As I began my practice this morning, tuning into the loving voice of guiding us to sit briefly before we found movement, a deep sadness began to surface.
For a moment I considered rolling up my mat and leaving the class.
On this day, in this moment, in a room full of people, could I allow myself to be vulnerable, to risk the chance that the tears might start, that I might spend the majority of the class either in child’s pose, or lying on my back, tears flowing, sorrow surfacing, me, heart wide open, exposed and raw?
Yes, was the answer—I heard it echo through my body, loud and clear. Yes. Stay with it. Move with it. Whatever happens will happen. Embrace this sadness. Embrace your heart. Embrace the vulnerability. Embrace the fear. Yes.
And so, I stayed. I moved. I breathed. I challenged my body. I slowed when it was necessary. I listened to the words and my body and my breath kept me going. It was as if I could hear everything in the universe, so clearly, at that moment. I could feel the sadness alive, and stirring. I could feel the layers upon layers of who I am, and where I came from. I knew what this grief was; I was familiar with it. I wasn’t prepared for it today—when it happens, most of the time, I can feel it coming. But today, she snuck up on me.
This grief has evolved over the almost seven years since my mother died.
At first, it was enormous. It was everything. Everything. Every in-breath was grief and every out-breath was grief. You were grief to me, I was grief to me.
I couldn’t see through it—I barely moved through it.
I made bad choices during those dark times; I hurt myself and I hurt others. I didn’t know what was normal to feel, or do, when someone you love dies. I didn’t know how to move forward and all I wanted to was to numb this never-ending sadness. I wanted it to go away.
And so I drank. A lot.
When I think back to those first couple of years, they are full of blank spaces.
In the end, it was yoga that saved my life. It was a lot of hard work, and working through complicated feelings and a lot of crying. Acupuncture. Therapy. Yoga. Shiatsu. Patience. Talking. Ceremonies. Travel. Losing my shit. Finding my shit. Laughing. And more crying.
When you lose someone that has loved you more than anyone could possibly ever love you, when you lose someone who loves you, and whom you love, it is hard to let them go. It is hard to take the first steps forward. And fast forward almost seven years later, an ocean full of tears later, these days, in moments of quiet, sometimes, the memories sneak up on me. The memory of my beautiful mama. And I miss her terribly. I have learned how to live without her, and I know that she is always with me, but I miss her.
That was what today was about: I missed my mom.
The sadness stayed with me, weaving it’s way through my day.
I had flashes of anger for silly things and I knew this was my grief talking. I did my best to embrace my heart, and hold it in my loving hands and I allowed myself to be where I was.
I have been through this many times, and it changes each time. It lessens. A little each time.
Cupcakes help. Baths help. Falling asleep on the couch, snuggled up to the dog helps. Embracing your heart, with all of your heart.
An adaptation of this piece also has a home on elephant journal.