Death. Renewal. Catharsis

by Kelly on January 30, 2010 · 19 comments

in Life. People. News, Parenting. Relationships

death-renewal-catharsisIn 2009 I got old.

And it wasn’t because I turned 38.

For the first time in my life I felt old. Powerless to create the life I wanted. Fearful for the future. All too conscious of human suffering.

I wondered if my best years were behind me. I questioned my faith in “everything happens for a reason” and it will “all work out in the end”.

I’ve been clinically depressed before, but this was different. It was like the world shook and an avalanche of woe came crashing down around me. It wasn’t on top of me, I was okay, but I couldn’t see or breathe through the confusion, unexpected change, and unbearable loss and worry.

In 2009, life took me off course and I couldn’t find a way back to myself.

My Year in Review


MusicMan and I almost got divorced, only salvaging our relationship with much determination, communication, abundant tears and months of marriage counselling.

An opportunity arose to heal some old wounds with a family member. Taking this path has been promising, disappointing and deeply unsettling. The landscape of my life has changed, though I have no idea if it is permanent or what it means. Questions have been answered. New ones have arisen. If I still sound confused by it all, that’s because I am.

One of my closest friends had serious health problems, the kind that require an operation and major life changes. She battled though this amidst depression and the breakdown of her marriage. I agonized for her, but I didn’t need to. She’s soldiered through to reclaim her life. I stand in awe of her and hope she realises just how amazing she is.

My best friend’s baby was stillborn. The devastation for her and her husband cannot be put into words. Not by me. It was not my loss. But I know I speak for our close knit group of friends when I say this tragedy crushed us all. We grieve for her. We grieve for the child we eagerly anticipated, but will never know. We grieve for a life that did not have a chance to blossom and grow. I have railed at a world where this can happen, at a God who makes good people suffer so. None of this changes the indisputable truth that someone I love with all my heart will never be the same again.

And…

MusicMan and I celebrated the renewal of our marriage and our family’s future by falling pregnant, only to discover at my 12 week scan that I’d had a missed miscarriage. My body hadn’t registered the loss yet, but my baby’s heartbeat had stopped the week before. It was an enormous shock. We weren’t at all prepared, having thought that by 12 weeks we had reached some level of safety.

The miscarriage only happened in November, so I’m still working my way through the grieving process. I feel robbed, scared, angry, lost. Questioning my choices, fearful of what this means for my life. I wonder why this had to happen when it took years for us to find a way back to each other so we could extend our family. I wonder if it means I will never have another child. If I am too old. If I should just give up and be grateful for the amazing child I have. Then the guilt sets in. What right do I have to ask for another child when my best friend has none? What does my suffering matter in the face of her pain, her loss? It’s a vicious cycle and every day I try to move a little bit forward, to keep the hope alive without becoming desperate. I don’t want my desire for another child to become all consuming.

What will be, will be.

The Fallout

No single event flattened me, but together they created enough pressure so I was slowly sagging into myself. Giving up. My dreams, goals, they all started to drift away. Leaving me with the feeling that I had slid past the peak of my life and into decline without noticing.

I became preoccupied with my mortality. Driving out of the garage, I would think, “I could die today. Any of us could”. I began to worry about my looks. About aging. I started searching the planes of my face in the mirror, noticing changes, chalking up flaws.

This was a new experience for me. The emergence of a fear I have never understood in others. I have always been told I looked years younger than my actual age. It was a nice compliment, but not one I thought much about. I mostly put it down to my girlish freckles, ongoing aversion to make-up and primping, and my natural exuberance.

I don’t feel exuberant these days. And definitely not young and invincible. Now I study the frown lines digging trenches between my eyebrows. Pigmentation changes that threaten to overtake the freckles. I have stopped working out and put on 7kg (15lbs), choosing a bottle of wine and a consoling piece of chocolate cake over my health. Some of my friends are getting botox. I wonder what it could do for me. Can they inject the spark of life back into me?

I waste hours being a person of regret. Lamenting my teens when I would slather myself in copha to get the perfect tan. Mourning my time in Mexico and Central America, where I lay free and boneless in ecstacy on white sand beaches. High on the unrelenting confidence of youth. Drinking my days away and dreaming of rainbows of tomorrow.

Those days seem so long ago now. Like they were from another person’s life. One who believed in one big adventure after another. Who always looked forward with naive, unsinkable optimism. That person isn’t me.

So, this is why I haven’t been blogging. Not because I haven’t wanted to connect with you all. Not because I’ve been wallowing on the floor depressed either. But I can’t write my pain and worry away by dissecting it on the page and sharing it with the world. Sometimes you must retreat, grow into new strengths, unravel your confusion, find the convoluted truth quietly, without an audience.

I have made it through 2009 with my family together, my health intact, friends close to my heart, my writing on a roll and a home that gives me peace. My life isn’t perfect. There’s still a weight of sadness atop my shoulders, but that’s okay.

It’s a new day. The sun is out. Anything could happen.

Kelly

Flickr photo c0urtesy of Voyageur Solitaire-mladjenovic_n

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Myra 01.30.10 at 3:19 pm

Wow - you are an amazing woman - and very courageous to bare your soul to the world. I wish you a 2010 filled with satisfaction and fulfillment. I have faith that you can make it happen and I’m pretty sure getting through the last year would have given you more strength than you would have thought possible. Look at it this way - YOU SURVIVED - now its time to thrive xoxo

2 Lance 01.30.10 at 8:43 pm

Kelly,
Sending hugs your way. You are a beautiful person. Deeply beautiful. That’s what I have always drawn from my visits here, and that is what I feel today. You share so openly and courageously. I see your soul here today, and from that I see an amazing woman.

And just know that I am here, and that you matter to me.

Love and peace,
Lance
Lance´s last blog ..Sweet Sixteen My ComLuv Profile

3 Betsy Wuebker 01.30.10 at 9:23 pm

Hi Kelly - You’ve put tears in my eyes. I was so glad to see you pop up in my reader, and I am so sorry for all the loss and pain you’ve described. You’re a beautiful soul and a wonderful writer. The innate wisdom you have shines through in this piece, and you, too, will soldier on.
Betsy Wuebker´s last blog ..What Goes Around, Comes Around My ComLuv Profile

4 LisaNewton 01.31.10 at 12:56 am

You have an inner strength that deeply shows through your words. I feel stronger just having read them.
LisaNewton´s last blog ..10 Essential items you’ll need for an Emergency Kit My ComLuv Profile

5 Sami 01.31.10 at 7:33 am

Kel, I’m sending you a giant bear hug. Whilst it’s a year you’d rather forget, you have much courage, tenacity and strength for getting through it. I truly hope you come out of the fog this year and find contentment and peace. Take care of yourself.
Sami´s last blog ..The Definitive Guide to Being An Aussie My ComLuv Profile

6 Kelly 01.31.10 at 10:33 am

@Myra
Oh, you’re a darling. Thanks for your support. I’m certainly not the only strong woman in the family. One thing you can say about our mothers is they taught us to always get back up when life knocks you down.

It was so good to see you last weekend. Counting down till March now.

Kel x

7 Kelly 01.31.10 at 10:39 am

@Lance
Thank you so much for your sweet words. It brings me comfort to know the same people I started my blogging journey with years ago are still here sharing a little piece of their world and their heart with me. xx

@Betsy
The ego driven writer in me is happy I put tears in your eyes. LOL. It’s always satisfying when the right words come. And I feel very glad to be back in your reader. I’ve wanted to write something here for so long that shared where I was at, but I just wasn’t ready until now.

Kelly

8 Kelly 01.31.10 at 10:46 am

@LisaNewton
Thank you. I believe strength and personal truth should be shared. It enlightens and builds us all up.

@Sami
It’s true a hard year does have benefits. I definitely grew up a lot in 2009 and have a clearer perspective on what’s important to me. Some of the other areas of growth and change I’ll share in a post soon.

Kelly

9 Evelyn Lim 01.31.10 at 11:04 am

Oh gosh, Kelly! It really does seem that there is a lot to take in lately for you. I am glad that you realize that there are bright sparks like experiencing a renewal in your marriage and your son.

Yes, aging is inevitable. But at 38, there is still so much more that you can do and left to do. Ok granted, no one can tell when is the final day. But let’s just assume that you do live like an average person.

From the moment, we are born….we are already aging. I know it sounds pretty morbid but it’s just a fact of life. But suffering is what we make of our pain. We can choose to experience suffering or see pain as simply what it-is. In that seeing, as I’ve been told, the illusion of suffering disappears.

Let me know if I can be of any assistance to you. May you heal and grow in love and strength from a most challenging period.

Hugs,
Evelyn
Evelyn Lim´s last blog ..Attitude of Gratitude versus Appreciation My ComLuv Profile

10 vered 01.31.10 at 12:50 pm

I am so sorry about your miscarriage, Kelly.

“It’s a new day. The sun is out. Anything could happen.” - I was so happy to read that. It looks as if 2010 is going to be a comeback year for you. We were still connecting on my blog, but I’m looking forward to connecting here.

Love
Vered

11 Rozzen 02.01.10 at 11:44 am

Last year was where you were suppose to be the journey I grant you was rocky ,hard ,frustrated and emotional .Look where you are now because you experienced all those things you have come out the other side and when you are ready again the path of knowledge will whisk you away again .That is our life that is what living is all about.We are in this planet to learn to do our journey and you are doing a marvelous job of doing just that.Going with the flow as they say is definately better than swimming up stream.We might have to swim ashore and sit some times but when we are ready we jump in and off we go again .Life is wonderful full of learning and excitement waiting at every corner.Your truly are a wonderful daughter and I am so very proud of where you are going and who you have become.
Love mum
Rozzen´s last blog ..Festive Time My ComLuv Profile

12 Donna 02.01.10 at 12:52 pm

Hi Kel,
there are so many flippant comments that can be made regarding coming through a horrendous experience but the truth is really very boring.
Sometimes life is hard and there are no easy answers or short cuts to get through the tests sent our way.
You have faced what needed to be faced and done it well. You know you are loved and supported and I hope that has assisted you along the way.
Like your cousin and your mother I am so proud of your honesty and I believe that writing this post will be cathartic and hopefully assit you on keeping on moving forward.
I believe this year will be very different and it has already started wonderfully, give yourself the time you need to heal.
It is not long until we see you again and we are all looking forward to that.

Love
Donna

13 Shelly 02.02.10 at 10:22 pm

LOTS & LOTS of tears reading this.
Let’s hope 2010 is a year with less tears of sorrow and more tears of joy and happiness.
Love you xxxx

14 Kelly 02.05.10 at 4:32 pm

Thanks for the lovely comments my dear friends and family. I appreciate the support and will return with a new post next week.

Kelly x

15 e.lee 02.07.10 at 6:34 pm

You have never met me, but I’m commenting to say ‘Don’t give up’
You won’t of course, because you don;t know how to
e.lee´s last blog ..Eat and Drink Write My ComLuv Profile

16 Kelly 02.09.10 at 9:26 am

@e.lee
Thank you for being so sweet and positive. And thinking about it, you’re right. I don’t know how to give up, so I guess everything has to turn out in the end.

Kelly

17 Jenny Mannion 02.09.10 at 9:54 am

Hi Kel,

I am so sorry for your loss and for all the trials you have faced over the last year. I am very happy to hear that you and musicman have made it through it TOGETHER. I know it is hard to “look at the bright side” when so much has gone wrong. I also know it is SO VERY IMPORTANT to honor each and every emotion and not just try to bury them. You have been processing a lot and you needed the time to do just that.

This is a new year Kel and I certainly wish you lots of happiness and joy. Sending you big hugs.
Love, Jenny
Jenny Mannion´s last blog ..Past Lives – What do They have to do with Healing? My ComLuv Profile

18 KRISHNA PAUL 02.23.10 at 7:11 am

LIFE’S  LIKE THAT - JUST WHEN YOUR GETTING UP,IT GET’S YA DOWN AND THIS CAN BE A REAL BITCH !!
THE TRULY SENSITIVE MOVE THROUGH CYCLES OF UPWARD AND DOWNWARD CYCLES AND THIS BECOMES EVEN MORE DRAMATIC WHEN THE DAY THROWS A CLANGER AT YOU,SHATTERING YOUR SENSIBILITIES AND THROWING ONE’S LIFE INTO EMMOTIONAL TURMOIL AND QUESTIONING ONE’S PLACE WITHIN IT ALL ….. THIS IS THE STUFF OF LIFE …
FOR MANY YEARS MY LIFE WAS CONTINUALLY LIKE THIS , THEN ONE DAY I FOUND MY PERFECT OPENING SENTENCE AND IT GOES LIKE THIS …..
“” I COULD NOT HANDLE YOU ANY MORE - LIFE … SO I WALKED AWAY AND WENT INSIDE OF ME AND FOUND MY OWN LIFE , WHICH I HAD NEGLECTED FOR SO LONG AND I LEARNED TO LOVE AND NOURISH MYSELF .. “”
I LOVE YOU LIKE MY OWN SWEET DAUGHTER EM , KELLY COS YOU ARE A FREE SPIRIT AND HAVE YOUR OWN MIND AND THIS IS A PERILOUS THING TO OWN IN THIS BLAND GREY WORLD OF THE CONSENSUS STATUS QUO CONTROLLED BY THE LIFE LESS ENERGY OF MONEY THAT DEADENS THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH,LIGHT ,LOVE AAAAANNND FREEDOM .
KEEP AT IT GIRL, COS YOU DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE .

19 Kelly 02.23.10 at 12:13 pm

@Jenny
Thank you, Jenny. Sending hugs your way too. x

@Paul
I appreciate your words and encouragement greatly and I love you too. I know that I have to find the life spark in me that will help me live in a world I often I don’t understand. It’s hard to be a free spirit sometimes and I’m still learning how to protect that spirit. It’s a journey, but there are many who take it with me, so I’m luckier than most. xxx

Kelly

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