Sadness and Solace

Sadness and Solace

                                                Sadness and Solace

I don’t like writing about sadness. However, it is important to write about the things that we don’t want to write about. Maybe more important than anything else we write.

Cheerful roses on a snowy day.

Certainly, from a cathartic view, this is the case.

Why does my body resist when I think of what makes me sad? Why not face those things? Why not try to sort out by importance and impact those things that are lurking in the shadows of my mind. The very things I leave alone, to languish unbidden and unexamined, are the things I need to catalogue and perhaps, even repurpose into life lessons and growing experiences.

Sadness creeps in on little cat feet (to quote Carl Sandburg). It does not overwhelm like a wave, nor does it clatter toward us like a colt. It approaches silently and stealthily and seeps up around us like a mist, rising. Or perhaps it is more like sinking into a bog, thick and tenacious in its hold on us.

Like a bird on a cold day

Sadness can exist side by side with all the happy emotions. Like sundry sets of china in a cabinet sitting side by side, the most disparate emotions, the feelings that confuse as well as those that please reside in us together. That feeling of darkness that descends as certain thoughts and realizations engulf us can paralyze. Sometimes, it rests quietly in the background, hardly raising its head as the joys of a happy and fulfilling life run together.

My mother’s decline causes intense sadness to fill my mind, if I let it go free.  Generally, I do not. I Feel sad, then follow that with a hundred things for which to be grateful.

One must be careful, however, when following sadness with gratitude, not to ignore the sad part. I tend to do this a lot. There are so many wonderful things in my life that I often neglect the sad things. It is major. There is time for both. And ignored feelings do not simply disappear. They tend to collect somewhere in the body and manifest in some way you will not like.

Sadness can be pervasive and play on itself if there is no relief from some other source. That feeling hangs over us and it is indescribable to those who are not also sad. All-encompassing and impossible to escape, the feeling may accompany us wherever we go, insinuating itself into every action, every response. So “sticky” it won’t be ignored, won’t be run away from, won’t detach itself unless we find a key of some sort to open the floodgates of other emotions.

There are a few things that can work quickly. Music and puppies come to mind, first. Who can feel sad when listening to uplifting music? Unless that particular piece reminds us of the cause for sadness, it is almost certain to lift our spirits. Especially if we can sit still and breath into the music, sway inwardly to it. Perhaps, it is literally toe-tapping joyful listening meant to bring us up out of the depths. As suddenly as swimming to the surface of deep water and breaking through to fresh air, joyous music played by a symphony orchestra or a radio disc jockey twirling discs can banish sadness.

Some people relish their sadness and cling to it as a thing to hold close. It gives them feeling where perhaps none existed before. Perhaps it is because they must replace the feeling of love with something else. The sadness is near at hand and becomes a well-loved friend. During this type of internal struggle, it is very difficult to extract oneself. Meeting new people, trying new things, even buying a new dog or moving to a new house or a new country never really enters the reality of the grieving one. They are too numb and too oblivious of the world around them to respond as a normal person might. That point needs to be examined. They are not normal.

Treating a person as if they could just “snap out of it” when they are so deeply saddened by events or loss seems cruel punishment. They are helpless. Would you ask a drowning man to go out to dinner, or take a trip with you, or anything at all while they are busy drowning? No, and the SAD thing is you cannot save them as easily as you could do if all that was happening to them was that they were drowning. It is not that simple. No one WANTS to stay sad in their conscious mind. Even though there are plenty who cling to it, they say they want to be happy again. They even mean it, but it is not that easy.

Sadness is a downer. Figuring out how to get out of it can lead to all sorts of discoveries. If one is brave and curious, the search for a cure to sadness may encourage behavior that would have seemed too risky before. Mountain climbing, cycling cross country, riding in sporting events, motorcycling, white water rafting, ballooning or bungie jumping, all of these raise the adrenaline, which pushes out the sadness to make room for a little terror, and the exultant feeling of accomplishment when these activities are survived.

A tree in sunlight

We in our family used to foxhunt regularly. We had fabulous horses, and we hunted with the best pack of hounds in the USA at that time. Believe me, the rush of pleasure we felt daily in the hunt field, with the cry of the hounds, the cool air, and the scent of leather and horses and once in a while a whiff of fox elicited pure happiness. Sadness, if any was present, had to take a back seat (Or leave altogether).

Everyone can find something they love to do and do it.  I wish you a very short period of sadness and much joy.

Copyright 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson                                                                     ?

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