Reflection time:Sadness: The urban dictionary describes it this way: an emotion that can be described as a pain felt in the heart, or like you are going to implode. Can come with loneliness.
Loneliness: Unhappy as a result of being without the companionship of others. Causing or resulting from the state of being alone: a lonely existence.
The past few weeks I have felt both the emotion of sadness and the feeling of loneliness. I’m not sure if I brought them on myself, or if it is a symptom of the consequences of divorce.
In a few weeks I will be divorced for 6 years. Six years! I remember that first year barely being able to get out of bed. There were so many emotions going on. I was angry, bitter, resentful, weary, fearful, and hurt. It took all I had to get up out of bed in the morning to get ready for work. I had to put a smile on my face every single day and work with the public. I am not sure how I managed, but I did. I can’t say I was successful at it, but I did it.
It is six years later and some of those emotions are still there. Some creep up on me out of the blue, like anger and resentfulness. Some are always there, like weariness, and fear. One has changed itself from hurt, to sadness, and then one just decided it was going to invite itself into my life again and reacquaint itself with me: loneliness. Sadness and loneliness made a strong appearance this past week and they are still unwelcome guests that I cannot shake off quite as easily as I once was able to.
I spent the earlier part of the week sitting in a waiting room, anxious for the arrival of my first granddaughter. I was beyond excited. Finally, I was going to be able to hold a little girl. I had been surrounded by boys for the past 32 years; all I could focus on was bows, and pink, and dance recitals. As I sat and waited, I couldn’t help but smile at how happy I was feeling at that moment. And then…
Then it all changed. Before I even knew what was happening, that feeling of overwhelming sadness struck. I couldn’t figure out what was going on so I could snap out of it; it happened too quickly. The more I tried to shake it off, the heavier the feeling became. All I knew to do was smile and fake it. I couldn’t let anyone know what was going on inside me.
Let me set it up for you: I am sitting in the waiting room outside of the Labor and Delivery wing of the hospital. I am looking at my two oldest grandsons. They are playing games, talking with their parents, smiling and laughing. My son and daughter in-law are engaged with their family. My other daughter-in-law’s parents and grandparents are sitting and talking to one another. My ex-husband and his wife are there, as well, when my oldest son walks in to update us on the progress, or lack of progress, my daughter in-law is making. That is when it hit me, came from left field and I never saw it coming!
I was literally standing in the middle of the room listening to everything my son was saying, hugged him when he left to go back to Taylor, and BAM! The feeling of being on the outside looking in. When will I have someone to share these joyful events with? Why am I left standing alone? Ridiculous as it is to even look at these words as I type them out, that is what I was feeling at that moment. I quickly put on that mask you put on when you don’t want others to really see you. I smiled, sat down, and quickly found something to read on my phone. I managed to hold it together the rest of my time at the hospital. Usually when I feel any kind of emotion that is “threatening,” I tend to be snarky when I engage in a conversation. I knew enough to just hold my tongue and not participate in any unnecessary chatter as I did not want to cause any tension or allow my ex to see that I was affected by my circumstances.
After my granddaughter was finally born (30+ hours later), and I was able to hold her, I said goodbye and walked to my car to go home. I got in my car, turned the key, and the flood gates opened up. The crushing sensation of loneliness took over. I just cried out to God, wondering if this feeling would ever go away and not come back.
I can share these emotions with my friends and they all say the same words to me: God knows what He is doing; you just have to trust Him, Karen. The right man is out there, it just isn’t the right time yet. God is still preparing you for the right man, and preparing the right man for you. Or my personal favorite, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger! That one always makes me want to scream out “F” you! When you are in the middle of these emotions, those are not words that you accept well. There really isn’t anything anyone can say to make it hurt less. Some may say that this is a full-blown pity party. Possibly, but this is different. I’ve attended many pity parties in my life; this is not a pity party.
It is a week later; these emotions are still with me. They are not quite as intense. It is a continual process that I will need to work out. The frequency has become less and less that I am blind-sided by these emotions, and for that I am grateful.
I guess what I am still learning in all of this is that I need to embrace where I am. It may not be ideal. Some of my circumstances were beyond my control, some I have full control of. The bottom line is that whatever it is I am feeling at the moment needs to be worked through. If that emotion is joy, I need to allow myself the grace to enjoy and embrace it. If the emotion is sadness, I need to allow myself the grace to work through it and embrace that, as well. There is no right or wrong emotion. There is no time limit on how long the roller coaster lasts. It is what makes me uniquely me, and you uniquely you.
All I know to do at this moment is hold on tighter to what I know is true. I am not weak, nor am I strong. I am just someone trying to figure out my authentic self.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth., I am just a woman who is trying her best to figure this out. (Psalm 139:13-15 NIV)