When the monkey is away….

I have written many posts about grief that don’t get posted. The same words tend to pop up, about drowning, battling, fighting, then relinquishing control….

It’s not easy to experience grief (understatement of the year), but the metaphors of the experience seem to come with ease. And while writing about it and getting it off my chest is part of healing, even to me, the story gets old.

New experiences…putting myself out there, trying different things, meeting new people, that too will give me something to write about, or, at least experience. Grief won’t be going away anytime soon. But my life, well, I’m all too aware of how finite it is.

That’s the strange conundrum of someone who has experienced a deep loss, the double-bind. The pressure to immediately “life life to the fullest”. Every moment. Seize the day. But don’t forget you will be doing it carrying a 600 lb. monkey on your back. Most often it’s a big unmovable nose-picking orangutan, a deadbeat dead weight. At other times it’s a pesky little rascal, jabbing sharp fingers in your eyes, shoving a banana in your face. Causing a lot of confusion, blinding you to your path.

But monkey or not, life continues on. And on the days when that monkey gets distracted, is off playing with bugs, on those days, I try to envision myself, un-encumbered, leaping, swinging, swooshing through the glorious jungle, letting go of one branch, seizing the next one with ease. I’ll catch it. It’s in my nature, it’s what I was taught. I’ll make it.

Kind of like riding a bike? No, because I haven’t experienced grief or loss like this before. More like that first ride – why do we do it? We want to learn, though we crash and burn, there is an inner drive and faith that we’ll steady ourselves, find our center, and one day be able to ride. Maybe even take our hands off the handle bars, the ultimate elementary-school kid’s goal.

My dad was the one. He taught me how to ride a bike. I remember the bike, I remember the day. It must be cringe-worthy to let your wobbling kid go…he saw me fall on my face several times in life. And my mom, she once watched me take off, fly, and land a plane. I think worry trumped all other emotions that day. Except, of course, love.

We all have it in us, don’t we? The ability to let go, an innate faith, and understanding of the realities of this jungle. A lesson that we learn over and over. A lesson that we teach, without even knowing it, about the insecurities of life and how it really is. To reach for the next branch, even if we’re not sure it’s there. To watch that little one take her first steps, even knowing she might fall. That as a parent, to truly love and nurture the life experience of our child – or as a wife, to a husband who is no longer here – we accept that our love is not diminished by letting go. That the ultimate act of love, is letting go. Letting her go. Letting him go. Trusting, to let ourselves go, tentatively forward, on two wobbly wheels, even if we are carrying an un-balanced load. Which leads me to believe, when I look back on it now, that I learned more than just how to ride a bike that day.

So for today, I am done writing about grief. I am headed to a new yoga studio. Time to bring some other animals back into my life. Make room, monkey!

5 thoughts on “When the monkey is away….

    • No, I don’t believe so. I grieved for my mom’s loss for over 4 years. The grief has lessened, but my love for my mom and my memories of the times we had together are strong. I know my mom would want me to be happy. “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”

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