This weekend is Thanksgiving here in Canada. But it’s also the weekend my dad is remarrying. My parents separated about a year and a half ago, and Dad got engaged this May, right around the time my parents’ settlement was finalized. To be brutally honest, it feels rushed, and I’m having difficulty reconciling my emotions with my dad’s desire to have a big happy church wedding with all the hoopla that goes along with that. Grief. Sadness. Loss. Emotions entirely at odds with celebration. I realize this is his wedding, not mine. He is obviously free to do whatever feels right to him. But, then, I should be free too. And that’s what I’m having a hard time figuring out. Is there any way to attend this event while remaining true to my real emotions? If I go, is it okay to cry, to express grief? I’m not planning on going, actually. None of my sibs are either. We just can’t seem to drag ourselves there, though perhaps we all have different reasons for not being able to. My own planned compromise was to attend the reception afterwards, but last night I broke down absolutely weeping at the thought of going, and having to relate, under the circumstances, to the other guests. I’m not a big weeper. In fact, I have never cried over my parents’ dissolved marriage–and you know, it felt really really good. It felt like my body was finally accepting what my head and mouth have been saying for awhile: This is SAD! This is HARD! This is COMPLICATED! And I felt my fear of expressing this sadness, of really feeling it, dissolve as I wept. It didn’t turn out to be something to be afraid of, after all. It felt clean, a clean pure emotion, and that was such a great relief. It actually made me feel like I could, after all, go through with the reception, that I could go with confidence, that I could go and be genuinely expressive of what I’m feeling, while there. If someone were to ask (as seems likely): how are you? I could reply with honesty. Surely it’s okay to step outside the socially acceptable bounds and admit that life doesn’t always fit with the rituals on display. I don’t mean I’m planning to turn into a bucket of tears over the hors d’oeuvres or something equally dramatic, I just mean I’ll be honest. I’ll be honest that my participation in this event is riven with emotions not generally considered appropriate for wedding receptions.
Our family has lost a lot in the past year and a half. I am in the midst of mourning all that has been broken, all that is not reparable. Some things cannot be put back together again. Some brokenness is permanent. Life is deeply deeply sad, sometimes. And it’s okay to feel that, to know that, and to express that. I’ve no interest in wallowing in it. Life goes on. But it feels like the right time to reflect on this sadness. This Thanksgiving I will be giving thanks for the human ability to grieve, to feel, to mourn, and also, as in the last post, to Move.