Wednesday, 9 November 2011
I’d been planning to write something else, but was wide awake at 3am thinking about my visit to Godrevy last week and emotions. This is not a post about grief, but about those emotions that we all have. Love, hatred, desire, jealousy, to name but a few of the stronger ones.
Being oversensitive, I’ve always been swallowed up by my emotions. They’ve tended to rule my life, like a greedy dictator, so I always ran from them. When Pip was very ill, and it latterly became clear that he wouldn’t make it, I was terrified, not least because I’d watched my mother endure my father’s death at a similar age.
But after he died, and I wept my way through those early days, I began to realize that grief is not to be feared: it is nature’s way of helping us deal with loss. Instead of running from it, I took a deep breath, as if I was diving underwater, and swam into it. To my surprise, it was much easier to deal with loss head on.
It is so easy to be overwhelmed by these rollercoasters of feelings that we all have. Some are marvellous and catapult us joyously into the air, so we soar like seagulls. Some fill us with a steady, contented glow. Others leave us stranded and gasping on a lonely beach. I see emotions as being like the sea: they need to be respected. If we can befriend our feelings we can enjoy them and make the most of them, instead of being frightened by them.
In my case I write about them. (The happy ones too.) I sing about them. Or, like the wave above, take pictures of them. Others – who are more visual - may paint, draw or sculpt them. Some dance them (though I only tend to do that after too much wine these days). I find the important thing is to do something with them, and remember that life has crap times and much better ones.
Joy often comes suddenly, as it has recently. An unexpected phone call. A spontaneous visit to the beach when the tide’s out and the surf’s up. A clear sunny day. An email from an old friend.
Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed a fleeting feeling - as if I’m sitting on a sun dappled lawn. Or basking in front of a fire. A sensation of inner warmth.
I wondered what it was at first. And then I remembered. It’s little sparks of happiness.