A few days ago marked the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. I hesitated to write more about grief but it is such a universal human experience I am going ahead. We all have grief. We lose pets, we move, we have to give up smoking or drinking, we get sick. We marry, we divorce, we get a promotion and have to leave one job in order to take the new one. Loss comes to us on a daily basis. Some losses are small and bring about a simple pause of grief. Others, like a divorce or a death, are seismic and take months or years to ease.
I have found that one of the perplexing aspects of grief is its tendency to add to feelings of isolation. Grief, whatever the cause, strips away and in my own I have found myself feeling profoundly vulnerable and alone. Grief then is a great leveler, bringing sorrow and loneliness to each of us.
During this year of grieving my mother I have experienced loneliness in new and profound ways. I think the bond we have with our mother’s is deeply physical making the sense of isolation, once the bond is broken, physical as well.
As I experienced this loneliness, it occurred to me that I was simply joining the rest of the human race. Loneliness is another of those part-of-the-human-condition things, we all have it. I realized I didn’t need to fix it or change it. I could choose to experience it, try it on and see what it really feels like. I became the observer to my own loneliness and actually told myself, “welcome to the human race.” In this way I chose to experience my humanity and all of its vulnerability. My loneliness, then, became a source of connection with the rest of humanity. Choosing loneliness actually eased it. While in loneliness, I was able to find connection by embracing my humanity. And when I do that, I live into my truest self.