I got a brochure in the mail that had pictures of Budapest in it. I left Hungary, and Budapest, the capital I was born and lived for 34 years 32 years ago.
Every time I considered grieving, a song welled up in my head, a song about home and home sickness. It’s about longing, and it’s about regret. And I refused to regret anything. Like Edith Piaf, Je ne regrette rien. No regrets. 1
But yesterday it got through to me, and unexpectedly, I started to sob, uncontrollably. No words, none. Just sobbing.
The witness aspect of me watched it, dry eyed, with curiosity. What is this crying about? What is the emotional content of it? And if it was there all this time, why did it wait to come out 32 years? (I identify myself with the witness, by the way… The Main Me… you could say.)
I have been denying the meaning that maybe I made a mistake. That maybe I regret having left that beautiful city. That maybe I got myself in worse situation by my move. That maybe I lost out.
And when you deny “the meaning”, you need to deny the source of it.
It’s undeniable that I left, so I had to just suppress the grief that came with the meaning: I probably made a mistake.
When I look at my life, I see that there is nothing much to grieve about the action or fact. It is always the meaning that I have grieved: loss, loss of chance, loss of potential. It’s painful.
And suppressed it can be the enemy of moving forward. Of really choosing life without the person or whatever you lost.
I don’t think I have ever made America my home, my choice. My commitment, my devotion is not there… hm. How interesting. I never put all I got into making it work.
Maybe this is a pattern that makes people, you, never do your best where you are now.
You experience loss, you refuse to grieve, and grieve enough so that your heart is yours again, free to give to whatever or whoever you choose. Maybe your heart is still hanging out “not grieving” your loss.
Grieving a loss is not only natural, it is good. Failed businesses, failed relationships, failed hopes and dreams have a way of take the wind out of your sail… and your sail is now flopping but isn’t allowing your boat to sail.
Think about that. Dig out the unfinished sorrow, dig out the ungrieved losses, and let’s grieve. It’s a process, and it is finite. You grieve, and then it’s done.
You know you are done because the wind catches your sail and you start seeing movement.
There is no other proof that I know.
I am going to do this myself. I’ll take a few hours a day to remember, to lick my wounds, and to grieve.
My life will be better for it. And yours…
- Edith Piaf grieved a lot, and also suppressed her grief by drugs, sex, and other ways. But when you actually do your grieving in earnest, looking at all your losses, you can become someone with no regrets, unburdened, unhindered, flying.
On youtube I listened to other singers performing the same song. They were pretending. They were lying. Edith Piaf is telling the truth, and the comparison was more convincing than anything. She says “I don’t regret anything” and it is true. The other singers are trying to convince you and themselves, conning you into believing them somehow… how interesting… can you see your own con there?