Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Seek to Live

I am not seeking to be happy
I seek to live
For some time, well into adult hood
I abandoned my naive belief that
happiness is the goal.
Catilin's death punctuated
precisely that
Sorrow and joy live together
both must be acknowledged
both must have my full attention
Happiness is a wish, a fantasy, and fleeting
And that's OK
Life is presence and fluid
And that's what is

I am not seeking to be happy
I seek to live
And in life, I will be content
with tears and smiles

I find that allowing painful and raw emotions to flow out of me
Feelings of anger, fear, jealousy, pity, desire, guilt
To acknowledge them and know them
through some kind of expression
is an outlet to wash clean the heart
Using the same water that bubbles from a spring
a spring of hope that I cup my hands under
and bring to to my lips to refresh
or splash upon my heart to cleanse

In short:
I will always feel sorrow that Caitlin is dead.
I will always feel joy that Caitlin lived and that
I am her mother
I will not shy away from expressing my sorrow
or describing my joy

Why this big-thought? I've been feeling frustrated with the message that one should "focus on the positive." This is not one of those life events where that strategy works or is a healthy approach. I've been feeling irritated with the message that expression of the so-called "negative" emotions should be avoided. Feelings in and of themselves are not bad, and without a healthy way to express what is in your heart and mind, a more insidious and possibly damaging expression will most likely emerge. I'm not interested in converting or swaying others to think as I do, but I am interested in exercising my right to express myself and "give permission" if you will, to others who may feel stifled from expressing what must be released in a healthy way. Ah, but here's where I feel myself launching into the sorely lacking arts education in our children's lives and this is not the place for that "big thought."


  1. People don't like it when we dwell. It scares them. Makes us seem unwell. As though we are clinically depressed...or wallowing.

    It's not true. I agree with you. Grief is not the same as depression. It shouldn't be bottled up or deflected.

    If I tried to bottle up or hold back my feelings right now. I would explode.

    Caitlin's butterfly is pretty.

  2. I'm glad you are so open about feeling and expressing emotions whatever they are. It is so true that sorrow and joy live together. I find my own joy and sorrow completely interwoven and try to fully feel and express both.