The Swamp

Swamps are daunting, sluggish, cumbersome, and take extreme effort to traverse.
Very similar to living through the death of a loved one.
Your feet feel like lead. And the exertion it takes to traverse the distance, is like carrying an unwieldly one hundred pound sack of rocks in your arms. Your back hurts and you want to just give up….
However, there is light at the end of this swampiness of living.
But you have to cross the swamp first, before you can get to that place of acceptance. And as I wrote in the last entry, it is like a slap in the face. Each time you come to the emotional luggage you unknowingly carry – it hits you between the eyes. There is no way around it. And if you think you are successful in skirting the issue, believe me, it is guaranteed – it will visit you again. And again. And again. That emotional ‘luggage’.

I have to share that I do not call it baggage because to me baggage is a negative term when referencing life experiences. Luggage on the other hand, connotates a different meaning. More ‘do-able’ and more life giving. As in traveling, so, life is a journey.

Not long ago, I was ready to share with close family that I was moving on with my life. It was a time of hesitancy, and anxiety. But I didn’t realize to what extent, until it was past. There was this overwhelming feeling of sadness…this struggle with something I couldn’t put my finger on. And then it was pointed out to me that it may indeed be my processing ‘yet another step’ in this luggage of grief. It was so unexpected, I had no idea. But it was so clear to me when it was pointed out.
Of course!

So this is where the shoe drops. The second one.
The first, being when a beloved’s illness is identified and the undeniable and very possible impending loss is unspoken of, yet so very present. The second shoe….is our ‘re-entry’ into the world. Actually maybe it is more like the ‘third’. The second being when they cross over.
This one – the third one – is more like a free ticket to denial and and obliviousness, because of the other elements that come into play. So maybe it really is that third shoe. The one that doesn’t fit, feels awkward, and is not easy to carry. It is evident that you are toting that third shoe – with the children, siblings and ‘in-laws’ of your beloved, parents of the beloved, friends of the beloved – to name just a few. All are people who are grieving as well – the loss of your beloved.

And here we are. It was hoped this day would come. But there was NO idea it would be this complex. Introducing children, siblings, in-laws, parents, and friends – to “the replacement”.
That is how they see it. However that is not how you see it. You know there will never be a ‘replacement’ of your beloved. Even though you are not ready to ‘give up’ on living.
Ahhhhh!!!! As I write this I am reminded of something a very wise woman referenced earlier this year….about a pair of shoes. Actually this is more accurate. It is not about ‘a’ shoe. It is about a ‘pair’ of shoes.
Here is my correction.
You have found the third pair of shoes. The first pair being yours. The second pair being your beloveds, and the third pair…..that replacement pair – for the second pair.

As I said, you want to ‘live’. So you try. It is like crossing a new threshold for you. For indeed it is a new chapter. And you want to be happy again.
For some, it is more comfortable to exist without the third pair. I understand that. But there are some who are indeed blessed with another beloved. Not all. Some are perfectly happy without the third pair. And either chapter is perfect for what you or I need or are given in this life.

….Slowly and unpredictably, the third pair of shoes enters your life, and that first pair of shoes (your own) does not seem to fit so well. It is like that pair of boots that takes you heavily drudging through…the swamp. They are uncomfortable, yet necessary. And you know you need to mire through the swamp with them on to get to the other side. Because they are required. To protect…you. Taking you to that place that holds a new happiness, newfound love and care, and is embracing of who you are. Along with that comes new found interests, while knowing and recognizing life will never ever be the same, yet it is time to live again.
But that doesn’t mean it will be easy! I know that to be true.
So, I leave you with this thought.
Be strong. Be brave.
For no one knows what you need in this next chapter, any better than you do. Listen to you. Pay attention to what makes you happy. And be gentle to the needs and knowledge that you bring forward, as you traverse the swamp. For on the other side? Is a richness no one else can identify, besides you – and your beloved. Both your first beloved, and your second beloved. Because it is possible. To find….another beloved.

Living fully – carving a life,

Michelle

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