Eudaimonia Tip #8 – Life is about balancing the good with the bad, the happy with the sad.
The last few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions. Foolishly I thought that I could “pack up” my grief and put it on a shelf, but alas I’m still learning about the fickle friend that grief is.
If appropriately addressed grief can be our friend that helps us deal with and express our emotions over our loss, but if left unchecked grief can sneak in unannounced wreaking havoc on our lives. I so desperately wanted to move away from the grief angle the first few posts have centered on and look for more positive material. It wouldn’t be very authentic of me to write only positive posts when life isn’t always positive. Sometimes its necessary to write about the sad or bad to see the positive side of life. Right now, I find that the only thing that I feel motivated to write about is the how grief has gripped me yet again.
The beginning of October started strong, and I was feeling positive on all fronts. There were moments when I thought of Sam, but I didn’t let those moments linger too long. Then it happened, my dear neighbor, Jill texted that she sold her condo. She told me a few weeks prior that she was putting her place on the market, which didn’t jar me at the time since selling a home can take months. To everyone’s surprise, delight and panic her place sold in four days. It went up on a Friday and sold the next Monday. A swell of emotions ran through me as I digested this news. I was initially happy for her as she had been talking about selling/moving for years, but this was so sudden, even for Jill, as she is expected to be moved out by the beginning of December. Next came a tad bit of jealousy as I thought about moving myself. Of course, there was sadness at the loss of my patio-night neighbor and the impromptu pink champagne nights with the bonus of rearranging furniture. While she does not intend to move far, it still won’t be the same without her right next door.
All this is well and good. Typical if you will, but what I wasn’t expecting was how the news of my neighbor moving caused my grief for Sam to come roaring back, slamming me under a giant wave leaving me gasping for breath. It felt as if I was losing him all over again. To make it even worse, the anger that I’ve been carrying around at him is somehow gone, and all I can think about are the good times we shared.
One particular good memory was going to Vintage Market Days (VDM) at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds last year. We took a Friday afternoon off and slowly roamed the buildings filled with up-cycled furniture, cleverly crafted decor, artisan chocolates and then had a light lunch at one of the food trucks. It’s a fun memory I have of us. I miss doing fun fall things, so when I saw that it was coming back this year the last weekend in October, I decided I wanted to go and roam the isles alone.
I woke Friday morning with the determination to go since I had the day off. I wasn’t sure how I would handle this event without Sam, but I felt as if this was something I needed to do. I’m not going to lie, it was sad being there without him, but in the end, it was a good afternoon of seeing what everyone had to offer. There were booths that I knew he would love, like the nautical booth and the plastic 70’s molded lawn decorations. As I passed these by I internally yelled at him for missing out on this years VMD since it was bigger and better than last years.
Needless to say these last few weeks have had several big triggers, but they have taught me to let the good memories in again no matter how painful they may be. As I walk this bridge of acceptance, I am learning that grief has no one single direction. There are all sorts of side roads, trails, and paths we can take, and as we explore these areas of grief, we may be pleasantly surprised at the lessons they can teach. These last few days have shown me that life is about balancing the good with the bad, the happy with the sad. When we hold on to one side only, we are throwing our life out of balance.