Breaking the silence


The reluctance I’ve felt to write on this blog has been difficult to resist. There are lots of reasons I haven’t done it, including my failure to maintain a writing habit, as well as a sense that a change of direction is needed, which added to my procrastination. But it also reflects a deep silence within me that I haven’t wanted to disturb or unsettle by drawing words out.

I’m still not sure I want to: it’s a silence that calls for respect. It’s a silence that represents a pause, a space between what is past and the present. In this place I can acknowledge that the hard work of grieving has been done. It seems that grief was my main focus for over two years following Mark’s death. It isn’t any more. By no means does that mean I don’t miss him, or don’t feel overwhelming sadness about his absence from my life, but the process of grief, the strong current that flows through your body, at times with incredible force, that seems to have stopped.

Grief was the cry that the loss of Mark forced out of me, the expression of the pain and suffering brought about by him being ripped from my life. In that sense, grief is a marking of a wrong, the outpouring of all the feelings that ultimately say this person mattered, our love mattered. Life matters.

I’ve written about the process of letting go that was necessary during this time, a letting go that was an acknowledgement that there was nothing that I knew that I could draw upon to make sense of this experience. I could only let myself drop into the depths and allow the current to carry me along, learning as it did what I needed to do to stay afloat.

It was after the grief was expressed that the silence came. It’s an insistent silence, one that carries weight and demands frequent spells of solitude and quiet. It settled in after a period of waiting began, a time that I equate with the process of sensing what the emerging future as outlined in Theory U. During this time I’ve learnt that this can take longer than we might expect, that it’s a process that can’t be rushed or hurried along.

But gradually, slowly, I’ve begun to sense the flickering light of something new catching my eye. Underneath the silence, or within it, I glimpse fine threads that I want to follow, pick up, maybe weave together, create something with. It’s intricate work that needs to be done carefully. These threads are not disconnected from the past, but they will, I hope, form something new, something of substance that will constitute the new life I wondered about even as I mourned the loss of the old one.

But what seems different is the way that these new threads flow outwards, seeming to connect me to the world in a new way. The silence keeps me in check, preventing me from racing ahead to follow them or make sense of them.

This, it turns out, is another time of letting go – this time of preconceived ideas about the pattern that is emerging. But if the shadows of the past only shape a rehashed version of the old, where can we go in order for our imaginations to be nourished by fresh visions that can give shape to something new?