Unconditional love means unconditional grief too.
We can't have one without the other. How can I love someone without grieving if they decide they no longer want me in their life? Or if they are abusive and will not listen to boundaries? Eventually I have said, "No. Because you have made these choices, I do not want any more contact with you. Ever."
Actually I have only said that to one person. One. A family member. And then I promptly saw the person when they took me to court. Ironic, right?
I rarely ask patients to leave my practice. Either three or four in nineteen years. Mostly they leave if I keep refusing whatever it is, stand my ground, say "That is not safe for me to prescribe."
I am thinking about connecting and disconnecting. My significant other has stopped talking/text/emailing me. The day after Christmas. Disconnected. I have been thinking that I still love him and I am grieving. I have been grieving for a while, though. He connects and disconnects. He got upset the day I was leaving for the east coast because I didn't answer two texts. He frequently doesn't answer texts. But he wants me to be connected even when he isn't. I said, "I'm not a light switch, you can't turn me off and on whenever you want." I also am not an outlet: he can't just plug in whenever he wants.
I asked about his parents. His father is not connected at all to him. Perhaps his father is connected to his mother. His mother is connected to everyone all the time. The family calls her "Saint ----". So perhaps for him, men should be able to connect and disconnect while women are to be receptive. My inner feminist says ICK, WTF, NO FUNGKING WAY!
So then I think about my parents. They were very connected. However, my father was the one who was open all the time. And did not have good defenses or boundaries. He drank. My mother was the charmer, charmed everyone, and her diaries hold her other half. Morose, my father said. The diaries bear this out at first glance. But even though the diaries are about fighting with my father and his alcoholism and discussions about a lot of misery: my mother writes that mostly she is happy. She also writes that my father wants her attention all the time and that sometimes she just wants to do art and sometimes he drives her crazy. So: who is disconnecting there? My mother, not my father.
And as it turns out, I take after my father. I want all channels open all the time. This is not really acceptable in our culture. It's weird. A friend says that I get away with stuff in clinic because I am typing on the laptop. "They think you are looking stuff up," he says. "They have no idea that it's all in your head." Actually I am just typing what they say and building the clinic note as they speak. I am fast as hell. And being tactile/auditory, I listen better if I fidget, aka, type. Knitting would work but does not produce a clinic note. Interpretive dance would also work, but I'd be declared "crazy".
I don't stop loving people. Like my ex-husband, I am on good terms with and in contact with nearly everyone I've ever dated. Including my ex-husband. My daughter and I visited my ex-mother-in-law and ex-stepfather-in-law back in Maryland. Because I love them too.
And the flip side of love is grief. I really would like a connected relationship. However, I'm willing to have an equal relationship. If the other person disconnects, I am still connected but: not to them. My connection is to the earth, the sky, the ocean, the Beloved. To everything. To the Oneness: that never shuts down. Rumi says that longing is prayer to be more closely connected to the Beloved. Yes. I think so and feel so too.
When someone disconnects, I feel grief. Every time. And it's part of that connection to everything and connection to old grief. Longing for my sister, my mother, my father, my grandparents, old friends, a legion of dead and lost and abandoned. But that grief is also a connection to love, to acknowledging love.
My minister retired so I put together a book of poems. I gave it to him the day before he left. It is called Falling Angels. Not fallen: no, these are falling infinitely all the time.
Falling in love and falling in grief.