In the last few weeks, I have been asked, “How are you doing?” many, many times by loved ones, dear friends and colleagues. They are referring to the recent loss of my father. Each person who has asked this question is so loving, thoughtful and kind. They are ready to step in with anything that I may need at a moment’s notice. It’s incredible.
So, why do I feel stumped when attempting to answer this simple question? I find myself choosing which answer I am going to give from a possibility of dozens. All the answers are true but do not present the multifaceted emotions and states I find myself in.
I’ve even asked the very same question of my mum, and siblings. I really want to know how they are navigating through their grief and if there’s anything I can do to help them through the challenges that invariably come with unexpected change. More than that though, I want to know what this experience feels like to them. I wonder if they are encountering joy, vast moments of light filled emptiness or darkness and uncertainty.
These are a few of my most recent responses to this question-
“I’m doing well. Thank you.”
“It’s a process.”
“I have nothing to say right now.”
“Please leave me alone.”
“Can we talk about something else.”
“It doesn’t feel real.”
“I’m completely heartbroken and at peace with what has happened.”
“I feel lucky.”
-but if I could I’d much rather ask a question back, “What do you really want to know?”
I ask this because I want to talk about this experience that I am in and tell you that it is illuminating, startling, big, and it makes me feel like I am free falling. I am not scared but I may seem a little detached from life.
I feel like there is a wild sandstorm swirling through me. At times it is golden and fast as it sloughs off layers of stuckness, memories and grief. I realize during this time that some of the loss or sadness or hurt I am feeling has nothing to do with my father’s death but rather his death has spotlighted areas that were hidden from my view.
Sometimes, I feel full to bursting point. Time has no edge and I look like I’m staring at nothing or that I am lost in thought, but I am listening and feeling another world and that world is reaching into this world through my senses and being.
It is peaceful and reassuring. Coalescing.
This time feels precious, I want to immerse myself in it fully. It feels like I’ve been invited to step through this portal as a guest; to see, feel and learn how wide open the cosmos is and how expansive and multidimensional we truly are.
That is my answer.
How about you? How do you answer that question when you are going through something difficult or deeply transformative? Please share your thoughts with us if you feel like doing so.