My grandmother died and there are waves of feelings washing over me. My grandma was a woman who spoke her mind. She never bit her tongue. She said what she thought regardless of whether it was right or wrong. She simply said it as she saw it. I loved that about her. She was unlike my mother in so many ways. She dressed beautifully, she didn’t hide, she stepped up. She spoke up. My grandmother didn’t say things to be nice and she didn’t blow smoke up anyone’s ass. She said what she meant and she meant what she said and no one was going to pull one over on her. Period. She was a hot ticket. I hope I have a little bit of her in me.
Her passing makes my being motherless all the more poignant. I have this hole in my heart that even my grandma couldn’t fill completely. But having her in my world made the gap seem less gaping. Ever since she died I keep finding myself dangling in this wide-open space. Asking myself all sorts of questions. Wondering about my past — my grief about being abused, about being un-mothered and about time I missed out on with people I love because being close felt too scary. Without her, I find that I am constantly wondering about my future. Asking myself — am I doing what I want to do with my life? Am I who I want to be in this world? Am I enough? I think so. Maybe. I’m not sure … I’m really not.
But I want to find out. I do. And for me this means not running from feeling sad, angry, confused — it means truly recognizing my feelings and being with them. It feels like blowing bubbles into the open air and trying to catch them on the tip of my finger without popping them. Just letting them gently sit there until they begin to quiver and pop when they’re ready. When they’ve sat there long enough.
Being fully present is hard work, yet it feels like the most important work I need to be doing right now. Figuring out who I am in the world. How I want to be in a relationship with myself. Breaking old habits and finding new ways of experiencing myself. It’s about living in my heart-space more and letting go of being afraid of what I might find when I get deep inside. It’s about being closer to myself and the people I love. Which involves being vulnerable and risking — both of which are super scary. But I can’t really imagine living any other way. I think I’ll miss too much beauty and light if I pop the bubbles without letting them float a while. Without feeling the wide range of feelings that need to be felt. Even the uncomfortable ones. Especially the uncomfortable ones.