Today a cousin, who actually reads my Facebook page and blog, tells me that she is worried about me. First of all, thank you. It’s good to know that you care enough to take your time to read what I write. It’s good to know that you care about me. And, it’s good to know you took the risk and the time to express your concern. That’s a leap in my family.
I was going to title this post “Don’t Worry. Be Happy.” because I am a believer that whatever happens is what was supposed to happen. So, don’t worry about me. Also, whatever happens in the short term or the intermediate term may be uncomfortable, but whatever happens to me in the long term, i’ll be just fine. But, as I was coming back to “reality” this morning, lying in my bed at that time of day when the intellect is still mostly shut down and my intuition can come through the post morphed into writing about ambivalence.
Ambivalence is a funny word. It’s one of my favorites. I love the English language because there’s a word for everything (and many words that are just superfluous). You hear ambivalence so rarely. It’s often (I think usually) misused. I worry about the word ambivalence. Because language is a dynamic thing, if enough people use a word a certain way for long enough, its very definition changes. I think even the dictionary tends to short change the word ambivalence. To be ambivalent is more than just being undecided. It is more than just mixed feelings. It’s two opposing feelings coexisting. To be ambivalent is more than to not care about an outcome. To be ambivalent means to be torn between opposing desires or opinions.
As I’ve been blogging this journey I’ve tried to make clear my ambivalence. I’ve tried to express the balancing act. I can see how people can read a post or two and think either a.) I’m over this. I got this. I’ve got a perspective that has allowed me to just breeze through it. I’ve accepted the impermanence of life. I’ve realized the transcendence, Shayna is right here with me and all is well. or b.) I’m about to put a gun in my mouth and pull the trigger. I’ve lost all will to live. I just want this to be over. I can’t handle it any more. The reality is it’s both. That is what I’ve tried to express. There was that time when I put a knife to my ribcage and fantasized about plunging it into myself and just getting this over and the time when I fantasized about driving my car off the road and being instantly taken into Heaven. I’m on a Facebook group with about 7,000 grieving parents. Just about every day, at least several times a week, a mother (why is it always a mother) will post that all she wants to do is go be with her deceased child. Many times the only thing keeping her here is another living child. My feelings are not unique. They are far from unique. They’re way more common than you’re led to believe because we’re not allowed to express them in our society. People will think we’re crazy. It’ll make people uncomfortable. Sorry.
True ambivalence feels like it’s ripping you apart. It’s like having two horses one tied to each arm and they’re going in opposite directions. The forces have to balance to maintain stasis. But, even in that stasis there can be great pain and discomfort. The good news is as I’m making this journey, the ripping seems to be less. Every day the gap closes. This eases the tension between staying here with Tywana and Kayla versus being Home with Shayna. The gap has closed by 370 days from where it began. If I think too much about the gap and I think about it being years or decades I can get out of balance. I can’t deal with that. I just want to be Home. But, even in those moments I know I’m not quite ready to go yet. The will to live is still there, even if only for a little while. I can make it another day, maybe another week. As long as I keep the focus there, I’m OK. For now I can live with the ambivalence and as long as it’s ambivalence, I’ll be OK.