Two very strange things occurred to me in the wake of Josie’s parting. Only now do I make mention of them, but they have long since sparked my curiosity. Also, I am very interested to know if this is something that others have experienced?
The first is this: My whole person felt as I did when I was 19 or 20… the “before Josie” me. I was 22 years old when she was born. When I say I felt like I was 19 again, I mean in spirit…like it was just me again in this big, lonely world. I had forgotten what it felt like to be me before I had a family of my own. This sensation was neither good nor bad—it was simply a very strange moment of recollection and clarity for me.
I have always marveled how, after the birth of each one of my children, it felt as if they had always been there. In fact, I could not really even recollect what it felt like to be me without my husband and children. I still cannot quite explain how, all of a sudden, I was experiencing life as that 19 year old—full of vulnerabilities, but also with great inner strength and courage.
Only now am I beginning to make some sort of logical explanation of this phenomena. The only way I can best explain it, is that my daughter’s presence added something grand and significant to my humble little soul. When she passed to the other side, I was once again left with only my humble little self… Yes, I still had my husband, and 3 other precious children whom I adore, but in the aftermath, all I could sense was my horrific loss. It was all-consuming….exposing every part of me—especially my vulnerabilities.
The second strange thing was this: As ironic and contradictory as it sounds, I felt like I had become an old lady overnight—not that I know what it’s like to be really old, but I imagined that’s what being old felt like! For example, I was sooo slow, and did not feel the need to rush anywhere for anything! I was content to just sit and watch the birds, water my plants, poke around in the garden… things that had once been of top priority were no longer even relevant.
I was content to just be left in peace, and my children seemed to be under the same spell. I found myself engaged in activities that I had always envisioned myself doing as an “old lady.” Suddenly, there was all the time in the world to go on long walks, to take the children to the park, to visit with old friends and family, to knit a scarf….Before, I was always under a time crunch to get things done and be in certain places by certain times. Now, none of that mattered. What mattered was my fleeting time, and spending every second with those I love.
The “old me/younger me” is simply a part of my new normal. It has become a most curious blessing. I so wish I had better ways of describing these strange phenomena. Though I feel most exposed now, I also feel strong and free of any pretenses. I have greater courage and resolve to do what I believe is important in life, and I will no longer allow others to dictate how I choose to use my precious time here.