One night that I stayed at my childhood friend Audrey's house, she explained to me that she could feel the unhappiness and the pain of others and it moved her to cry. It wasn't a reaction to a particular trigger, it was as if pain and suffering had taken the form of some invisible vapor that had filled the room and that she had inhaled, causing hysterics and bawling. It went beyond empathy and seemed like a terrifying affliction; I called home and insisted that her mother take me home. I think about this now and while I still lack understanding of what exactly brought on this behavior in her, I think that she must be a pretty wonderful person today.
Today I found out about the tragic death of a man in my community. I had met him once or twice but didn't know him by any stretch of the word. I knew of him, knew that he was an active member of the community with similar beliefs, who did work I respect and appreciate. When I saw his name in a headline, when I read about his sudden and too-soon death, I felt a sense of loss. It stuck with me throughout the day. In the late afternoon I saw some new haiku posted by a local woman; as I've said, I am rational, but this haiku moved me:
What I Want To Believe About GriefSome days our hearts arerocks, too big to skip. But tideswill tumble them right.TSUNAMEE 10-13-10
You can commission your own haiku from TSUNAMEE at her etsy shop.
What I love about this haiku is that it shows recognition of the weight of loss and the process of healing over time with beauty and deliberate words, with a real sense of hope.
The feeling of sadness was paired with this sense of anxiety - it might be campaign stress. All day I felt tense and uneasy, like I was meant to be a million places and doing a million things, all the while I felt like I was always in the wrong place, fumbling life. It is the sort of vague feeling that brings about sneaking frowns and makes one's body vibrate with the involuntary contraction of every muscle. All day I felt like my body was bracing itself for some impending trauma. I think it is proven that a person will survive a great fall with less damage if one relaxes, but my body seems intent on doing it all wrong.
I would probably do well to just go to bed, but I'm wide awake and my mind is a mess of tangled thoughts about death and emotions and politics. I think that my brain is trying to match yesterday's weather with gale winds and torrential downpours.