Understanding “Missing”

Missing-lgI think I finally get what it is to “miss” someone. I realize that whenever I am away for long periods of time and Karen misses me in big ways, she talks about being so lonely and acting out around food and other things. She talks about these deep tugs of longing and yearning that she feels moving through her. We strategize before I leave what she will do to fill her time and who she will socialize with to relieve the emptiness that seems to take over. When I would call home from somewhere out there in the world I would feel my expanded heart when I talked to her and I would feel closer to her and be able to relate that to not being in this kind of closeness just moments before and I would think that that was missing her, a pull on the heartstrings of love and longing for someone. I see now that what I had been called “missing” her was actually just loving her. Missing is something else entirely.

When Karen left for Black Lodge 10 days ago I started looking for the familiar signs of missing her. Of course I loved her and longed for her presence, that started as I drove away from the airport after dropping her off, and I looked for this “lost” feeling I used to have when she took a trip without me. That feeling of standing still between the kitchen and the living room and the office and not sure where to go and just standing there. I never have that feeling when Karen is here, even if she is down at the apartment and working and I don’t see her for 4 days I am always in touch with her and I always seem to know where to go and what to do. Well the feeling of lost wasn’t there this time, thank god, apparently I have done some good consciousness work and I always had someplace to go and something to do. Other things started happening though that showed me how out of control missing her I have been up to. My consumption of food, alcohol and screens has been 3/3s plus. I am not being bingy about it like I used to but I am acting out based on my new “paradigm” of consumption that I have been fairly consistent with over the last year or so. The two times I have actually had someone here I have turned into a chatty cathy like I haven’t been since I was in my seriously disturbed youth. My mouth just started talking about what ever there was to talk about until I realized I was doing it and stunned myself into silence as I started listening again. Both of these symptoms speak to me of an attempt to feed a hunger. So I have come to the conclusion that missing is a kind of hunger, a starvation actually. It’s not what I thought it was for all these many years about loving. The love of that person I miss is part of what stimulates that hunger. The lack of presence also stimulates that hunger. And for me the pause in the ongoing conversation of relationship really stimulates that hunger. When I am unconscious of the fact that I am starving for something I will respond in the ways I am familiar with, I’ll try to stuff it down my mouth or talk it out of my mouth. I’ll wander around leaving messes or “cleaning for Karen”, I’ll sit on my butt staring at as many different screens as I can for as long as I am awake and have “nothing else to do”. I now know that when I am doing these behaviors all at once, THIS IS MISSING KAREN.

sIt is probably not very profound a realization to most of you out there reading this, and it is remarkably profound to me. I have always said “I miss you” when I am talking on the phone with Karen and inside myself it was just another way of saying “I love you”, I now know that it means I am starving for you, that my universe feels like it has a hole in it and I am desperately trying to find ways to stuff it up. I am also realizing that as I get conscious of what it really means to MISS someone I don’t have to be carried away by the familiar and destructive habits that I have put in place to stuff myself. I can find ways to acknowledge the hunger as a fact and just know that I am on a healthy sort of fast. In fact to treat it like a fast when she is gone, as she will be while doing black lodge, I need to be with the hunger and release it like I release a thought in meditation and then move on to notice the next thing that bubbles up in my consciousness. I need to remember to set myself up to “fast” for Karen when she is gone rather then “hunger” for her. Oh boy I am getting some other ideas that I need to write down on actual paper, because she will read this when she gets home, “Hi Karen, my beloved welcome home, I have really hungered for you!”, and I need to have some things that I do for myself especially around this that are just my business.


Blog – yes
Riff – yes
food – no
movement – no
pipe dreaming – yes

2 responses to “Understanding “Missing”

  1. Hi Henry –

    It’s been fun wandering through your blogs today and catching up a bit. I really relate to so much of this. This got me thinking about how lost I felt when Isaiah went off to boarding school. He’s a kid I can hunger for when he’s right in my space, just because he only comes forward to meet me to the degree that he’s willing and able now. When he was suddenly gone – completely gone – I desperately missed him. It helped that I knew he was happy and well cared for, but in those moments when he (or I) was struggling I desperately missed him.

    I’m thinking of the word ‘missing’: When running a relay and you go to grab the baton and miss, it’s that feeling when you realize you don’t have it. Or, when you’re running for your plane and get to the gate and see it’s gone. The bottom drops out of you. Or, getting excited to tell someone you love something, and then remembering they’re gone. It can happen in a flash. When it’s a loved one, your ‘familiar’, that you want to tell so much to, that sensation happens again and again throughout the time they’re gone. It’s also the feeling I’m so afraid of when I have a little panic about the potential loss of someone. I can’t imagine the endlessness of all those little moments of ‘missing’. In the moment, it seems like something I’m too weak to bear.

    Like all adults, I’ve had my share of loss through deaths in family, friends, pets, homes, careers, and dreams. The end of my two marriages though has brought the most persistent experiences of ‘missing’. I’ve had to really work to find ways to deal with those moments. I’m completely lacking in mastery of it, but I love those moments of success when I find a way to nourish myself in my missing (or just be with it), rather than just filling the ache with a temporary soother.

    Thanks for your beautiful, honest, true self. I love you….

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