Days of the “goo” were common, in the first days of grief in spring 2021. Goo refers to what happens to caterpillars after they close themselves up in a cocoon. They liquify and live in the liminal space of “no longer this” and “not yet that” — I relate to those words.
The transformation that happens in grief reminds me of the process of a caterpillar.
Early on, things felt as if they were moving in slow motion.
In the early days, uncertainty prevailed. Like this little guy, I would eat and sleep. Not much more than that.
At times, I shut myself off from others
Closing in, I inhabited a space of my own where nothing was required of me. It may have included a book, or streaming a show or movie. More often than not I waited for the sun to go down so I could hit the sack.
Is it time to sleep yet?
Eventually, I gained more energy.
I could plan something and show up. Or begin a project and possibly lose track of time — known as play — as creativity’s reliable gift.
Bit by bit, I pulled out of my cocoon and engaged in the world more. A bit exhausting for sure, but it became easier with time.
One part of my journey is not shown in visuals.
For me, after I came out of the chrysalis, sometimes I would go back in again.
There are no photos showing butterflies doing this.
Perhaps it is just widowed folk who know how to return to the cocoon time and again like introverted butterflies.
Eventually, getting out into the wide world a bit happened. Maybe through an event…someone’s birthday or an invite to a picnic.
As I move into year three I see myself out in the wide world more, and less stressed than I was in the beginning. Less often doubting myself or wondering what I should be doing.
I’m more comfortable in the present moment.
As I review the images, it feels like each of the stages of transformation could be re-visited. I can turn into goo again, close up in myself, and emerge again.
Perhaps transformation comes in cycles. You make progress and then retreat—each time finding your way out just a little further than the last time.
An exercise in courage.
An exercise in curiosity.
An exercise in choosing life.