For the first time in my adult life, I have chosen solitude. In some ways, it was chosen for me. When my mom passed away, I felt like a lost little ship, floating around in a great big sea of strangers. No one knew me like my mom, and certainly no one would sympathize with me like her.
Since her passing, many people have reached out to me in an attempt to ease the loneliness, lessen the pain, and take the edge off the grieving process. While I’ve been through many deaths, and handled them all like a pro, my mom’s has been very different. Her life was longer than my dad’s, and fuller, but it was much too short for me to accept entirely. On so many levels, I find myself wanting to be just like her. At the same time, there are many things I hope to accomplish that she did not. One of those is that I want to live, not just work, not just go through the motions. I want to touch lives and have the lives of others touch me.
She grew into this idea when she was diagnosed with Cancer. But at that point, her path had been limited by her disease and the weakness that it brought to her physically. Her spirit was full of determination that her body could no longer fulfill.
So why, with this ‘touching others’ mentality would I choose solitude? In short, it’s because I want there to be more of me to give, and I want to be present enough to receive.
I remember when I was younger, sitting back from time to time, and going through the memories that I had made. Looking back was a healthy and healing process, and it created a big picture that always brought me to a center. As a mother and a boss, I often get so caught up in directing others that I lose my own way. In a sense then, solitude creates a void that can only be filled with reflection. I see it as part of my grieving process. Not a part that will become my existence, mind you, but a part that’s absolutely necessary in going forward.
We all have our ways of coping. Some people cope in the wrong ways. I’ve done that too. But I found that I really wasn’t coping as much as I was escaping. When I sobered up, I always found that I was more lost than I had been before the escape itself. Everything we do, every place we end up, is because of how we cope. I guess the biggest rule that I’ve come to live by is this; in order to be who I want to be, and to serve the purpose God intended for me, I need to first understand my poor choices and correct them. I can’t expect for God to change my life if I’m not first willing to change myself. For me, that begins in solitude and (hopefully) ends in acceptance, and the determination to live stronger, not harder. Life is hard enough. Fighting the current only perpetuates misery. I choose happiness.