October came last year and with it, a flurry of activities. One being my trip to Albuquerque to visit my BFF. We met our second year of college. Both part of the National Student Exchange, we were only supposed to stay in Albuquerque a year. Well, we both decided to stay longer: me for another year and a half, and she permanently. Since coming back to the Midwest, I miss the high desert. Particularly, I miss the fall with the scent of roasted chile or pinon burning in the air, the sunshine bringing a cold morning to toasty, and the vibrant color of the sky.
My BFF has a lot going on with her job and her family. She is an only child with parents that are like children, so it can be isolating for her. We are very similar and have a tendency to put on armor unconsciously. My job then is to be the sister she never had, listening, advising, giving some love. I guess I needed some nurturing too, so in an effort to help both of us relax, we indulged in a massage at Ten Thousand Waves in Santa Fe. It wasn’t until the masseuse was digging out a knot in my hip, that I remembered how connected our bodies and emotions are. My realization coming in the form of tears soaking, thankfully, into the head rest linens. As we were wrapping up the session, the masseuse said something along the lines of, “Only take what you need with you. Leave behind the rest.” Typically something like this elicits a smirk from me and muttered “Yeah, right.” But, this time I said I would try and I meant it. The next day, felt like a brand new day. And so have the days since. What I realized is I was holding on to past hurts, maybe beyond the loss of Jordan but certainly encompassing that. I was starting to grow bitter and that was dragging me down.
Bitterness is tricky, particularly with regards to grief. When we are in the midst of grieving, we are allowed to tread down the path of bitterness. We miss our loved ones, we are going to be angry about it. I actually didn’t think I was going down that path myself. I though I was focused on the fact that my son is among the Saints. And sometimes I was, but still bitterness insinuated itself. I can see it more clearly now. The underlying anger at the world was a weight. It came out by my withdrawing from the world or maybe lashing out at my husband. By letting go of that anger, I can still miss my son, but it feels different now. If I think about his smile or the connection we shared, I still cry but I don’t feel like closing the drapes or avoiding others. As the days have passed since my revelation, I can feel bitterness try to worm its way back in, but at least now I’m aware of it. I hope that as we take steps to have more kids, I can hold on to this lightness.