how far is the moon?

The image I posted for yesterday’s post was apt because yesterday, I had a bad day. I received something I wasn’t expecting that slammed it home to me that Dad is no longer here, like a punch to the stomach. I cried harder than I have for a while, completely overwhelmed. You know, proper crying that contorts your face and is noisy.

It got me thinking about our emotional responses to experiences and the way in which our brain processes and connects with both emotions and logical thought.

I knew this would be coming. I know Dad has gone. I saw it with my eyes. I think of him every day. Of what I’ve lost, of what he’s missing.

But, this confirmation in an official form, this signal of change slaps me round the face. Causes an emotional outburst that the logical side of my brain is puzzled by and tries to rationalise.

I was sharing with a friend today about the significance of dates and anniversaries as we are coming up to one year since our lives came crashing down one piece of terrible news at a time. Why does the trauma resurface so powerfully? Logic tells me – it’s just a date, you aren’t ACTUALLY reliving it, why should it hurt anymore now then it did last week?

But that’s not how it works. Through both journey’s of grief I’ve experienced in my life, these dates bring terrible pain to the surface and make you realise how truly numb you are most of the time, despite frequent tears and sadness. The full whack of pain looks for an outlet. Dark evenings, Christmas music, bitter cold, log fires, this time last year… All your senses alive and in tune to the memory of the experience and your feelings respond, no matter how prepared or unprepared you are.

You’re right back there. Intrenched in the feelings. Overwhelmed.

I was walking to my son’s preschool to collect him yesterday and though it was only just starting to go dark, the moon was very visible in the sky. Well, half of it was. I contemplated how it is so hard to grasp the distance the moon is from us. Looking at it, it appears as though I could just reach out and grab it. Something in my brain misinterprets the distance. I certainly can’t reach out and grab it. It would take me nine years to walk to the moon. Nine years of constant walking at three miles per hour.

I think this capacity to recognise the scale of something and be awed by it, yet somehow also able to not see the full magnitude every minute of every day, is a gift of grace.

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