A Different Suitcase

Thanks for checking in, everyone.  I wasn’t resting.  I wasn’t restful.  I was searching, and that’s hard work.  

I had to put my thoughts and feelings in a different suitcase for a while.  The one I created to hold my grief over the last year-plus runneth over, and I was unsuccessful at catching the waters squeezing through the zippers, the latches, and flowing down the sides.  Every time I tried since mid-May, I felt like I’d been caught up in a riptide, drifting further out to sea, no raft in sight.  

I’ve caught hold again, though to no raft I could have imagined.  This raft is a sturdier suitcase, larger, and more durable.  Doubtful it is less permeable, however, and that works just fine inside my fuzzy, white-haired head.  

Gosh, what did I do with all that time I wasn’t posting here at mysteryoriley?  Well, let me open my new black leather suitcase, the one with the luggage tag indicating where I should return if lost, and tell you all that I can remember.  I hope you’ve changed out of your work clothes, have your slippers on, have propped that fluffy pillow behind your head, or that you plan on taking frequent breaks.  

This could take days.  Or not, depending on whether I have to slam shut the lid again.  It could happen.  Few things, if any, surprise me now.  I thought that was true of me before Owen died.  How could I have known then, what I never wanted to know?  If I had known last year at this time, that these past three months would have sent me to an even darker place, I may not have held out so much hope in my ability to grab hold of life and move through each day with a rock-solid determination to keep waking up.  Swimming through the jaws of change, I’m glad I’ve surfaced…sputtering and tired, it’s true, but walking on terra firma again.  My limp is still visible, my walking stick close at hand.    

Last night, on an internal journey, one accompanied by the beating of an elk-skin drum, I found myself wandering through the woods, leaves crunching beneath my feet, the sun’s rays shining through the trees…light, dark, light, dark…light.  Alongside my careful steps, a gentle mountain lion glided quietly.  She was stronger than when last we met.  Sleek and fresh from a long deep sleep, she purred, eyes forward, paws padding in step with my calloused soles, my calloused soul.  I reached down and scratched her ears.  Our terrestrial voyage took on the atmosphere of a low-lying cloud, and we absorbed the intermittent light, the enduring energy of a newborn child.  As time would have it, the vision neared closing.  We, the peaceful cat and the peace-seeking woman/child, reached a clearing.  We soaked ourselves in the warmth of a late afternoon sun, and gazed into each other’s eyes – green, with a golden-brown fleck in the corner of our left eyes.  I’d never seen a mountain lion smile before, and I’m not sure I did then.  But, if you can feel a smile without seeing it, then, surely she morphed into my memories, and nature could not withstand her anatomy.  Nature became memory.

Kick off your slippers now, for the lid is sliding into place.  Leather is, indeed, less permeable than canvas, but nighttime asks for downy pillows and sheets of white satin. Nighttime is closing in.  I would live in metaphor, if life would let me.

Now that I’ve found my footing again, I would be remiss to escape from my community of calloused souls.  Our suitcases will find each other in the baggage claim area of our future destinations.  

The big cat and I will continue our journey toward our new alliance in a collective intelligence, a collective understanding, a collective memory.  We will join you in the clearing.

Song for the night:  Nights in White Satin, Moody Blues (Just what the truth is, I can’t say anymore…)

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~ by Linda on August 29, 2008.

6 Responses to “A Different Suitcase”

  1. Mountain Lion!
    Yes!
    From The Medicine Cards:
    “Oh kingly leader of sleek feline form,
    Touch my heart with courage, then sound the alarm,
    That I may lead with foresight, assurance bright and true,
    To carry on the spirit of the strength I see in you.”

  2. Linda, great to hear from you again. I can honestly say that I have missed you very much. Your words written here I carry in my “suitcase”, actually, I have described my place to carry grief as a worn, well weathered coat. One that I find comfort and protection from the elements when needed and that I can safely store in my “closet” when it isn’t “appropriate” to wear my grief.

    These past 10 months have totally rewritten my life. I have lost a son and gained a granddaughter, I took a whole summer off from work to “explore” my grief and come to some sort of twisted peace with it.

    Your song for tonight took me back to place that I used to live many years ago. A place where I couldn’t even comprehend my life past 20. A place where everything and nothing seemed possible.
    Now this song has new meaning.

    Just what the truth is I can’t say anymore
    And I’ll love you Oh how I’ll I love you

  3. Tennyson figured his grief as “weeds” or special clothing worn at that time to signify mourning. I like the idea of a suitcase better. Perhaps it’s necessary, after all, to shut the lid sometimes.

  4. I have watched intermittingly to see how you have gone down the path; curious as only another survivor of family trajedy could be to see if, and when you might find some co-existence with the ever-present grief. I have to say the move to another house and town has given you a space to begin to find compartments (ie: the suitcase) to allow you room for strength & healling to begin in very small ways. I love that you are in tune with your ‘cougar’ spirit. I also walked much of my life with the cougar & aptly, also have green/brown eyes – perhaps we have been connected as kindred spirits in other realms as well. Blessed Be Your Path To the Clearing for rest! Talula

  5. My thoughts are with you right now, Linda.

  6. […] Posted in Standing means victory, breathing means victory, journey on, life is messy, life’s journey, refreshing, renew the spirit, rest on the journey, suitcase of life (My dear friend and fellow blogger, Linda, wrote an insightful post about the luggage of grief, and I responded with my thoughts on the subject. See her blog here: https://mysteryoriley.wordpress.com/2008/08/29/a-different-suitcase/ […]

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