Thursday, January 20, 2011

Submerged Rocks

I don't know what it is about the month of January that begins in a familiar darkness for me, but then very slowly moves my spirit into a lighter, more transformational place.  I am not sure at what point the dissension initially occurs, the moment at which the downward spiral takes its initial turn causing me to unknowingly burrow down deep, receding into what feels a bit like depression.(if I was a depressive type of person, which characteristically, I am not)  But it is something that I have come to acknowledge over the past eight years or so, ever since I spent six weeks during a particularly rainy January/February, sitting with my ninety year old grandmother in the hospital, watching her slowly whither away while not being able to give in to her wishes for me to "put a pillow over her head" so that she did not have to withstand anymore.  She was ready to leave, her ninety years on this earth filled with mostly productivity and fullness, and I was waiting it out by her side, saying farewell but not knowing when the end would come.  She and I were very close.  In many ways, she looked upon me more as a daughter than as a granddaughter.  I share her hearty laugh.  I share her generosity and her love of the written word.  I share her sense of humor and her sense of loyalty, her sense of duty to those we love.  And so, I shared in her responsibility, taking care of four young daughters who required my full-time attention while giving my grandma the rest.  We moved her out to a facility near where my father lives(two and a half hours away, much too far for him to drive on a regular basis) after we understood that she would need full-time care, and slowly, the time slipped away from her.  It began with the sad fact that she no longer remembered my two youngest daughters, and then, she stopped reading, stopped eating and slept for much of the day.  She was putting the proverbial "pillow" over her own head, wishing herself into no longer.  The entire process took six months, beginning in that early January and then finally releasing her on my birthday in July of that same year.  There is no irony lost on me when it comes to the fact that she made her final transition on my birthday morning that summer.  She and I had several interesting conversations in the week leading up to her death and I knew that where I was dropping her off on this side of life, her own mother would be picking her up on the other side.  I found it all, quite humbling.

The January after my grandma passed, my mother had knee-replacement surgery.  She behaved much like a spoiled child and gave me weeks of aggravation.  Let's just say that when she threw her food tray across the room because the doctor decided it was time to cut off her morphine supply, I decided that it was time for me to spend less time sitting with her in the hospital.  Good decision...

And then, three years ago on February 17, 2008, my younger brother died.  I won't delve into the details about that here as I have written about them many other times on this blog, but his death raised the bar to an entirely new level.
So while I began this by saying that I am not entirely sure as to why January tends to begin in a fairly dark place for me, by backtracking a bit, I admitted myself into a moment of absolute clarity.  By allowing myself to retrieve some of the more difficult pieces that I like to forget, I transitioned myself into a space of clearer understanding and even, compassion.  Compassion for myself.  Understanding.  Transformation.  Allowance.
Yesterday, I took a long walk on the beach.  Not a search for sea glass or sunsets, but a search for answers and understanding.  Each year, I try to come up with a word that will help to direct me and keep me focused for the year.  I do not remember what that word was for 2008.  That was the year that I lost my brother and I think that as a self-protective measure, the word left my consciousness.  In 2009, the word was patience.  Lord knows I needed a good dose of patience for all of the nonsense that was only just beginning!  In 2010, because there are no rules to any of this(except for the ones that I make up for myself), the only appropriate word that rang throughout my mind was once again, patience, and I went with it.  Yesterday, as I walked on the beach at a pace much quicker than my usual beach walk, the word floated into my consciousness.  Transform.  I rolled the word around inside of my mind for a bit.  Transformation.  I thought about what it means and how it pertained to who I am now.  I considered the somewhat negative connotation to the word. Change.  But more about the positive.  Metamorphosis.  And then I thought about the things which we submerge in spaces that we think will somehow protect us.  All of the stuff that we bury in those dark places, only to have them haunt us in ways that we have tried to hide from.  We minimize their importance, the strong influence of which they have upon our lives.
And yet, if we search a little harder and a bit deeper, we might actually find our way back up into the light, just by taking the time to acknowledge the darkness.  Just as submerged rocks can prove to be a serious danger when we are unaware of their presence, when we try to cover up the events in our lives which affect us so profoundly, they can only become dangerous obstacles to the evolution of our souls.  Of who we are and who we are meant to become.

The sun is shining brightly today.  It is warm, about eighty degrees and I can hear a bird calling in the distance.  I have allowed myself to spend some time in the darkness, thinking, exploring, contemplating and just being.  It is now time for me to climb back into the light, step by step, moment by moment, breath by breath.  This is a choice that I am making, this climb, this transformation.  We all hope to transform ourselves but most of us also fight change.  I am giving up that fight.

Do you have a word for 2011?

10 comments:

LauraX said...

My word is connection...and my post for tomorrow is in a way connected to yours today. Moving through shadow to a bit more light. Yes my friend, breath by breath...moment by moment...step by gentle step your light will be revealed, not from the outside, but from deep within. You are transforming from your own cocoon state into the brilliant butterfly you've always been, but didn't realize; spreading your wings a bit wider every day!

Renee said...

What a wonderful word you have been given. I was just thinking about a word for 2011 this morning! Last year I claimed as my year of healing...well, I am not well, but the cancer that was found 2 mo. later is gone and I have done some inside healing. I felt humbled by what did not occur and what did. This year I prayed about a word and contentment came to mind. There is alot of restlessness in me and being content seems so peaceful, so right.
I understand what you say about those dark places and submerged rocks..as usual your words are so insightful. I am so very grateful I found your blog and am able to connect with you.
I hope your year of transistion is filled with all the colors of the rainbow and all the sounds of joy.

Angella Lister said...

Wonderful post! This is what it is about, writing ourselves into being, into understanding, clearing a way for transformation.

I felt so deeply the part where you talk about sitting with your grandmother as she prepared to take her leave. I feel that I am doing the same thing now with my aunt, who is ready to go, so ready, but her heart keeps on. It is a hard, hard thing. But there is beauty, too. There is beauty because there is history.

Thank you for this. It is a revelation.

Sharon said...

My word for 2011 is "unafraid." I did not choose it ~ it found me and followed me around like a tenacious toddler until I picked it and said, "Okay, you can stay."

I like the word transformation because it speaks to me of making changes from the inside out that completely change the very make-up of what is transformed, never to be the same again.

jojo said...

I have recently become aware of the choosing of the word to use as a mantra more or less. Although I believe the word chose me I have decided to embrace it and life and all it's possibilities...so...embrace!

Neil and Susan said...

January and February are the hardest months to endure for a lot of people. When you have the memories that you have in these two months, it is natural for you to visit those experiences again. We are always searching our feelings Deb, its a good thing. We don't have to fear where they take us,just trust as you are in good hands and embrace your transformation. You are one lovely friend! Susan xoxo

Ness said...

As always, your posts raise me up and that happens to be the song that is playing on my blog at the moment(You Raise Me Up-Joshn Groban). I don't have words to tell you how much. I love you to the moon and back.

My word has been the same one since 7/19/05 when I was diagnosed with cancer...BELIEVE. Every year as I review it seems like the events that have happened in the previous year have only been made possible by believing.

I like what you said about when someone dies, you are handing them over to a person waiting for them on the other side (parapharased). Beautiful thought for my day today.

Thank you again through your blog for introducing me to Shine the Divine and today she introduced me to 2 other blogs that I am following. The gifts just keep on giving.

Debbie said...

This January has been somewhat hard for my family. I do need to get a good, positive word for this year. Thanks for the encouragement.

Kathleen Botsford said...

The words you left for me the other day filled my heart. Thank you. January is my favorite month. I love the long, dark days, especially here in the Midwest. I love to linger in the darkness within, to welcome the shadows without a thought for the light. When the sun blazes brightly on our snow covered lawns, I cringe and long for a cave to crawl into. The light returns so swiftly, no more than a moment seems to pass between the Holidays and Spring flowers. This week I will bury down. Stay in the dark. Look for nothing....absolutely nothing. And I will remember your grandmother. And mine. And I will say a prayer for you and for me, forever connected in this Sacred dance of all Women, holding, loving and dying, now and forever.

deb colarossi said...

Debra... it feels like sacred space here.
I'm quieted.

You are beyond beautiful . I wish you so much peace.

love

deb

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