I was reading a friends blog, Nancy's Point and I realized that getting away can give you a chance to refresh and re-energize. It can also be a source of anonymity; after all you are just another face in the crowd. No one knows what is happening in your world, nor do they care. They like you are 'getting away' leaving their world behind to take a break, much needed rest, and to forget about their worries.
I have had many opportunities to be among people who know very little or nothing at all about me. It is really a great feeling, they have nothing to compare you to, no standard to go by, and no pre-conceived ideas about how you should act or behave. It honestly gives you a chance to truly be who you are, no restrictions (other than avoiding anything illegal, of course), it is dreamy to say the least.
Right after Rachel's death that is what I longed for the most. I preferred total strangers to family and friends. It wasn't that I did not want or appreciate their company, it was just that I wanted to feel 'normal,' to feel like everyone else, to blend in. A place where I didn't have to explain myself, discuss my daughter's death, her funeral and everything in between. Maybe if I blended in with everyone else, the pain would be more bearable, the hurt would somehow subside, maybe I could stop the tears, all that I now recognize as a form of denial, a way to push away the inevitable reality of my situation.
But was that the only motivator? No, I needed to give myself space, to find neutral ground, to find places where I could be me. These escapes relieved me of the label that I wore around family and friends, that of being a parent who had had to bury her child, who had lost a daughter to death. It allowed me to let down my guard, remove my mask, and breathe. When I needed the understanding and comprehension of others, I sought out those individuals who knew me, knew my situation, and understood some of my pain.
It is really funny how we find ways of coping, of regrouping, of moving forward. How we look for our strength not only in our family and friends, but from the knowledge that the total stranger does not know me. There is a stigma that surrounds death, a belief that an individual must and should act a certain way. That a bereaved individual must refrain from certain activities, avoid public places, and be required to wear certain clothes, etc. For some people, this works for them, for me it just meant that I was being forced to conform to something I'm not. Being with total strangers freed me from these imposed constraints.
I am a free-thinker by nature, I like to look at everything from every angle, and I detest being pushed into something that I don't feel is right or necessary; it is like trying to put a square peg into the round hole. So when opportunities presented themselves that allowed me to 'get away' I did. I would find solace in knowing that I was just another person going about their business, able to just melt into my surroundings. To quote Nancy, 'to be free.'
Many of you may find it difficult to get away, no time, maybe it can't be done for financial reasons, or any number of things, but you can create your own 'mini-vacation' or 'getaway.' I like the seashore, and am very fortunate enough to live close by the ocean. For some there are mountains and lakes, for others maybe just a park or nature preserve. Others find that a stroll in their very backyards does the trick. Find your special retreat place, get away to it once in a while, allow yourself to let go of all the constraints of your situation, or the restrictions placed on you by others, and to be free. One of the comments I read on Nancy's Point was that they went out into their garden, and just planted, weeded or simply sat and looked at the flowers and plants, and that was enough to relax and renew them, to let themselves feel 'normal' again.
You will find your way through your grief, a way of coping with your pain, a way to being 'normal' again and a way to live. Know that even though you know you are a very different person, that your life has changed, not everyone else does, and there is liberation in this knowledge. A realization that you can go out again, that you can walk through the mall, sit in a theater, or just simply go out for dinner, without the pity, stares and whispers from familiar faces. When I get the chance to take a vacation, or a business trip as I have recently done on both counts, it is great to know, that I am just another person stepping off a plane or getting out of my car in a new location. I am someone totally new, in a new situation, with a chance to have a new start, even if it is only temporary.
So live your life, step out once in a while, and take a break, giving yourself space. This space will allow you to grow, to understand and to accept your situation, giving you to strength to go on, helping you find ways of dealing and coping, forming the 'new' person you are becoming. So pack your bags, whether it be actual luggage, or your emotional baggage, and get away, find that place that lets you be you, while allowing you to be just 'another face in the crowd.'
Blessings! and until we meet again.