Loving Sadness

by Simon Goland, March 4, 2018

I might have just coined a new expression. At least, it is new to me. While I have been living with the actual experience since August of 2017, the words to articulate it are emerging only now. This is when Tobi transitioned, and this is what I am reflecting on now. The expression is Loving Sadness.

Last night, my beloved left for a much-needed time-out in the sun, which could be an additional factor that emphasized the emptiness I am staying with at home. While I normally welcome this space of solitude and savour the periods of my own schedule and my own ways of “doing life,” this time, things feel different.

“Every true love and friendship is a story of unexpected transformation. If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven’t loved enough.” – anonymous

Ironically, it is not like I have nothing to do. On the contrary. I am finishing co-teaching an Organizational Development course and have a few papers to grade there. I am in the middle of teaching a Coaching for Performance course with an Executive MBA program, and it is a large cohort – I have 28 learners with 28 papers to grade and 28 audited coaching practices to review and grade. There is a 2-day facilitation gig happening next week that I am preparing for, and several more in the future. To top it all, my executive coaching practice has been growing significantly over the past few months.

Additionally, I have a new member of the family that I am planning to spend quality time bonding with (a new commuting/touring Brodie bike).

In other words, life feels very rich and full these days. And yet… suddenly, without any warning, sadness arises. Whether in the morning, as I wake up to an empty house, or when I am on a bike ride, thinking that I don’t need to rush home because nobody is waiting there – it is here. Like a wave that washes over me and takes a hold in my heart, squeezing it with a firm grip, saying “Here I am. Again.” All there is for me to do in such moments is to pause and feel.

“I never feel more given to than when you take from me, when you understand the joy I feel giving to you. And you know my giving isn’t done to put you in my debt, but because I want to live the love I feel for you. To receive with grace may be greatest giving. There is no way I can separate the two. When you give to me, I give you my receiving. When you take from me, I feel so given to.” – anonymous

Sure, there are moments when I get lost in thoughts and memories about times past with Tobi. Some of them are sweet and fun, whereas others are moments when I was less than my “perfect self” and could have done better and been better. These don’t last long, though, primarily because I am being very intentional and mindful to not let them. I am aware of the dangers. As I keep letting go of the thoughts, I keep returning to feeling all that is arising for me, realizing that it is so hard now because love was – and is – so strong. Because they are so aligned in their intensity, love and grief. It is what I have to live with now. Loving Sadness.

“Opening our hearts makes us vulnerable. In that vulnerability, we fear that they might be broken. And yes, the world’s pain does break our hearts, over and over again. But a broken heart is not a paralyzed one. Hearts are broken open, not destroyed; and from an open heart’s capacity to be with suffering, healing arises.” – anonymous

It feels very appropriate to listen to “Historia de un amor” by Diego El Cigala as I let my thoughts and feelings express themselves here. The heart is grieving. From love. From loss. From sadness. From pain. From emptiness. And from more love. When Loving Sadness kicks in, it is time to stop everything and get present. Honour this bitter sweet space. Honour this endless dance, where love and grief are forever dancing their cheek-to-cheek tango (I am thinking traditional Spanish, as I always think of it as “fire and ice”). Welcome Loving Sadness. Welcome. I plan to continue honouring you any time you choose to drop by for a visit.