Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

It was my daughter’s birthday last month so my sister and I went up to celebrate her turning 15. As an aside, I can’t believe she’s 15. Only one more year until she drives. Yikes! In passing my sister mentioned that she had asked my daughter how she was doing and whether she heard from her dad. And my daughter had responded, “He’s taking his girlfriend to Amsterdam”.

And there it was. I was ticking right along, minding my own business, and boom. I felt that knot in the pit of my stomach and an overwhelming sense of loss and sadness. We were eating breakfast and I lost my appetite. My sister felt terrible, like she shouldn’t have said anything.

But, that’s not it. I don’t want my sister, or my daughter, or anyone else to think they have to keep things from me, to protect me, so my feelings don’t get hurt. I wasn’t going to broach the subject because I knew my sister would feel bad. Then, I thought if I don’t talk about it, it gets pushed down and buried. So, I mentioned how it felt to hear those words.

As I walked upstairs to brush my teeth, I thought to myself, “I wish I could just get to the other side of this”. To the place where I can hear the bits of news and it doesn’t have an impact on me anymore. That it’s like hearing the weather. Interesting but it doesn’t affect me. Okay, maybe the weather is not a great example.

But, if I rush to get to the other side, if I try to force myself to push past it too quickly which would really mean denying my feelings and pushing them down, then I think it will take me that much longer to truly get to the other side. It’s a process and it will take time and distance.

So, as I brushed my teeth, I let myself feel that immense sadness, that heavy heartedness, that loss. It’s not that I wanted to be the one he was taking to Amsterdam. Not at all.

It’s the sense of not having that one person who has your back no matter what, that someone to share in life’s moments. That person you can call or talk to when sh@# happens. It’s also that feeling of rejection, of being tossed aside for someone new. I let all those emotions wash over me.

Then…my life carried on. I had stuff to do. I had 25 rolls of fabric waiting for me to pick up at the manufacturer. I had to find a storage solution for those 25 rolls of fabric and get back home to Ottawa.

Later as I was driving down the highway, my mind wandered back to that bit of news I had heard earlier in the day and the sadness was still there but it didn’t have as much of a hold over me. That visceral reaction I had felt so strongly had lessened.

So, there is progress, little by little, step by step, day by day. I can see the other side. I’m just not there yet. But, I will get there…eventually.

We don’t talk about these life changing events and experiences enough. We hear about it but we don’t talk about it. You can feel so all alone and then you find out there were others in the same boat but you don’t know that because we don’t talk about it.

So, if you feel up to it, let me know in the comments, or by email, or in person if you’re going through or have been through a similar experience. It’s comforting to know you’re not alone. And sometimes you just need to vent with someone who will listen, who understands, and will hold the space for you.

Until next time,

~ Colleen

Colleen Kanna