After loss our ability to share how we feel is not as easy as it used to be.
Sharing our truth after a loss becomes an internal experience.
You are not aware of this at first, because you do still externalize the loss to those around you as you are in a mourning period.
But what is taking place is a new type of withholding.
You start to withhold some of your emotions.
The separation between your old life, the friends, everything you had begins with this partial withholding of how distraught you feel.
You cry. You share. You tell them how horrible this feels but yet you know they don’t really understand the magnitude of your pain.
You start to keep things to yourself more and more after loss.
Ultimately within the first 3 months when people ask you the very important question
“How are you doing?” you respond with “I am doing ok I suppose” or “I am hanging in there.”
And that is when the biggest emotional separation sets in.
When everything is different inside of you but everything looks the same on the outside.
You walk around holding onto two worlds, two different emotional states, two different facial expressions.
The months go by and you start to get used to operating with this duality.
You have one person inside of you and another person on the outside.
You learn how to process really difficult experiences on your own.
You learn to rely on yourself more and more.
You learn how not to share and get away with it.
You learn the ultimate alone life experience.
Where you are surrounded by people who only know the you they see and not the you that was created after loss.
Last weekend I had two of my very good friends fly all the way to San Francisco from Boulder Colorado and New York to surprise me.
We had an amazing 24 hours together and for the first time in many years I shared an experience I have held internally within my own emotional processing system.
I just blurted it out. You can imagine how surprised I was.
I was completely taken aback by this as I am the ultimate dual emotional experiencer.
Over the years I learned how to cope on my own.
And I became too good at it.
As I think about the last weekend I realize that maybe after a whole decade of processing on my own maybe finally my two selves that operated throughout all these years are trying to integrate into one.
Maybe I no longer need to process the big scary things on my own.
But letting go of all the mechanisms that we created to survive after loss is not as simple as it may sound.
All the different pieces of us are trying to come back to life at different times and at a different pace.
Some never make it back.
And some make it back many years later in the midst of living life again.
As we go forward slowly and very carefully we need to find a way towards moments of vulnerability where once again we come to a single emotional experience and are able to rely on others when we are going through something difficult.
Even though I am so proud of us for being able to process so much internally and survive the losses we have experienced I would rather we found our way back to sharing our most difficult and scary moments with a friend.