Thursday, September 19, 2013

I Need a New Verb Tense

This is what I discovered this week: present and past tense no longer work for me; I need a new verb tense...

I awoke one morning with a feeling of heaviness around my heart and shoulders. After a shorter asana practice, I sat down to meditate, with the idea that I could "fix" the situation through concentration. I pushed, scratched and attempted to negotiate the feelings away, but couldn’t shake them. After a few minutes, I decided to embrace them. As I took the sadness in, I noticed some space around my heart and my breath came a little easier, but it still felt labored. I set my intention to softly hold the sadness, to look for the joy in the small spaces that day, and to expand into any that I might find. I went about my morning and found little bits of humor here and there, and did my best to shake off the challenging emotions. I had a conversation with one of the most upbeat, contagiously happy people I know, and I found myself smiling.

Around 11 am I found out that a friend had passed away, and all the sadness that I had sat with began to pour out of me. I was no longer heavy. I was floating on a river of grief. 

When I tried to communicate to people about losing my friend, I realized that the current options of verb tenses no longer worked.

My heart didn’t resonate with the idea that she no long was. 

I love her still; therefore, she still exists. 

How can I speak of her in the past tense?

I spoke to someone who lost her father over 10 years ago. She still catches herself using present tense when speaking of him. She still reaches for the phone to talk to him. Our hearts do not know past or present.

I want a verb tense that describes the in-between state, the gray mist that fills the gap until I am ready to speak about my loved ones in the past tense.

20 years ago, my grandmother left this world. She was a big influence on me, larger than I could possibly impart with my limited words. She continues to meet me in my dreams. I hear her in my daughter’s voice sometimes. How can she be gone, my heart asks my head? If I still feel her, remember her, learn from her, is she really gone?

I still can hear my friend’s voice. See her perfectly manicured nails. Feel her very tight hugs. I smile now, remembering when I asked her to hug me a little less tightly because she was cracking my neck each time. Even during her weaker days, when she was bed-ridden, she could  still crack my neck! How can that strength be gone from this world? My heart tells my brain that her strength is still here. 

She still is. 
She will continue to be.

The picture to the right is from my 40th birthday party celebration, a memorable day for many reasons. Karen (on the right in the picture) and I had a silly greeting that included bending forward and wagging our "tails", like how happy dogs great their beloveds. When Karen showed up to the party, we greeted each other that way, not realizing that her "tail" was pointed directly at the band, and mine was pointed directly at the audience. Once we realized what a show we gave everyone, it made us laugh even more.

How blessed I am to know someone who shows that much enthusiasm and joy in everyday life.

Shows... showed...

I need a new verb tense. Something between is, continues and was. Maybe once I find that proper term, the heaviness in my heart and head will let up.

Still wagging for you, Karen.