yesterday my boss’ family showed up on set; it was the weekend and the oldest girl “wanted to see her Daddy.” i’ve know my boss for years, and his wife is a friend. she became pregnant with their third very close to the time i became un-pregnant. now, my profession means i generally work with a lot of men, so i’m not around a lot of women, much less pregnant ones. thus, seeing my friend’s -- my boss’ wife’s – belly, it suddenly hit me: Erika, this is what you’d look like right now. as i prepped some microphones, i thought: i don’t want to be prepping mics anymore; i want to be driving my kids somewhere because they want to see their Daddy. only i guess it was a pretty powerful thought, since i was surprised to hear myself say it out loud. then i started to cry.
i know that i am making progress towards the resolution of my grief; in fact, i did a lot of work last month on the letting go, which i would like to post about later. but i realized with quite the shock that the reason i knew i’ve moved forward is because when the pain came, it was fresh and raw. in other words, it wasn’t a resident pain surfacing; it was an oddly familiar, clearly identifiable ache that felt like it invaded me for an unpleasant visit. slipping into pure observer mode, i stepped outside myself and thought: huh! i know this pain! who knew it would have such a distinctive feel? well, at least i’m not swimming in constant sorrow anymore! and then i popped back into being the participant in my own life: damn, this is a nasty feeling!
i hid out for the rest of my shift; walking home i was tempted to give in to a storm of tears, but the me-observer noticed that this would take up all the energy i was going to use for driving up to Pasadena to have dinner with my mother-in-law, and thus really quite a waste. when the participant came back, she was fierce and defiant: the time for falling to pieces is past. i have no illusions that i’ll ever “get over” the loss of Tummymuffin; many of you wise women have taught me that. but the season of unmitigated howling is over; i have begun the healing and to let myself dissolve now is to disrespect that. certainly there will be many more tears shed, but the difference is that i no longer feel like i need to be dragged back from the abyss. the pain isn't a psycho roommate anymore who steals my stuff and invades my privacy -- it's more of an unwanted visitor that stops by and stinks up my living room. of course, i haven’t gotten through Mother’s Day or Tummymuffin’s due date yet… but see, that’s why i think this emotional work now is so important. i want to be able to walk into those dates without dread or fear or shrinking back; i want to live those dates with choiceful recognition of our loss, but with hope for the future and gratitude for the present.