Saturday, September 8, 2012

Why a SorrowFull mother? Why not a Sorrowful mother?

My life is full; it is not ful. "Full" implies a wholeness that "ful" does not. I am “completely filled… to my utmost capacity.” I “contain all” that I can hold. My life is and has been full of love, full of frustration, full of joy, full of doubt, full of activity – you name it! But it wasn’t until Brandon was diagnosed with and forced to jump on the treatment merry-go-round for the head and neck cancer that eventually claimed his physical body that I knew what it meant to be full of relief, full of fear, full of hope or full of despair. I thought I’d known sadness and sorrow, but I was wrong. I was so very wrong. I'd known only little sadnesses and little sorrows prior to June 2, 2012.

My life is still full of love, frustration, joy, doubt, activity – you name it. When I laugh, it is still sincere and I still feel full of joy when I hold a grandchild or spend time with one of my adult children. I can jump on my bike and still feel the exhilaration I did when 10 year old. But now my life is also Full of sorrow. The void created by Brandon’s death is vaster than the greatest, deepest black hole in the universe.

Some think sorrow and joy are incompatible emotions, and one cannot feel both. I’ve learned this summer that sorrow and joy co-exist quite well – perhaps not comfortably but well. They tend to chase one another, the one emotion overtaking the other. I can neither cry nor laugh 24 hours a day, although in the moment with either, it is often difficult to see the other sneaking up from behind… My poor family and friends never know which Karen they may get in any given moment. Wait a moment, an hour, a day, and a different Karen will appear. It's a full life, but it's full of conflicting emotions that pop up simultaneously or play tag "you're it" with one another.

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