Thank you for holding my sadness

Many years ago, during a period of despair in my life, crying uncontrollably on the floor of my kitchen, alone, I telephoned my older brother in New York. I wanted someone to take the pain away. To say something that would fix it.

He listened as I sobbed. Consoling me, time from time, with the usual platitudes people say at moments like that. But as he listened and five minutes turned into ten, and ten into twenty, and on until an hour had passed, the uncontrollable sobs lessened. The tears that had covered my face mixed with the snot running from my nose had been wiped clean. I was able to speak more clearly and calmly. My breathing softened.

He spoke.

“I can’t take your pain away. No one can. You have to walk through it. I’m here to walk with you. I’m here to witness your sorrow. I love you and I can hold your sadness for a little while.”

Those words have always stayed with me. I have passed them on to others in their times of despair. And I have asked others to be witness to my pain.

Just yesterday I asked it of a dear friend. It doesn’t take it away. But I am now not so alone with it.

So friend. Thank you for holding my sadness.

I just wanted to say

The last three years have been both a sorrow and a joy. My marriage ending, and with it the promise of forever, has been the sorrow. The fear was, I had taken something away from the people I loved most, that I had failed. With this sense of failure came anger and resentment. Two emotions that want to devour all that is good and noble in us. I didn’t want to heal myself, to move on, to grieve. I wanted to wallow in it. My ego was threatened and needed to be proved right. I allowed something beautiful to slip through my fingers.

The joy has been to see all three of us, Stella, Lindsay, and I begin to grow, in small ways and large, that have transformed that promise of forever. I have begun to grieve the loss of something I held dear, and with grieving, the clouds are parting. Exposing my ego to light has stopped the festering of not only the wound of this failure, but, hopefully, old wounds that have caused harm to many relationships.

The constellation of “We Three” spinning through the cosmos still exists. It has merely changed into something different. Something bigger. Other stars have, and will, join its orbit. The dance will continue with a new promise. The marriage may have ended, but that hasn’t changed the love that we give Stella or our ability to nurture her.

There is a center to this new constellation.

Stella.

Her light will always shine brighter than all the others.

This past summer has seen a burst of growth for her. She has become more confident emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Curiosity abounds and compassion flourishes. Mornings start with a smile and she walks with joy throughout the day.

“Dad.”

“Yes, sweet.”

“I just wanted to say I love you.”

This simple dialogue which occurs daily, at such random moments, is a constant reminder of the light that is within her and her ability to be in the moment, recognize it and express her delight in the purest way.

I’ve also experienced some growth this past summer. I’m learning to let go of resentment and shame through compassion and self care. Stella is showing me how to walk with joy and to allow myself to be in the world again. To embrace the moment with a sense of wonder and delight.

To all the stars in my constellation,

big and small,

near and far,

old and new,

“I just wanted to say I love you.”