"Sadness is but a wall between two gardens." ~ Khalil GibranWe've just about had it about the sadnesses, haven't we? We've had enough of pain, suffering, the recollections of the might have beens, the if onlys. We've experienced in our lives as parents of addicts more pain and suffering than one person should in a lifetime, yet we have persevered and broken through the barriers, of our own creation, to happiness. Even so, we often look upon our children in the thrall of The Addiction or even our children in recovery and feel their pain, our pain, once again.
Etymological side note: Thrall is derived from the Old English thrœl, meaning "Slave."It's our first inclination to push these sadnesses to the side, not in ignorance of them but to feel, briefly, the pain and immediately fahgetaboutit. Their pain is not our pain we have learned. We have learned to replace the pain and catatonic state The Addiction would have us wallow in with an undying love for our children and a constant motivation to keep moving, living our lives to our fullest potential.
The sadness never happened.
The pain won't get us anymore.
This, like our instinctive reaction to The Addiction's siren calls can become our go-to response to any of life's challenges or even minor, troubling interruptions in our normal routines.
This is NOT good. We're not Vulcans. One of our many wonderful characteristics that make us so marvelously human is our ability to feel emotion, truly absorb the effects and then ... learn, and move on. We know we have truly grown and taken those many steps to becoming REAL when we can experience pain, sadness, take it in, recognize its origin and in a way smile at our self realization and our priceless vulnerabilities.
Sometimes the sadnesses don't bring us to our knees or buckle us in our tracks as did the first realizations brought by The Addiction, but are simply felt as loving, emotional responses deep within our core being.
I experienced one of these sadnesses recently just prior to one of my marathon training, Saturday morning long-slow-distance runs (with 250 or so of my closest friends). My wife would be running a half marathon trail race the next day so she would not be joining me in this particular Saturday workout. As I pulled into the parking space I felt an emptiness. I missed my wifey being there. For some strange reason I was immediately grateful for this sadness and even more grateful I was able to feel it. The sadness was soon replaced by a joy born from all we had been through and how our love had prevailed - through it all. This sadness brought me to a higher plane, to a plateau from which I could view my life from a perspective of contentment.
I rocked the training run!
The sadnesses will come and go - give yourself the permission to feel them. You may find yourself confronted with sadnesses seemingly unrelated to your children who have succumbed to The Addiction. Or are they unrelated? It doesn't really matter.
Don't fear these sadnesses as they arrive - feel them without overthinking, embrace them, take them in. There are reasons the sadnesses find you.
You might be surprised where these little awarenesses will take you.
Enjoy the view!