Taken By Surprise

Grief is a strange thing. You know how it’s easier to deflect one’s energy to a smaller concern than cope with a huge one? Sometimes it’s easier to fuss about the thing that appears to matter when one isn’t ready to deal with the real issue. This came up for me tonight in a major way. There was an object promised that has not materialized, and a long time had passed (over a year) without much indication as to when it would. I became very focused on the soreness I felt in its absence and over the lack of information about when it would arrive. This came to a head in recent days, from which a good manifested: information and discussion leading to understanding. When I talked with Husband tonight about the catalyst for my roiled emotion about the Missing Object, it became clear tonight that the tension around was masking something deeper for me — grief. Grief over:

  • leaving behind friends and family in Austin;
  • giving up my counseling career, which I had worked toward creating for 14 years;
  • losing two pregnancies last year;
  • having a wedding smaller than I imagined having because circumstances forced certain choices (what we had was sweet and joyful, but if my father-in-law hadn’t been ill and dying, we would have had a bigger affair with our families converging);
  • the fact I’m getting older and still am “in flux” with my profession, still unestablished, still lacking confidence and polish;
  • and ultimately, grief over my father-in-law’s death. The grief is about losing his presence in my life, and it is also about losing the future with him in it.

All these losses occurred in a span of 15 months. Pretty heavy stuff, and it came up at the end of a very long day.

Knowledge helps — both the knowledge about the what as going on with the Missing Object and the knowledge about what this is really about for me. Neither bit of knowledge fixes anything immediately, but the information provides relief and clarity.

I need to sleep now.

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8 Comments on “Taken By Surprise”

  1. Shirl Says:


  2. Shirl Says:


  3. Imelda Says:

    Yes, you need to sleep, and to be cossetted, and to have someone say “there, there” There, there. sleep well

  4. Pat Says:

    If you were to take a paper and make two columns, the good and the bad, you have pretty well filled in the bad side.

    Now, how about the good side? From what I gather, it appears you get along nicely with your husband, which is no small accomplishment.

    You seem to have outlets for your creative expression, judging from your site here.

    And I would just have to leave it up to you to find a couple of additional entries for the “good” side.

    Best as always–

  5. Fran Says:

    your ah-hah moments, painful as they are, open up the life energy. You are so well read, Kathryn, but did you read Judith Viorst’s Necessary Losses ages ago? That book remains one of my favs. Your plate has been very, very full and I’m glad you are having insight. I watched Off the Map last night on DVD. I bet you would enjoy that right now, if you haven’t seen it already. Thinking of you.

  6. Kathryn Says:

    Thank you all. I did read Necessary Losses ages ago, but perhaps it would bear re-reading. And I’ll make a note of the movie.

    And Pat, yes, I agree it’s good to focus on the positives. What I intended to explore in this post was how surprising the mourning process is, and how incomplete. You think you’re done and discover you’re not. I’ve been very happy of late and quite content — except regarding this Missing Object and the emotional baggage associated. It all came to a head last night; what I thought I was upset about was really something else (the list of losses). While I feel a bit wrung out, I also feel a lot of relief today for the clarity last night’s discussion provided.

  7. la peregrina Says:

    your ah-hah moments, painful as they are, open up the life energy.

    I like that, it explains why people get so tired when it happens.


  8. Marilyn Says:

    I love these sorts of moments, as painful as they can be. And it always amazes me in my own life how good I can be at masking what’s really going on by painting layers of other superficial stuff on top of it. re Fran’s comment…this is the second time in 24 hours someone has mentioned “Off the Map”…it’s sitting on our coffee table from Netflix…guess I need to watch it… 🙂