Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.

28Jan/090

Normal

On Sunday during Sanzen I told HB about my Mom, about the two possible cancers. As we talked about it he reminded me that this is "normal", it is normal for me to be coping with my Mother's ill-health. It was something I really had to sit with for several days, this shifting in the concept of normal.

I talked with GM today during our session. She found it very interesting, HB pointing me to the normal-ness of the situation and yet I feel sorrow overwhelming me at times. I feel just pummeled by what feels like an unending litany of pain both present and past. CK commented to me this evening how deeply someone can be affected when they grow up with their primary caregiver gravely ill. When she wasn't ill I was unsupported in other ways. None of it good.

GM surprised me today by commenting that each time she sees me I look younger, lighter in energy. She liked the sweater I was wearing and noted the energy in the colors and pattern of it, how it suited who I am now. Finally she that I looked happy.

I pointed to the grief.

And she agreed there is a lot of it and probably more to come. She noted that in my practice I have cultivated far better tools for working through it. What we eventually came around to what that the support and love I feel now, regardless off it being in the middle of chaos going on around me, has given me a huge perspective shift. I suddenly can gauge the enormity of the grief and fear I felt, particularly as a child when I was expressly forbid from expressing it or punished when I did show it.

My childhood was a near-constant state of extreme tension, fear, uncertainty, and anxiety. Broken up with long periods of being grounded, which was peaceful since I generally passed the time reading. The adults around me weren't supportive in the ways they really needed to be and seethed with anger at most times, always kept just below the surface and let out in vicious, small sentences. And Mom was ill, so often. So many doctor's visits, hospital rooms, and the raw fear of losing my only parent.

That was "normal".

Not that it was good or that I should rejoice over any of the awfulness, it was just my version of normal. I didn't really come to figure out until my 20s just how different my concept of normal was. As I mentioned to CK tonight, I thought it was perfectly normal not have the ability to recall most of my childhood.

To have a relationship that is truly nurturing and mutually supportive feels so unusual from what I'm used to that I feel somewhat destabilized by it. It creates this enormous perspective shift and I suddenly can gauge what merely felt bad was actually horrible. With this shift it seems like I'm being closed in on by all the grief I lacked the clarity to see before.

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