Mine to Lose

I need a spiritual solution. And I don’t mean in a come-to-Jesus kind of way because while I believe in the miracle of Him, it’s not a help in my day-to-day.

I recently went to a meditation class. I think I’m more drawn to the idea of Eastern philosophy than the actual practice of it. I will say that when I went into the class I was feeling blue, and teared up when I was asked (as were all the participants) to say a bit about why I was there. But I did felt calm at the end of it. Of course, the whole time I was supposed to be meditating and paying attention to my breath, I was thinking about how I actually finally wrote a blog post and WTF did I write and all the things I needed to do at work and how many of the Christmas gifts I bought I should return because I overdid as usual and yeah, all the things people who meditate struggle with. Except when it was over people were truly moved by their experience and I was thinking, well, it was okay but what the heck did I miss? I didn’t go somewhere deep and mystical. Did you ever have that, when you’re in a group of people all experiencing the same thing and you feel like everyone gets it except you but you act like you do because surely there must be something wrong with you if you didn’t?

I truly want to feel better. So often I feel both wounded and empty. My comfort in my grief – if it can be called comfort – was finding the place inside where I could write from. It’s not so easy to find my way any more. Where did that disappear to? It can’t be that I lost it, it must be that I’m too closed down to access it, right? I’m still the person who wrote those 140 posts here, right? I can’t have changed into someone thoughtless, wordless…right?

’Tis the season, though. The time that makes things harder for so many. While grieving Philip, I’ve taken comfort these last years during the holidays, from buying gifts to share to knowing I’d be with friends and family, as if the glow that’s Christmas could actually warm my heart instead of break it. Not so this year, and a lot of this has to do with K. We were together last year and now we’re not. I bet that sounds almost romantic. It isn’t. Because the truth of it is I was already pulling away from her. Whether or not I spent Christmas day with her is something I can’t remember. I know I did not spend Christmas Eve with her because I dared not invite her to join in with my family because she was my partner and while everyone knew I was with a woman, no one approved. At least, my mother disapproved. She hung up the phone angry and disgusted when I told her, then called my brother sobbing, And when I’d told my brother about K, I was met with a tepid “that’s okay,” but he let me know he was sure glad it wasn’t one of his daughters bringing him such news.

Telling my family might’ve sounded like I got the worst of it out of the way but it wasn’t. Next would’ve required being clear that where I was invited, K was invited. I never got that far. K has a big, sprawling, welcoming family who saw each other often, but not me. My family met on holidays and when last Christmas Eve rolled around – the holiday I always spend at my brother’s –  I said nothing. K and I didn’t even discuss it. We just continued like it was any old visit without her to my family. And while I’m not saying this is why we broke up, there is never any exact “why” to a break up. There are the million dings and dints to the thing that’s whole until it’s whole no longer and it breaks and cracks into pieces that can be mended or shards that splinter irrevocably and it is looking to me like right now, for her, there is no going back.

And I’m left asking myself if it was worth it. Because all those people that I was so concerned about have had their holidays the way they wanted, spent with the people they wanted to spend them with and I am here pining for what had only been mine to lose.

© 2019 Denise Smyth


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dakota M Draconi, MSW
    Dec 29, 2019 @ 11:18:45

    My dear friend. It’s so inevitable, loss is cumulative. Especially after losing our precious sons. Family, because we aren’t and can’t possibly be their ideal version of us. Relationships and friendships, because millions of reasons. For the people around us life simply goes on, somehow, while our hearts gush tears instead of blood. Emptiness engulfs us, and SO few other human beings can even begin to grasp the scope of our despair. (“Oh I can’t even imagine…” refrains echo through my body and soul reminding me of my isolation.) Words come from our depths, and they comfort briefly… but then they, too, abandon us.

    Denise. My sister. I see you. I hear you. I know you. I love you.


    • Denise
      Dec 29, 2019 @ 11:37:48

      Words come and words abandon. It’s up to us to then find more because they live in our imagination and how key is that to live with these deaths we’ve suffered. Words are my best comfort because they’re what I can mold this grief into. But no, it’s not enough. Ultimately they’re a way to reach out for connection – is any one there, can anyone hear, am I alone as I believe I am? Today I am bereft, today I am grateful I was able to write something because you reached out and there you are. I, too, am here and am loving you.


  2. Sue
    Dec 29, 2019 @ 11:28:01

    Denise – I’m so glad to see you are writing again. Your posts always give me something to think about even if I don’t share the same experiences. Thanks for sharing so honestly.


  3. Nancy
    Dec 29, 2019 @ 16:33:27

    DENISE!!! So happy to see you hear again & writing. Sorry for your loss of K which sounded wonderful, is it over for sure? Perhaps she’s given you room to grow & well, I’ll pray for the best for you.

    Ironically I had a conversation with someone after church today who said he is so careful today in his compliments to women so they aren’t offended. “That’s a lovely dress!” vs. “You look really pretty in that dress.”

    Immediately I thought, Wow how sad.
    We a generation who applauds ourselves for encouraging people to be who they really are & need to be are limiting expression all over the place.
    Sad, isn’t it. Even more sad when tolerance for some is defined by what is comfortable for them.

    Really sad as you said that all those judgemental family members are clueless that their judgement causes pain & they just go on living their life.
    Makes me stop & look closer at what I may unintentionally judge more.

    What a wonderful world it would be indeed if we could get the righteous sticks out of our own asses and applaud the real people for every juicy part of who they want to be!

    God bless & write, write, write!
    Love you,
    Nancy (old WG member
    & Red Cross volunteer)💞


    • Denise
      Dec 30, 2019 @ 08:55:50

      So good to hear from you Nancy! Yes, what a wonderful world it would be…but people are who they are and unless I can step into who I am and what makes me happy I will continue to let them control. And after this, I think not. xoxoxo


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