The Soft Spots

I was doing okay until……

Some days I seem to handle my grief well. Hours have gone by and I haven’t cried. The pain in my heart seems so have subsided some, and I’ve been able to breathe without sighing all day. Then it happens. I hear a song or even only a few words, and BAM, the flood of emotions returns. I find myself on the verge of tears again. Sometimes the tears fall right out of my eyes and I don’t even realize it. My heart feels heavy and I even moan out loud.

There is a psychological term for this called a “weakness” of our psyche.” I don’t agree with the term, although I understand it’s concept. I think it has to do with what we consider “weakness”. For myself, I don’t think it’s a weakness to feel. I would rather call it a “soft spot.”

We all have those soft spots  in us. Perhaps the soft spot is the area in our hearts or minds or “psyche” where the person we are grieving over once lived. An area we reserve in us where the “spirit” of the person one inhabited.Many things can trigger the emotions again, or hit the soft spot. And because it is soft or “weak,” when something hits it, we feel it tremendously.

The other day I heard the song “Roll Me Away” by Bob Seeger, and in hearing it, a flood of emotions came pouring out of me. I thought of my brother and how he loved to ride his Harley. I thought “what would he do if the situation were reversed, and I was the one who died?” I think, like the song stated, he’d just “get on that big bike and ride.” I thought of my brother riding again, and the pain in my heart came back in a rush.

Yesterday it rained and I could smell Spring. This triggered the scent of worms, and the memory of how my father loved fishing. He’d search for worms after the rain, and go fresh water fishing for trout. The smell of the pavement after the rain brought on a flood of memories and emotions. And I heard myself actually moan out loud.

The other day at work I glanced over at a picture I have on my desk of my brother and I. The day had been going well until then. I grabbed the picture and held it for a minute, and felt the pain of grief stabbing me again. Amidst the goings on at work, I took a minute to cry.

These moments are normal for me now, though very unpredictable. I do not know what, when, or where, but I do know that something will happen that will hit the soft spot. I used to feel bad about it. I used to be frustrated that I couldn’t even make it through the day without pain in my heart. Since I know it will happen, I’ve come to realize that it’s a “normal” occurrence. I loved, and it’s okay to feel upset over losing the object of that love.

Some psychologists and counselors advise us to learn our weaknesses so that we can almost predict when something attacks them. We can learn to protect that weakness, so that it is not hurt again. This is part of the healing process, and is a tool to help us.

For example, if a certain song reminds us of a person, the advisers tell us to find a time when we are “prepared” mentally, and take time to listen to the song. Take time to work with the weakness, and it eventually becomes stronger. The next time we hear the song, it doesn’t slam our emotions, but it triggers a less harsh feeling. The memories are still there. The pain, however, is sometimes lessened.

I’ve found that sometimes I can do that mental exercise, and other times I cannot. Sometimes I just want to feel the pain. If only to validate for myself that the emotions I feel are real, because the person was real.

Other times I can listen to a song, or look at a picture, or smell a scent that reminds me of the person I’m grieving. During those times the feeling is almost peaceful. I think it’s all just a part of the process.

So every one of us will have those days when everything seems to be going well, and then……And each of us will learn in his/her own way how to deal with our “soft spots.” Each of us will know they are normal feelings, and that it’s okay to feel them. We don’t always have to protect our weaknesses, we can learn to embrace them, work with them, and make them stronger.