Sunday, September 13, 2020
I learned a long time ago that in the midst of hard misery I always catch glimpses of neat stuff and profound beauty. I recall during must-pass training and actual rescue evolutions recognizing the wonder and beauty of actually being in the open ocean while at the same time being hammered physically, mentally, and emotionally. Experiences are never just one thing, they are a mix of many things. Hard experiences are livin' in top gear. Somehow it seems, at least in my experience, that the harder the situation the deeper and more profound is the beauty and wonder attending it.
I turn away from the beauty and wonder only at my very great peril. Embracing the awful and wallowing in self-pity will kill my soul in very short order, and I know from experience that a soulless Shaun is a monster.
The manifold writings on grief I've perused all agree; smashing sorrow comes when you least expect it, is almost too hard to bear, and must simply be endured.
This week has been like that. Not just for me, but for the entire family. I can't help but wonder why. Why all of us, and why at this particular time. I don't spend a lot of time wondering though, it's a question which cannot ever be answered. Speculation is just speculation.
In the midst of crushing sorrow though, there is much, much beauty and wonder.
On Thursday at nap time the little ones wanted to nap on the floor and they wanted me to nap with them. There are times when they need the discipline of, "no, just lay down, close your eyes, and go to sleep." There are times like yesterday when they need close contact and patience and enveloping love.
Laying on the floor with two little ones snuggled up next to me, relaxing and giving in to the need for rejuvenating sleep, was an experience too big and important for mere words to describe. It was a time filled with love and peacefulness battling sorrow and loss. It was exactly what we were supposed to be doing.
Later, in the evening, the littlest was having a monumental struggle with her emotions. Standing at my feet and screaming in rage and fear and loss. I knew exactly how she felt, for inside I, too, was screaming in rage and fear and loss.
Eventually it was time for a two-minute time out. I picked her up, sat on the couch with her in my lap, and held on while she wriggled, screamed, and cried. In a low voice I told her it was okay, that I felt the same way, that it was okay, that it was okay, that it was okay. Okay to let the emotions flow out. Okay to wriggle and struggle. Okay to not behave perfectly. Okay to be herself.
Nearing the two-minute mark, magic. A last shuddering howl, then she relaxed, turned into my chest, and snuggled.
These little ones are complete human beings. They aren't cute, animated toys, and they aren't "just kids." They know what death is. They know that Mommy is dead and will never come back. And just like me, they are working through this enormous thing as best they can. But they are only two and four. They need to know in their hearts that they are safe and loved and that they can melt down and still be completely safe and completely loved.
We're all making progress. We're enduring and learning and growing day by day.
Sometimes the little one likes to sit on my lap and watch "songs" on my phone. She likes a lot of songs. The other day we watched a couple of her favorite songs which had been turned into navy cruise videos by a couple of VAW squadrons; the Sun Kings and the Black Eagles.
Send Me On My Way...
She really enjoyed the mix of people and ships and airplanes and music. Pure magic.
On 9/11 we spent zero time remembering the attacks. We were busy. And only a couple of us grownups were old enough to recall the events of September 11, 2001 from an adult perspective.
Life goes on, an it's important to live it day by day properly. Especially for and with the little ones.
This post is all over the place because I'm all over the place.
Last night I had two very interesting dreams. One featured Rebecca. In the beginning she was as she was back then, then she morphed int the Rebecca of today. In the dream she urged me to give up the guilt I still feel for treating her badly. It's a message she's given me in real life many times over the last few months. That was interesting.
Then Allie came into the room and stood there smiling down at me with that special smile she used to explode my heart with love and joy. She didn't say anything, she just smiled.
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.