Pain, That Common Ground

Paula Wychopen, a seeker of beauty in the everyday, is a writer, mother, widow, and former caregiver for her chronically ill husband, Forrest. The eighteen years she cared for her husband at home were the most difficult and blessed years of her life. Their four children are her most treasured gifts, and she writes to leave a legacy for her children and grandchildren.

Healing, loving thoughts toward all those struggling today. I am with you, in my own pain. It’s the human condition, isn’t it? A common ground that unites us, this pain.

Grief has been present again, rolling in waves today, larger than usual. And with this grief comes stressful thoughts, and heart aches. Memories which usually comfort, currently inflict pain and cause me to long for my love. Empty arms, gaping holes of absence, which can never be filled.

While sometimes we want to run from these unpleasant feelings, or stuff them, attempting to ignore them, they must be dealt with in healing ways. Avoiding those complicated coping mechanisms that lead us into consequences of more pain, instead of health.

So today, with tears rolling down my face, I snuggle into my beautiful wrap, and sit outside under the pergola, in my fabricated happy place. I embrace the wind blowing in from all directions, as it rustles through the trees and shrubs surrounding me. I allow my hair to fly across my face, unruly, untamed.

I listen to his chimes as they ring out a tangled tune, reminding me that his love stays with me in spite of his physical absence. It dwells in those deep places.

I absorb the sunlight bearing down on my back, my neck, my shoulders, warming me, reminding me that the worlds continue in their ancient patterns and will continue on long after I’m gone. There is a constancy in this.

I sit in my feelings, honoring them for what they are. Love. In all its glory and suffering. I do not control this life. This life that can sometimes feel so out of control. I cannot drive away the pain, just as I cannot chase after peace. It comes in unexpectedly.

In the midst of these big feelings, my life, my heart feels small. I can sometimes feel insignificant. But I am not insignificant. I live.

And because I live, I must experience all that life brings. Pain, love, suffering, joy, dread, and anticipation. It seems that each emotion has its counterpoint. I know this pain will pass. As it always has. And I will once again be able to feel gratefulness, hope. And peace.

So I surrender myself, and let the wind blow and the waves wash through my heart. I wait for the calm to come.

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