Posted by: Kathy | July 7, 2009

The Pendulum of Emotions

Think of a big grandfather clock, the pendulum swinging back and forth, clicking away the seconds, then the minutes, then the hours, and then a new day comes. I never know what my day will bring when it comes to emotions, and on difficult days I need to take things down to coping minute by minute.

So for me, the pendulum swings between anger on one side and sadness on the other, with happiness/contentment in the middle. Sometimes I’m not sure what causes the pendulum to swing out of the center and to one side or the other. I understand why these emotions exist on opposite sides of each other. They are what I feel when I look at the picture on my desk of me and my mom, standing together at a happy time in our lives, shortly after my son’s birth. I feel sad because there won’t be any more times like this one. I cannot share any more life moments with my mom. The feeling of sadness is understandable and an emotion that I can cope with and, for the most part, keep “in check”.

The other side of the pendulum, the anger, scares me. It runs deep and very strong, and it’s an emotion I have trouble controlling right now. It will sneak out during times of stress, when something happens that upsets me, and I feel a lot more anger than is warranted for that particular situation. I am very angry that my mom died when she did, in the way that she did. She won’t see my kids grow up and all the milestones involved in that process. I am angry that my mom won’t be able to fulfill her dream of dancing with her grandson on his wedding day. I am angry at the way pancreatic cancer snuck in and silently stole her life, leaving her a shell of the person she once was before she died.

Right now as I think of these things there are tears in my eyes because these thoughts are also associated with sadness. I woke up today feeling sad and I’m not quite sure why. But I’m also relieved that I’m not feeling that anger I know is there. The sadness is an emotion I can work with, deal with, overcome, and shift that pendulum back to center. The anger is a monster I cannot control, so I keep it locked up as best as I can, hoping that it never fully reveals itself.

One day, I hope to be able to keep the pendulum in the center. I know there will always be feelings of sadness, and anger, when it comes to my mom’s death. But I hope and pray that one day the dominant feelings inside of me will be happiness as I think of the good times I shared with my mom and contentment knowing she’s at peace.


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