A light through the cracks.
During my hospital stay we had group therapy sessions with occupational therapists. My favorite session was without a doubt the emotional intimacy class. We were asked to draw an onion that represented ourselves. On each layer we wrote how we related to people and were asked to list people that fell on each layer.
The labelling of the layers started with the outer layer and we were taught that energy, effort and vulnerability increased as we moved into the inner layer. The outer layer has people like the petrol attendant, the cashier, strangers. The next layer has distant family, your boss- people you only share facts with. The next layer has people you share opinions and judgments with. Obviously those are people you care to share that much of yourself with. The next layer has the people you keep very close and allow to see all of you. Who gets to be in each layer is a very personal choice. The final layer has you.
People can transition between layers. And that was such an eye opening class for me. Often times we make the mistake of meeting people today and immediately placing them in our innermost layer. Seeing those layers helped me understand where and why I’d place anyone on each layer.
What stood out for me is that in losing my boyfriend, his family transitioned to my innermost layer while my own family moved one layer out. His family and I share a common loss which my family doesn’t quite understand as intimately. So for that reason my family moves one layer out while his family moves a layer in because they are the people who understand what I’m going through better.
It helped release the guilt I felt for not having my family more involved in my grieving process. They just don’t get it. So I’m journeying very closely with my boyfriend’s family right now because they get it without me having to explain anything.
Yesterday my boyfriend’s older brother got a new car. He surprised us. What a pleasant surprise! It’s been such a huge blessing to have this new car that I felt like for the first time in four months we were beginning to welcome joy again. I don’t think I’ve ever been that excited for a new car. I’m generally a very excitable person so it makes sense that I struggled falling asleep last night cos of the excitement I felt.
I’ve been thinking about what this car means all day. I was struggling looking at pictures of my boyfriend and I. Well until yesterday. I felt so happy that for the first time I could look at them and not see loss but feel gratitude for having experienced that kind of love.
For people who’re surviving what we are surviving, what a timely blessing the car is! It got everyone excited again. Palpable joy. I really admire the brother’s ability to keep moving forward. Somehow him buying that car snapped me from a space of gloom to one of renewed hope. We can feel joy again. It doesn’t negate the pain. But it says in spite of all we have survived and are surviving, we can dream again and realize those dreams and most importantly, feel joy again.
I’ve been bouncing off walls all day. A new dawn has come. I see the way forward. It’s not brightly lit but there is a light.