People say I’m doing better. I suppose they are right. I have put on 10 pounds this year. I’m more energetic, with a ready smile. But grief is a funny creature; she lurks just under the surface, ready to crawl into my throat and choke me when I least expect it.
I’ve felt depressed this week. An astrologer thought it might have something to do with the position of Uranus. As beautiful as it is to believe a distant blue dot could hold such planetary sway, I think its just that I miss my mom. She was so wonderful to talk to. Engaged, honest, warm. The perfect confidante. I can’t say I’m lonely, but I’m lonely for her. Its a deep ache that all the well-meaning loved ones in my life can’t alleviate.
I’m in Flagstaff for a conference, and there is something about a solo road trip that was good for me. As my tires spun up Interstate 17, I reached a place beyond my sadness. One where grief and joy can live together. Because if the ache cannot be alleviated, then I must learn to be happy around, beside and within the sorrow.
I believe there is a place where you can mourn the rabbits or coyote or deer splattered on the highway, the bugs on the windshield, the suffering of all creatures everywhere. Bemoan the missed opportunities, the past memories that were as unappreciated at the time as they were beautiful. Long for the loves that left, and the ones who you could have loved but were never brave enough to. The idea that never worked out, the dream that vanished into the ethers, the future you planned on but never came to pass. Vanquished beauty. Sickness. And in this place of mourning your heart can crack right open as you drive your car or van or truck into a beautiful Arizona sunset painted on a backdrop of purple mountains. You can feel good as your trusty vehicle carries you up, up into those purple mountains, the steady whirring of tires a drone beneath your favorite songs pumping out of the speakers. You are dazzled by beauty, by how lucky you are, how healthy your body, how full your life. In that moment you have it all, in the only way that matters: sadness and joy, laughter and tears, hope and pain, in perfect integration.