Stopping to Surrender

chavaS (10)

It’s so hard for me to be far away from him, not to be able to hold him through this, for me to grieve alone and not say my goodbyes, and to manage everything on the home front.

Today it’s been a month since my husband left to go abroad to be with his family member who is very unwell. It has been tough on so many levels.

But I can stay calm when I have some sense of control and today I didn’t. It made things so much more complicated. 

He is supposed to get on a flight back home tomorrow but his family member’s condition has taken a turn and so the uncertainty of not knowing if he would be back this week or not, and wondering how I would break the news to the kids, and feeling so incredibly torn about whether he should stay or come back and the overarching tragedy of him losing his family member was all just too much for me.

I went to make the kids lunch but knew that I was beginning to disassociate from time and place (which is how my body responds to intense stimuli such as this). 

I wanted to remain present for the kids, so I pulled everything I could out of my toolkit. 

I opened a candle so I could smell it, I ran my hands underwater and washed them lovingly with soap, I felt the texture of the hand towel when I wiped my hands. 

I ate my food, concentrating on the crunch of the onion and the warmth of the cheese and sogginess of the bread. I put my hands on the cold countertops.

And then I stopped trying to stop. I realized that I needed to surrender a little.

I turned on soulful prayer music and I closed my eyes and swayed back and forth and cried as I chewed my food, letting my sadness trickle out. 

I told the kids they could watch a video and I got into bed, switched off the lights, held my legs tightly, curled up in a ball. I lay there for a bit, chatted with my husband on the phone, and then I was suddenly able to switch out of it. I opened up my laptop and did an hour of work. I accepted that I wouldn’t take the kids to the park but felt that I had the energy to take them downstairs to bike ride in the carpark. 

I have been learning and practicing enough to know that I don’t need to feel like going outside for some sunshine and exercise to do it- It’s something I need to just do! And so we did. And it was great. And I felt so very proud of myself and grateful to Hashem for getting me through that moment. For me, mindfulness works. Connection works.

And as I increase compassion for myself, I can just be. It lowers the volume of all the internal and external ‘noise’ and I can breathe and let so much else go.