Monday would have been my sister’s 58th birthday. It is strange that I felt so low about it because I cannot remember the last time I celebrated her birthday with her. I don’t remember doing anything for her 18th or 21st. Yes I’m old enough to have had both an 18th and 21st birthday party!!! But by the time my sister was 18 our parents had separated. In fact even by her 16th they were apart. But even before that I don’t remember her birthdays unless I look at photographs and then I’m sure it is more perceived memory rather than really remembering. My sister has been dead now for over 9 years and of course I still miss her. It is hard work being an only child now after having had a sibling for 49 years.
But anyway Monday I felt this overwhelming sadness mixed with other emotions of guilt, regret, fear, anxiety. I checked dates, remembered the significance, and accepted how I felt. Our bodies are so much better at remembering things than our heads. We so often need to bypass our heads and listen to our hearts and bodies. Something I am learning often. And we need to accept that a feeling is just a feeling and it will pass.
If we have lived a long and full life there will be many days where we remember things with sadness, with loss, with regret, with grief, and I am learning that this is alright. It is how I feel. It is a feeling from what was, but it is just a feeling. It is not the “now” of my life.
So when I realised the source of my sadness I journaled it, walked the dog and pondered it, accepted it, and placed it in a safe place. Not buried but not somewhere where today would fall over it. I got on with my day, checked out my heart regularly, was kind to myself – because I think often we can tell those feelings of loss, grief, anger, fear, anxiety, that they are negative and so shouldn’t be a part of our lives. But that is so untrue. Feelings are not negative or positive. Yes some are easier to sit with than others. Some we prefer, especially in others, than we do other ones. But they are just feelings.
Our feelings colour our memories and we need to accept that. We also need to accept that we won’t have a photographic memory of the past, no matter what some people tell themselves they do. What we do have is a memory of an event coloured with our feelings at the time overlaid with our feelings of where we are now.
So Monday I accept that I was feeling what I was feeling. Kept my thoughts to my journal. Waited till the feeling had got to a more settled place to be able to share on this blog. And it did as the sticker on my fridge said it would. It passed. I now have other feelings about other things but I know they are my feelings and are not the fact of the event.