I recently went on an overseas holiday for a special birthday celebration with a group of girlfriends. Early on the morning of the big day, I received the news that a friend had died and I realised I would not be back in time for the funeral. I felt the grief rise up and asked myself: “What is the most loving choice I can make in this moment?” I was surprised to feel that rather than go into the grief and feel it, I needed to accept it was there to be felt later, tuck it away and make a conscious choice to withhold my news from my friends for a few days. So I did.
I didn’t want to impact the birthday celebrations with my grief … and I also wanted some time to process before sharing. I felt very sad yet managed to put it aside and fully participated in all the activities from breakfast through lunch and then onto a sumptuous and beautiful dinner … all of which were lovely. In bed later that night, I let myself feel and cry and then went to sleep. When I woke up, I felt physically blah and had a rough start to the day. The plan was a full day trip to another town, exploring and shopping and lunching together. I decided not to go and told the girls I was not feeling up to a full day out. Once again, the most loving choice I felt I could make was to consciously withhold all the reasons for my decision. I knew I wanted to spend the day by myself with no need to explain or share … I just wanted to feel my feelings and be with myself … which I did.
The next day I told the girls what had been going on with me. When one of them said: “Why didn’t you tell us before now?” I asked: “And if I had, would you have wanted to stay with me and forgo your day out?” “Yes, of course …” she replied. I then shared all the reasons I did not tell them earlier, I took responsibility for the whole communication … and they all got it.
The rest of our holiday was wonderful and nurturing and fun.
What I realised … once again … is that I am okay and feelings are okay. And sometimes the most loving choice is to consciously withhold until ready to share fully.
What would love do now?