Gratitude for the Sadness

I thought I was gonna make it through March.  I made it past the 18th, took a sigh of relief on the 19th, and then woke on the 20th with a heavy heart.  I feel sad.  I’ve learned over the past 19 years to identify the feeling, to acknowledge it, to voice it, to let it wash over me, pass through me, and then to let it go.  Feelings are temporary.

A part of me is relieved to feel the sadness this morning.  I’d like to sit with it today.  To be alone and reflect on all of it.  I’d write a lot.  I’d read a lot.  I’d look over old photographs and remember a lot.  I’d think about his life and how it impacted mine.   I’d appreciate my children and find ways to share with them the memories.  I’d cry and I’d laugh.  I would let the tears flow with no fear that they wouldn’t stop.  I use to hold tears back for that reason.  I couldn’t let myself feel the full scope of the emotion for fear of not being able to get a grip on my self and being swept away without an anchor to hold me in this place.

I’m more grounded now.  More certain of my self and more faithful in the process.  Today I would relish in that.  I’d taste the tears as they flowed freely down my face, no need to wipe them away.  I would breathe into each one with no fear of drowning.  And with each tear that fell, I would feel his tender kiss on my cheek.  I would feel his smile on my face and his arms around my shoulders.  I would sit with that all day, wrapped in the energy of a love I am so grateful to have known.

He’s here with me now, closer than he’s ever been.  Each March I feel the strength of that love.

I’m learning to welcome this feeling, to feel gratitude that I am blessed to have known a love that 19 years later still calls to my heart with a breath of sadness.  Today I will breathe that in.  I will breathe in that love and I will breathe out gratitude.

Donald Ray Watson, aka Dad, aka Pop-pop –  6/29/1926 – 3/18/1994

It doesn’t get better. It just gets different.

March.  It does this to me every year.  This morning the emotions are strong and the memories are vivid.  I feel his presence as if he will walk in the room any minute now.  I’ve come to accept this pattern.  The first few years I was caught off guard.  March would roll around and I was moody and off balance.  Several times the 18th of the month snuck up on me before I realized what was happening.  Now, I anticipate the feelings, the overwhelming onslaught of memories, and the knowing that he is near.

Everywhere I go there are white-haired men with rosy cheeks and jolly laughs, people whistling show tunes, and Sinatra playing around each corner.  I hear his voice, remember his stories, and feel his embrace.  I look at my children and he is here.  In moments of doubt I hear his words, a constant reminder that I’m a good mother and I am loved.

While the spontaneous tears can be inconvenient and often embarrassing, I don’t resist anymore.  I’ve learned to embrace this time of year, to even welcome it, for at no other time is he so close to me.  The next few weeks will be filled with dreams.  He’ll speak to me in daisies and he’ll hug me close with the warm rays of Springtime sun.  Dad passed from this life 19 years ago but he didn’t go far.