There is a frustrating truth that the longer I ignore the Ache the worse it gets: it feels shameful and wrong. I try to operate like it’s not there but it sabotages me in the smallest moments about the smallest things to keep reminding me of it’s existence. It sees where I am falling short and says “You should be sad about this”.
There are bigger things, too. The loss of a loved one still tugging at my heart: the empty space in this world that once was a life, the silence where there once was a voice. The visceral reminder of her absence in the simplest thing: the missing birthday card in the pile because she’s not there to write it.
There’s the daily reality of parenting a special-needs child: the intensity, the uncertainty, the exhaustion, the loneliness. The grieving over what it would have been had things turned out “normally”, the daily struggle of battling guilt over not being a better parent and not handling numerous situations better. The sadness that nothing is easy and so much thought and planning and energy goes into the most basic daily events.
There’s the pain of a hurting marriage: a weekly commitment to marriage counseling and the daily wondering if there will ever be meaningful connection again. The fear that things won’t get better. The hopelessness of feeling like it’s too much – that there’s too much wrong and there are too many hurdles to overcome. The ache of wondering how to reach out, be vulnerable, not fear being hurt.
The sadness and fear that I’m incapable of maintaining meaningful friendships. The Ache makes me want to hide. Being overwhelmed causes me to shut down and I am barely even conscious of the relationships that are most important to hold on to.
There is more to the story than this terrible Ache, I know. It is not bad, it is not shameful, it just is. And it’s OK. There is beauty in it. My challenge to myself is to not run from it, not be ashamed of it, and let it have it’s space so that it doesn’t take over and overwhelm every part of me. It’s hard not to feel so alone in all of this.