Thursday, February 20, 2020
Three things about feeling guilty (and sunsets)
I actually had a post planned about three things that are on my mind these days, but this one thing took a whole lot of words, so I kind of cheated and cut it into three parts.
1 I've been struggling a lot lately with feelings of guilt about leaving my family behind. I knew when we made this decision (over two years ago already, wow) that this would be the one reason for having a hard time with our move, but I thought I'd work through it and, you know, be done with it. But it keeps coming back. I've been trying to push it back in the wrong way (taking valerian and emotional binge-eating), but of course that makes it only worse. I think this may be the reason for a lot of things not going to well right now (my health included).
2. I was thinking about this (feeling frustrated about it, actually) and I realized I will probably always feel like this. Because that's normal. Don't all parents (mothers?) feel guilty sometimes about things they should have done differently? Don't all children (daughters? - I've noticed it's mostly women who suffer from guilt) feel like they should be doing more for their aging parents? Yes, our move made things harder and I'll have to deal with that. But not moving would have made T,'s life miserable and I surely would have felt guilty about that.
So, what I'm trying to say here is that I think I should accept (yes, that's my word for 2020) that feeling because it's there for the long run.
I think Carole once wrote about "leaning into sadness". I really need to learn that. Lean into it when it's too strong and go on with my life when it's just background noise.
3. Also... (trying to put those feelings into words helped me see through the raw feelings): I need to remind myself that love isn't limited by circumstances.
Circumstances (in my case the distance between us) are no more than a practical obstacle and there are ways to work around those. I can't sit next to my family often, hold their hands or put an arm around their shoulders. I also can't help them physically (you know, by driving them somewhere, or helping them clean).
But our love language has always been the strongest in talking and listening. So much talking. Talking through problems, talking through hard times, not so much by stating prefab solutions, but by just listening, asking questions and thinking out loud, together. Or just talking and listening and keeping up with their lives, even if it's just about the small things. And no, phone calls aren't ideal and I never really liked using the phone (it's a thing - one of the girls has it too, though she can easily hang out on the phone with me for hours).
But it's the one thing I can do from here and it's an important thing: be there, be available. Talk, listen, even if it is for hours and hours. Sometimes calling my girls or my parents feels like adding another thing to my neverending list of things to do, another hour taken away from days that already feel too short. But it's not a to-do, it's not a waste of time, it's an act of love.
So, if you'll excuse me... I've got people to call ;-)
On a brighter note (ha! pun sort of intended), here are three sunsets for you to enjoy:
Linking up with Carole's Three on Thursday