grief · love · Spiritual

I am Empty of You

Sean McGrath/flickr

“In French, you don’t really say ‘I miss you.’ You say ‘tu me manques,’ which is closer to ‘you are missing from me.’ I love that.’You are missing from me.’ You are a part of me, you are essential to my being. You are like a limb, or an organ, or blood. I cannot function without you.”  ~ Unknown

When I say that I miss you, what I really mean is that your face wakes me from a dark place, your comforting familiarity dissolving in dawn mist like drifting smoke.

That life rushes in to replace my dreams as you slip away from me once more. I grasp for you with arms that will never quite reach you again.

I am empty of you.

I mean that I rise, wondering if you have woken too, and if you are drinking tea in golden sunlight, making plans as I am. I question if you slept all night or whether you tossed and turned, tormented by memories. Did you think of me when you woke? Did you push your unruly hair out of sleep-heavy eyes or leave it in a kissable tangle for someone else’s lips to explore?

When I say that I miss you, I mean that you are a beautiful puzzle piece, carved out of my soul, your intricate pattern forming part of my life picture. There is a space that always longs for you, that can never be filled if you are not here to gently love me.

It means that I yearn for what we were, how we were, the endless possibilities of us. I miss comforting your anxieties, sharing mine; tackling them together, side-by-side. I miss knowing what excites you today, what exquisite morsel of learning has found you and motivated you to try something new.  I miss the way you brought me your dreams and your dramas and how I loved you endlessly through both.

When I say I miss you, what I actually mean is, I long for the tender way you say my name and the way yours tastes in my mouth. The way you steal my tears away with soft lips, like the nectar of a goddess. I mean that when my eyes scan the surging crowd, I look for you. I hear your laughter pulsing just around the corner, always a step away.

I mean that I will eternally search for you in the magic of books, in beautiful lyrics & in the kind eyes of innocent souls.

Now you are just a polite stranger with memories sealed firmly away. Our easy discussions, our deepest thoughts flowing molten like lava, are replaced by artificial small talk, meaning nothing. The fire, the freedom, the intensity-all gone. Triviality has never been- and can never be—our story.

It was all a dream.

The cold silver face of the moon brings me hope, a celestial divinity that dances for us both across a diamond studded sky. Wherever you are now, I know you worship her too and I hold to that. I send her silent messages and imagine that they glide back to you on radiant moonbeams. Perhaps they do.

I am weary from dancing alone with the ghost of you. It’s time to change the song, to release you from my loving arms. It’s time for me to dance on without you. It is easier now.

I remember that I don’t know you, not anymore.
I remember how it felt to be inside your head
And I sometimes wonder
If you miss being in mine.

Originally published on Elephant Journal here.

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grief · love · Spiritual

Escaping the Guilt Prison.

Hartwig HKD/flickr

The heavy smog of guilt surrounds me…slowly, silently.

It suffocates my joy as I struggle to break free from the strangling noose it tightens around my throat. It’s hard to fight a ghost. It’s dark shape changes when I manage to catch hold of it, and it twists and turns in my desperate hands.

I can’t breathe.

Guilt destroys me gently. Sometimes I forget about its pain, the hot dull throbbing in the pit of my stomach. It lurks on the borders of my sanity, watching for a chance to whisper sweet poison into my tortured ears. My worst nightmares are brought to life as it torments me with all the things my heart dreads.

You are a terrible person.
You don’t deserve to be happy.
No one could love you.

I believed it.

I have done things, said things, been things that I am not proud of. I have hurt people I adore. I think we all have. Life happens. Grief happens. I have been selfish in the face of my own heartache. I struggle to let go of the pain I have caused, long after the wronged party has forgiven and forgotten. They still haunt me.

I wake from sleep with nightmares ringing in my ears, sweat drenching my wracked body as scenes from the past play over and over, an old horror movie, crackling in black and white. I realise that I cannot keep punishing myself this way. I cannot change the past, no matter how much I may want to, and so, tormenting myself does not serve my pursuit for peace. Guilt is a prison, and we must allow ourselves to escape in order to move onto the life that we deserve.

I decide it is time to let go. It is a process, and I am finally ready to begin.

During some self-work recently, something stayed with me: Good people feel guilty. The fact that I even have remorse says something about me as a person. It reminds me that when my actions are incongruent with my values or expectations of myself, it hurts me, and I ache to make it right. I acknowledge to myself what I have done and I own it. Many can’t, or won’t, yet it’s impossible to find peace with something unless you first accept its truth. Denial and defence are dire companions on the road to self-forgiveness.

After acknowledgement comes mitigation. How might I make amends? Perhaps this is an authentic apology to another. Perhaps not. The sad reality is that the one that I am cruellest to rarely gets an apology from my sorrowful lips. Heaven knows that they deserve one after all these years.

That person is me.

I might decide to take physical action to rectify my wrong. Or, I may just create an intention to never act that way again. Only you can know what feels true for you. But regardless of which I decide is right, I let that action soothe me. I allow it to propel me into a future where I always remember, but no longer berate myself for what I cannot alter.

Guilt is an opportunity. It is a gift. It is a chance to learn who I am in the silence of my own mind. A chance to be accountable for wrongs I have done and to stop beating myself up for them, choosing instead to learn from them. Grow from them. I allow it to shape me into the person I want to be. A person I can be proud of. A person looking forward to a bright future. If I look back, I am lost.

I will still mess up of course. And I will still feel the pain that comes with that. I am only human after all. My flaws and my reactions are what make me unique. My dark is a mirror to my light and it is my light that drives me ever onwards in the knowledge of my one truth: I am a good person.

When it is my time to die I will look back on my mistakes, but I shall hold no regrets. I will offer myself the same compassion that I give to others so willingly; I will forgive myself.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

Photo: Hartwig HKD/flickr

Originally published on Elephant Journal here.