Yesterday was interesting. It was imbued with sadness, something I would rather not feel. In choosing not to feel it I could cut off the relationship(s) where I believe sadness exists. That sorry choice would only invoke the cliche phrase “cut off your nose to spite your face”. The reason for the sadness was the fact that things are changing. My hometown and my memory landmarks are changing. My family members are changing, especially the older ones. The foundation upon which my life has been built is swirling.

swirled world
swirled world of emotions

Vertigo is on the precipice, along with more feelings. My foundation is changing and I realize the older people are changing at the same rate as the rest of us, young included. The difference is that change has an eerie feeling, like a shadow waiting for permanent change.

Yesterday I thought about not wanting to feel again so before I left my hometown I picked up some dark chocolate. The person serving me my choice of truffles, and other chocolates of choice, asked about my Service Dog. That person then stated a commonly known fact “life would not be worth living without good chocolate”. I concurred. As I walked to my car another person stopped me and asked about my Service Dog.  I took some time and answered. This person also took some time and shared that they had fought in the wild fires in Fort McMurray. They told me this fact while, today, wild fires are raging in British Colombia.

This person then offered an interesting piece of information. They shared with me that a friend who fought the Fort McMurray wildfires also fought in Afghanistan. He furthered this fact with the fact that this friend did not want to leave the wildfires. That friend had PTSD and I suspected that friend felt closer to life, the closer they fought death.

I then offered something because it seemed right. I said … next time you talk with that friend leave the door open for that friend to tell you about ideations…. suicidal ideations. Let that friend share those thoughts exist and while that friend takes the risk to share with you, remember they are simply ideations… If they have a safe airing place then they remain ideations instead of burying deeper and injuring farther.

Today I write and hear mine own words. Today I realize I may have felt grief yesterday as I visited with someone that has been with me my whole life. Today I realize joy was trying to peek out and be present. Joy that I could visit and that my mother was still here to tell me she loved me, and give me a gentle hug.

Grief is something that prefers to travel in a pack of emotions just like the pack of floral and green scrub at my photographed feet. Today I realize grief is often masked by a troupe of other emotions including sadness, anger, loneliness, as well as the other ones that are not emotions – blame and shame. Grief brings a troupe of feelings with it to fight its way in to be heard while joy is the rag tag piece at the end of the marching troupe. When Grief is called by name, it feels heard, it steps forward and can feel confident letting  its beauty to take center stage. That is how it works with feelings, scary thoughts, terrifying ideations. They just want to know they have a right to exist, before they go off to other places.

foxgloved grief
foxgloved grief

Once any feeling is honoured the rag tag band coming up the rear can entertain. Joy is grief’s rag tag band. Joy brings a troupe of other emotions, when Joy is called by name it can take center stage and be honoured. It may then move along to other pastures.

Look at the two images and know the foxglove in the second is central in the first. Perspective is what has changed the image. Perspective changes everything.

JT. Murphy and the rag tag band of emotions, signing off.

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