MISSING SOMEONE… Is that Sadness, Fear, Comparison, or LOVE? (Your Body will Tell You)

As my dad–sweeter than ever–seems to be losing shades of what my mind tells me is his ‘old self,’ I resonated with some of the words I posted about SADNESS to a client who has struggled with missing family members after they had gone back home after a blessed vacation week together. Read them here if you’d like.


My sister, brother, and I made the decision yesterday to place my dad TODAY in a memory care facility  (while he’s improving, it’s clear he cannot live alone or at my sister’s). With that realization, I notice there is the open acceptance that now permeates much of my life, and the ability to think clearly and rationally about choices.  But in addition, I notice there have been a number of other feelings hanging around. 

They were just subtly gnawing at my gut all day Sunday. I told myself it was that it felt like we were losing him before we have lost him.  

And yet, when I took another look and just sat with the feelings, I saw that was sort of a party line I had bought into.  We weren’t losing him, he just wasn’t showing up 100% in conformance with the picture my mind has of him from late May.  

I started to see that the nature of what we feel we need to grieve still boils down to a very few things that we can sort out by listening to how they feel in our bodies (and also by not letting pre-conceived notions or societal expectations dictate our reactions.  For example, “Well, you know, when when X happens, you feel …… “).   These well-worn party lines become self-fullfilling prophecies that keep us from REALLY feeling what comes to us to feel.
  • PROJECTION OF FUTURE SADNESS: When we look closely at what we call SADNESS, it is usually a projection onto a future where we are sure we will feel sad, a clinging to a past state we are sure was better, or a resistance to the way things are unfolding.
  • COMPARISON: Most often, it’s just our minds telling us that they know what would be BETTER than what is happening. I realized that in the throes of wanting the ‘old dad,’ the comparison would keep me from getting to know the dad I have now, It would keep me from the rare chance to be in the sweetness of the moment with whoever shows up. The enforced marginalizing of the self-important ego that comes with being around someone who often does not remember what we have said is an amazing, humbling gift that shows us how much we were ‘using’ others to reflect back to us that we were OK. When they are no longer playing along, that leaves the burden of our self-worth in our court.
  • FEAR: Most of what I was feeling was fear for him (again, a projection into the future–as I think he was sleeping peacefully when I was feeling it, and by all reports, he had a great day today moving into the new place despite my story that it would be hard for him).  SO good to realize that our monkey minds SIMPLY do not have a crystal ball and are flat out wrong a huge percentage of the time.  And to keep seeing that while we blame our situation for upsetting us, as if it’s a ‘fait accompli’ that one things triggers another, it always boils down to those pesky thoughts we were believing. These guys are wildly keying instructions into our emotional dashboard for how our bodies will react to let us know “something is wrong!”
  • AN UNCENSORED LEVEL OF LOVE: Finally, as I’ve said before, when we release all those stories and check in, what is left (when sadness is not a cover-up for the tantrum against ‘the way things are’) is that foreign thing called unconditional LOVE. Sometimes, our heart is so open that it feels unfamiliar, almost painful.  And yet when we don’t interpret it as sadness, but consider that it could just be a deluge of LOVE, the pain feels kinda good.  Kinda something we want to grow into.
Sometimes “missing someone” is usually just our filter being down because that person is not right there in front of us (or will be gone soon). This feeling we often label sadness is actually our chance to truly experience a heart-bursting awareness of our love for them. 
And when it’s more than our heart can hold, it comes out as tears… liquid love.
CLICK HERE to read this short “LETTERS TO MYSELF” post about sadness.