Tuesday, May 26, 2009


"One's suffering disappears when one lets oneself go, 
when one yields - even to sadness."  
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

After a wonderful week at the beach-house it was time to pack our bags and head home.  Big Daddy-O took the girls for a walk while I went from room to room stripping beds, gathering towels, packing, and opening windows to let the fresh sea-air circulate.  It was a gorgeous day; one of those windy, sparkly days when the waves pound the shore and everything seems to come alive as it gets kissed by the sun.

I felt sad.  The beach-house was put up for sale earlier this year, and every time I leave it, I can't help but imagine leaving it for good.  I look out at that view and I remember building forts with my brother and sister, playing guitar with my friends, kissing my first love, staring up at the stars the night before my grandfather died, taking our new puppy for her first walk, watching my sister get married, dancing under the stars at my own wedding, floating in the ocean one lazy afternoon when a pod of orcas swam by, taking Pip for her first dip in the Pacific...so many rites of passage.  That beach feels like me.  

As I made my way around the house I felt a lump in my throat, but I swallowed it.  Then Pip walked in.  She was on the verge of tears and she said, "Mama, I just can't say good-bye to this room, I just can't do it," and the dam broke.  It was like she was releasing all of the emotions that I had been feeling.  I gave her a cuddle and explained that we'd be back soon.  I told her that her Grandpa was having some guests stay at the house and it was their turn to enjoy the beach.  I wiped her tears.  Comforting her comforted me. 

Thirty minutes later the car was all packed-up and I was making a final sweep of the house.  Pip was still feeling sad, but she'd had enough already.  "Mama, I just want to go now.   I want to have the 'guestez' come and I want to be back in our sweet-home-home."  She climbed into her car-seat and I buckled her in.  She had a quiet cry as we drove away from the house.

Again, I felt that my little three-year-old was giving a voice to my emotions.  Instead of stifling what she was feeling, she let her emotions rise up, she released them, she dealt with them, and she moved on.  

I remember reading about cancer patients in a book called, When the Body Says No, by Gabor Mate.  He found that patients who tried to suppress their emotions didn't do as well as those who let their feelings out; the anger, the fear, the frustration, everything.  My understanding of Mate's theory is that if you don't deal with your emotions, then your body ends up taking them on in some form of 'dis-ease.'

So it's healthy for our little ones to let their emotions out as they feel them, and it's healthy for us too.  If I had let myself shed a few tears that morning at the beach house, I could have easily explained to Pip why I was feeling a bit sad.  She would have understood.