous time in the morning, 1:25am, and I was sitting wide awake unable to sleep. All night I had had a weird feeling in my stomach but was unable to recognize exactly what it was.
I was in the ‘city’ for work and not being able to sleep in my hotel room, I got swept away watching One Mississippi on Prime Video (thanks to Amazon and Tig Notaro). I started watching the show about a month ago and the depth of vulnerability each character is able to evoke through the camera is extraordinary. I was hooked. However, on this night, there was a particular scene that clearly struck a chord with me…
In a pivotal scene, Sheryl Lee Ralph’s character, Felicia, says “You cannot pretend these things have not happened. We have to feel them FULLY in order to feel anything else…”
It was in that moment that I realized this particular night was the very first night I had spent alone, physically alone, since my daughter, Sophia, passed away exactly 18 months ago. Ever since the night of January 1st, 2017, I have not been alone in my own space, away from the sanctuary of my home, from the people I love, not even once.
And I feel…
Conveniently, I have been trying so hard not feel these past eighteen months. Countless times, I have been told ‘oh, you’re overreacting’, or ‘it’s time to move on’, or ‘you’re too emotional’. Toss in society’s innate inability to have difficult conversations or be comfortable in someone’s grief and you’ve got the perfect recipe for thinking you can’t or shouldn’t feel. Most days I find I am dismissed, invisible, abandoned even, by the people in my life I thought would show up.
I have been medicated, have gone to therapy. I even tried smoking pot to ‘feel’ less; grasping for a moment of euphoric ignorance to drown my sorrow. While medication may necessary and therapy incredibly helpful…
“You cannot pretend these things have not happened. We have to feel them FULLY in order to feel anything else…”
I picked up my phone and began to scroll through videos I have of Sophia and I sat there that night, alone, and I gave myself permission to feel; raw, emotional, deep longing for my daughter.
I realize that part of coping is feeling; and in order for me to be present in my life today, I cannot pretend Sophia didn’t die. In order for me to feel deep love, laughter or seek joy, I also need to feel my grief and sorrow FULLY in order to feel anything else.
And if you’re uncomfortable with that then fuck off. Some of you already have. But for those of you who have been steadfast, tender, true…I am grateful.
I long to feel ‘ok’ and maybe I won’t ever get there. But I certainly won’t stop feeling FULLY in order to appease the masses , and I certainly WILL feel fully to live my grief among the safety and sanctuary of not only those around me, but with those who aren’t.
Beverley Pomeroy is an awarded and highly sought after Community Engagement Strategist, Speaker, Author of Living Grief; The Profound Journey of Ongoing Loss. Beverley’s community service began with a fifteen year career in private health care working for MDS Inc (LifeLabs). This community health care role developed her acumen not only for serving people in need, but also her strength in business management and organizational renewal.