Autumnal Tears

There are occasional, almost unbearable moments in which I feel gripped by every instant of sorrow in my life rolled into one enormous, crushing entity of hopelessness. They hit with no prior warning, and at the most inconvenient times. I express emotion through my stomach, which is clenched so tight I can barely move. Every loss, regret, heart-break, unfulfilled desire or pain I have inflicted on others suddenly pours its hurt over me afresh, compounded now by the simultaneous awareness of them all alongside each other. Layer upon layer, I realise that so many have left raw cuts, bleeding still. I dreamt of blood last night – rivers, oceans, a world splashed red, carrying me away.

The blue autumn sky is broken by wisps and rills of soft, pure-white cloud; the air is crisp and fresh. This time of year has become the most sorrowful for me, despite its magical beauty.

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8 thoughts on “Autumnal Tears

  1. Laurel – Advice given me often (by friends and psychologist friends) is “Don’t beat yourself up too much”. Of course we must do our best to live lives that don’t leave too much weaponry in our hands to use against ourselves. It is difficult to know how much we should allow oursleves to be overwhelmed by sorrow and loss and guilt, and how much we can safely distract ourselves from; how much armour it is safe to wear. Somewhere there is a balance. Enjoy the autumn, it is followed by winter. Enjoy your youth – one day you may have varicose veins like me (not likely- your mother had good genes). Enjoy your children – one day they will grow up and leave home, although I hope they will always be a joy to you. with love dirk.

    1. Thanks Dirk. I guess these moments are my balance – days like this are rare, and it feels like this is the price I must pay for all my weeks of coping, and that’s okay. I would have preferred it to be on a day when I could retreat from the world, but then I know it has also been partly triggered by my return to work and being forced into interaction outside of my close circle again.

  2. Hi Laurel, I’m still here listening hard to what you write and would like to give you a big hug and if you were a bit nearer me I would bring food, none of which will chase the dreams away I know. You sound overwhelmed right now, I wish I could help in some way, all I can suggest is maybe work on breathing gently and relaxing your jaw when you are gripped with these experiences and try and ride with and through them, trusting that you will come out the other side eventually, blind faith is maybe a foolish thing to put one’s trust in, but sometimes it works for me.

    1. Thanks so much Joanna. Overwhelmed is exactly the right word! I do have faith, and it drags me forwards; I know that tomorrow will be a better day, and while that doesn’t take away today’s pain, it makes it possible to push ever onwards.

  3. I know I don’t know you, but my heart aches for you and all the pain you feel. I wonder if you might find it possible to write more poetry at all? You write so beautifully, and I wonder if it would help in some small way? The poetry editor Neil Astley writes how poems are a repository for grief when those left behind are expected to ‘get over’ or ‘come to terms’ with their loss. Astley also says that every poem mourning the the death of a loved one is also a poem about love. Tess Gallagher wrote many beautiful poems after her husband, the short story writer Raymond Carver, died. Here are a few lines from her poem ‘Yes’:

    Do you want me to mourn?
    Do you want me to wear black?

    Or like moonlight on whitest sand
    to use your dark, to gleam, to shimmer?

    I gleam. I mourn.

    1. Ah, that is beautiful. Thank you for the support and encouragement; both mean a great deal. I did write one poem last week, which I’m not sure I am ready to share here (though I emailed it to a few friends and family), but perhaps I will be brave enough some time… Poetry certainly does help me a great deal in difficult times.

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