The weight of sorrow

Like everyone else, certain songs, smells, movies, TV shows, names, foods, streets, and people  trigger painful memories for me. Sometimes the sadness seems too much to bear.

I realize it is a part of human experience; there is nothing special about my pain. Still, when I am stuck in an elevator listening to my ex’s favorite song, keeping a detached expression on my face when I want to drop to my knees and weep, the sadness seems more intense than any joy.

Am I being melodramatic? Or does the weight of sorrow truly fall heavier on our lives?

My niece, a believer in the power of positive thinking, says, “Maybe it just seems worse when you’re going through a bad time because you just don’t want to be going through it.”

Good point. Resistance causes drag, slows things down. Simple physics.

I started playing music that reminded me of a time in my life when I thought I had it nailed, thought love would cradle me forever. Sometimes I didn’t last more than a CD or two. Other days, I’d grit my teeth and get through it. After a while, I found the music began to weave a tapestry in the background and my focus on the task strengthened.

Then, I heard a new song by a new artist that seemed aimed directly at me, at triggering those painful memories. The weight again brought me to my knees. The pain of my breakup with the man I thought I would grow old with hit me as if it were yesterday.

I don’t want him back. My pragmatic personality always wins out. He would never be someone I could trust, his words belied his actions. No, it wasn’t him I missed. It was the dream of him, of our lives together. I regretted what could have been, what I had believed was true. In fact, it doesn’t matter what did or didn’t happen to me. The sorrow is as real, and heavy, as a blacksmith’s anvil.

Is it possible to forge something strong and permanent from such a massive burden? I thought my emotional muscles would be stronger by now. Life doesn’t seem to work that way. Sorrow grows, like an oak, slowly but inexorably into a great and solid organism.

I stopped eating meat after watching videos of the casual, rampant cruelty in the corporate farming industry. Grown men kicking and stomping animals because they couldn’t defend themselves.  The animals simply had to endure. I imagined being caged inside my tiny bathroom. For the rest of my life, with random people coming by to torture me at will. Anger welled inside me along with the dreadful knowledge that there was nothing I could do.  I cried for the caged creatures and the humans who don’t care.

Maybe that is what adds to the weight of my own sorrow. It isn’t just what I lost, the missed opportunities and regrets. It is about the day-to-day sadness of casual cruelty. I know that it is part of the fabric of life and there is so little I can do. I don’t support the industry, lend my support to promoting awareness, and stop it when I can.

Maybe because of the lightness of joy, the ethereal quality of happiness, the weight of sorrow is what grounds us.


5 responses to “The weight of sorrow

  1. Kathy,
    With an understanding heart, I appreciate your words, greatly.

  2. Thanks for reading. I could edit more, but it seemed important to get the thoughts down. Part of my decisions before I leave for the Trail is regular posting on this blog.
    Please write when you get a chance. I think of you so often-and all the ways you helped me. Thank you.

  3. A fine and deeply moving post, Katie.

    We also mysticize past men…lovers. We know in our rational minds that they were bad, rotten, liars, etc…but still we go there. I think, having done this….that we have to draw ourselves up and face what we know about these rotters: they were, are and probably always will be such. They were not good for us, in fact, they took too much out of ourselves and now what are we left with?

    We are left with PLENTY! We need to mentally kick ass, Katie, especially get over our sentimental attachment to something that never really existed for us. We can do better. So much better. Why give any more energy to these jackasses? You know me, and you also know where I got stuck. I know this of you, too.

    These folk in our lives are stumbling blocks because we make myths of them…or what could have been…knowing how empty and hurting our lives were at the ‘best of times’.

    The Trail will give you some perspective, Katie. Every day should as you journey farther and farther away from that particular toxin. It took me three years now, but I’m winning. You will too.



  4. Kicking ass and taking names! I am looking forward to seeing you before I head out for the great Appalachian Trail.

  5. And I, you, sweetie.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s