I just finished watching shadowlands, the film about C.S lewis and the loss of his wife. The film deals with his struggle to make sense of love, loss and pain and how it can exist alongside faith in a loving God. One of my favourite lines is a"we live to know we are not alone".
Nick has been away for nearly a week. The first couple of days were physically painful as i faced the time he is away stretching out before me. But once i was able to see and talk to him via the wonders of skype, i felt so much better.
Talking to him reminded me that our love and commitment remains and that we are the same people, despite the separation. He is still my hubby, just enjoying the sights of Barcelona.
Now i miss him but i am getting on with it.
In the film, Joy, Lewis' wife, challenges him to face the fact that she is dying and not to remain in denial in an attempt to protect the love and happiness during her remission. Instead she says "the pain is part of the happiness. That's the deal". In the past i have run away from pain.
When we lost our first baby when we were 17 weeks pregnant, i could not face my pain. I was afraid of it, of it engulfing me and drowning in it. But facing it was what would have been the only act of mothering that i could have for that child. My fear of my pain robbed me of the validation of loss that pain and grief provide. Pain and grief at love unfulfilled. In a sense i lost the joy of being a mother, even in a small by running from it.
But who could blame me? Pain and grief are experiences that our society leaves us unprepared for.
We have very few rituals of loss which allow open expression of pain and the anger, confusion, raw pain and fear that is part of death. Funerals are well choreographed, it is not polite to lose poise, especially in pakeha culture. Add to this the taboo of children lost in pregnancy and we are all really unprepared for the reality that we all will die.
So what does this have to do with hubby enjoying flamenco and paella on the other side of the world?
Well, that i choose to acknowledge, experience and feel the pain of missing my hubby. I am not enjoying it and i have cried. But facing this small pain reminds me of the miracle of love, finding someone to share this life with, in all its technicolour triumph and tragedy. And as i learn to be in my pain in the small things i believe i will experience more of the joy and reality of this life. Who wants to live a censored existence, partially numb to all that life holds? I don't want pain but what a tragedy if the intensity of love and loss is only experienced variously through literature and film.