Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Shadow Boxing~

Caves and shadows and darkness and not being able to see around you.  It could be frightening.  Or it could be maybe okay.

We live in a hurry up culture and we live in a culture where you're supposed to be happy and positive and everything is feel good.  With an occasional momentary break for a worldwide tragedy but life gets very quickly back on track and the world goes on.  And maybe that's good and necessary but maybe we need to re-think this happy, happy culture.  Maybe we need to give space to the particular darkness that comes about as people grieve.

My daughter had a conversation with me shortly after Chuck died.  I told her I was just in this dark place and she, very wisely, said that maybe there's value there in the darkness.  Maybe the shadows and darkness weren't to be feared.  Maybe beauty could exist in that darkness.

In this past 15 months since he died, (and oh how it freaks me out to write that), I've thought often of that conversation and I've realized how correct she was.  And is.  With a note that, of course, you can't live forever in the darkness etc.


When grief hits, as it will, and that darkness comes, as it does, and we lose our vision, as we do, then maybe, just maybe, our other senses become heightened.  Maybe our hearts see more because our eyes are filled with the veil of tears.  Maybe we trust our instincts more deeply because we know, (or at least I do for me,) that our brains aren't working as they once did, fogged as they are with grief.  

My eyes don't see-there is darkness all around.  So I stand still to get my bearings and I listen more acutely.  I wait to feel my feet solidly underneath me before taking a step, my hands out in front of me, searching for something to grasp.  My sense of touch becomes sensitized as I strive to identify my surroundings.  It's all very tentative and I'm learning to trust my other senses and they become stronger as I rely on them.  When the day comes that I emerge from this darkness, from these shadows of grief, I know I will be deeply aware of myself and life in general because I gave the darkness the time it needed instead of struggling against it and fighting it.

This daughter of mine who is now on the road with me for six months.  She's pretty damn smart.


  1. Alison great post, very beautiful daughter, smart as well. Love the picture.

  2. dear Alison,

    what a beautiful post! and what a wise and lovely daughter you have. you wrote so descriptively about how you respond to the pangs of grief, and I found it truly inspiring as well as reassuring. the part of grief that is so very elusive - what is the trigger? how can one figure it out when that anvil weight is upon one's heart, and we cannot FEEL all the things that we are grateful for, all the things that might give us comfort?

    "I gave the darkness the time it needed instead of struggling against it and fighting it." thank you for those words. I am learning to do the same but sometimes I get stuck. then my only outlet is what I call "writing for my life", a journal of my grief, sometimes beginning with just stream of consciousness blather. but eventually a pattern emerges and the darkness reveals what I need to connect with. I will incorporate a lot of what you talk about with your own process - thank you so much for sharing it.

    much love,

    Karen xox