I’ve had to put on my big-girl panties an awful lot this year. Life can be downright depressing at times and so damn beautiful at others that you’re choking back happy tears. Yep, I’m a pretty passionate and sensitive person…and I feel very deeply for every situation I encounter. I’m also a genuinely happy soul that tries to see the good in [almost] everything. Being consumed by depressing and negative emotions for too long can literally create illness within your body.
Which is why when faced with tragedy, I must meet it head-on with creativity.
Losing someone you care about absolutely sucks. Two weeks ago, I lost a dear friend of nearly 17 years. Though I’d had some suspiscion he wasn’t doing all that well, it still felt like the air was ripped from my lungs when I found out about his passing. He was too young. Too full of laugher and life. Life is just too damn short.
A couple days after that I had to put my awesome dog [Isis] down. A depressing double-whammy, all in the same damn week. Needless to say, I mentally checked out for a few days and cried my eyes out. It was hard to focus on work, school, taking care of my family, and whatever other responsibilities I had. And I’m not a big ‘half-ass’ type of girl so I knew I needed to take a little personal time. But what the hell am I going to do with myself while drowning in a sea of sad thoughts that won’t stop looping around in my head? That’s when I decided it was time to get creative.
I remembered reading in Carolyn Myss’ book, Anatomy Of The Spirit, how one of her workshop students had lost her husband. The death had not only taken a toll on her emotionally, but it also had made this woman very sick. Carolyn told the woman she had to get a handle on things or she would never get well. The lady decided she was going to meet her sadness with creativity by starting a garden. Nurturing her new flowers and plants eventually brought peace within her soul. And slowly overtime she not only took back her life, but also her health.
That example resonated with me because I’d been wanting to grow my own garden and just never had/made the time to get into it. I wanted to grow new life to help me with the loss of I loved. So I got to it. I got some fall-colored flowers from Lowe’s that were already arranged together. They even included these cute little signs with a picture of an owl. After getting them in the pots, I added a couple more pieces and voila…a masterpiece was created.
Everyday, I’m out there inspecting and watering my babies. Admittedly, the creative outlet has been a welcome thing for me. No, it doesn’t bring my loved ones back. No, it doesn’t stop me from remembering them. But what it has done is provide a temporary distraction. When I feel overwhelmed and start choking back tears, I just throw more energy into my shovel. When a memory pops in my head and sticks there, I grab my pruning shears and get to clipping. It’s amazing how much work I can get done when I’m trying so damn hard to keep my mind off things that make me sad. And surprisingly, a smile creeps it’s way on my face when I least expect it to.
How do you deal with losing a loved one? Do you meet the tragedy head-on with creativity?