Living Through Loss With Softness

I'm writing in my journal and using a pencil. It was my husbands. 5 years ago he needed to leave our 23 year relationship, he was in so much emotional pain and leaving would help him to breathe, move, explore and meet the aching hunger in his body and soul. It brings such pain to hold this pencil, it's a sweet pain, filled with the 'missing' and filled to the brim with memories of loving and being loved for so long. Such gratitude flows through every pore. We both did our best to love one another for as long as we could. The pencil connects me to it all. How could two people who weren't held with enough warmth growing up hold each other? And yet, like every one else who reaches for love and intimacy we wanted to try.

When he broke the news I felt relief flood through my body, there was so much pain in and between us that longed for release. I found I could hold a space for both of us in that moment, through the shock, to hear the beautiful need for freedom within his pain. Freedom. I was so relieved to hear his truth, and when I said "are you longing for freedom" his tears fell and he thanked me through them. To meet his beautiful vulnerability once again through those blue eyes. Vulnerability which had been so fiercely protected for so long. One of the most precious moments of my life.

My hunger for peace through cultivating compassion means that building an enemy image of this beautiful soul isn't an option. And so, the river of love flows through my being as my natural human heritage, bringing with it the full spectrum of what it is to love and to have lost love in this life.

It is through this rupture, this wounding, I am brought increasingly towards myself. Only I can address the tidal waves of a life filled with so much loss. How it grips my breath and how it bends my body to the ground is for me to love, to soften. Why? Because I want to dissolve all that blocks love in my life, I want to feel, I want to understand my needs and I want to have agency in my life. Living with an enemy image of 'they are bad' means I cannot breathe love in and out and I wouldn't have been able to hear the trees as they spoke to me on my run this morning and receive the gift of love through all the doggies I met. I wouldn't have seen or felt any of it.

This post is another integration of this particular loss, softening me through the tears. Uniting all the paths of my life as they arrive into today for warm holding. My father (passed on now) feels close, loving me for my courage, for the thing he couldn't do.

May you know this kind of love through the breath that flows through you today, through not having to 'do' anything, but to let life flow in and out, and may you be met with warmth by all living things.

With love in my heart,


Clare O'Sullivan

Self-Compassion Teacher & Coach


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