Feeling like a different person than I used to be.
Have you ever met an elderly couple who constantly divides their life into before the fire and after the fire? Or the veteran who speaks often of before the war, and after the war? I feel I have a kindred spirit to those people, as I talk about things that happened in my past. My life is forever divided into the person I was before my brother’s untimely death and the person I am now.
In many ways the person I used to be was so much stronger, confident, and sure on the outside. She could stuff her feelings and not show weakness. That person could present a face and not waver. But the person I have become is a person I like a whole lot better. I am kinder, gentler and a great deal more emotional.
My previous definition of strength did not involve emotion. My current definition includes emotion. How do you have a soft heart and be strong? They seem to be almost opposites but they are not. There is strength in facing your vulnerability and showing emotion.
The soft cry of a baby indicates a need. He is hungry or uncomfortable and without the tool of language, he is limited in the ways he can communicate. I think we cry when we are unable to put words to our emotions, much like a baby, but it is not because we are weak. We are simply wordless. We lack the ability to communicate. I found that words are inadequate when it comes to deep sorrow and loss and that is ok. It is ok to have no words. It is ok to simply cry.
So now days, I find my eyes tearing up because I cannot do anything but empathize with a person who is expressing their personal loss. I still pause when I am by myself, and my tears find their own path down my cheek. Slowly they meander as they somehow anoint the emptiness that will never go away. It has been five years and many people say I should be over it but the ache remains. The emptiness remains and tears still flow.
I meet people on the street and as I look in their eyes, I see the sorrow of loss. I feel it in the depth of my soul; their loneliness speaks to my heart. I don’t know if science could verify what I am saying but there is a connection through the eyes that connect s one sorrow suffering soul to another with a glance. Deep sorrow calls to the depths of knowing. It is rarely vocalized because there are no words. There is no way of communicating that connection, only an absolute knowing. I am not alone. I am connected to a bigger group of people.
I didn’t sign up to be a part of the grieving people, the sorrowful people, but I am a member never the less. I cry more, I ache more and I empathize. I am kinder, gentler, and easily broken. I can still choose to bottle up those feelings but I tried that after my Dad’s death and they only waited until my brother’s death to explode out of the shell I had built around them. I choose to have a tender, vulnerable heart that will from this point on be easily broken. I choose to cry when there are no words to express my feelings and I choose to empathize with people who are grieving. If that resolve does not make me strong than strong I will never be.