Winter is Coming

The wall was crumbling. It was cracking and peeling like fiberglass. And, out of the gaps flowed the deepest sadness. I used my hands to cover the cracks. But, every loss I had experienced was still escaping. I placed my back against the wall to hold it up. But, countless stories of human suffering were cascading over the top. I could feel each of them singularly, intimately and intensely.

I was swirling in loss. I was surrounded by sorrow. And, I was drowning in sadness.

It was so much. It was too much. It felt like I was losing control. It felt like I was slipping away.

I felt a fear I had never felt before.

Am I losing my mind? Can I find my way back? Is this how it ends? I did not get to say good-bye.

I began to writhe and whimper.

It woke me up.

I swung my legs out from the under the covers and sat on the edge of the bed. I gripped the mattress like an anchor. And, after taking a couple of breaths, I picked up a pillow, found a blanket, and lay on the floor to stare at the ceiling. I was not going to allow sorrow to consume me, own me.

I have a lot of work to do I thought.

So, I closed my eyes. I charged the wall. And, I threw my shoulder into the sadness. I shoved. I pushed. I captured every sorrow and booted their asses back over the wall. I crumpled up every image of despair and crammed them back through the cracks from whence they escaped. Minute by minute I retook control. I reestablished my autonomy. I cleared the field of every bit of sadness. Except for one. The memory of my Grandmother. I walked over.  I gently wrapped my arms around it. I held it. I felt it. And, after a few moments, I tucked it behind the wall and sealed the final opening.

The alarm went off. I was exhausted. I stumbled into the bathroom, leaned on the counter, and looked into the mirror.

What have you created? I asked myself.

Here is what I have created.

Stories of pain and suffering, stories of hate and oppression, and stories of loss and abandonment continuously stream into my life. I hear about them on the radio. I am told about them by friends and family members. I witness them in endlessly looping videos. And, as they come into my life, I have learned how to protect myself against their debilitating consequences: process them quickly. I take momentary note of them, deposit them behind the aforementioned wall, promise to consider them later, and then get back to work. I do not let them touch me (too deeply). I do not let them distract me. There is too much work to be done. But, in truth, I rarely if ever get around to considering them.

Up until that night, this process seemed effective. I thought I possessed the secret to getting shit done.  However, it seems that my superficial processing of sorrow has created a toxic by-product. Behind that wall, I have my own “sorrow slurry” (see coal slurry).

And, I am not sure what to do with it all.

How do I clean it up?

Do I deal with each sorrow one by one? Do I take them all on at once? What about the sorrows that are coming?

Until I figure this out, I can only do what I know what to do with my other fears. Namely, write about it, share it, and expose it to the light of day. And, of course, go get shit done.


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Thanks. – shawn