Mourning what was, what wasn’t and wondering what will be

May 3, 2022

Back in a more innocent time.

When we think about grief, it’s usually in the context of someone close to us dying. Or leaving our lives in some way. But that is not the only way we mourn. It’s bigger.

I’ve come to discover that my deepest mourning relates to grieving for what was and what wasn’t. And then, if we’re really working it, the next step can be the promise of what will be.

Reflecting back

When I started this post years ago  it was the night the Harris/Biden ticket clearly won the election. Let’s set aside the politics of the situation and instead look at the societal implications.

I relate  to some of the things Kamala has had to face as a strong, powerful, professional woman with a big brain and ambition to match. Coming up the ranks is no piece of cake for a woman in what is still very much a man’s world.

Looking at her on the screen, I found myself crying tears of joy, but also tears of grief.

At  70, my time in the business world is done. The challenges I faced remain in the past. But sometimes, I can’t help but imagine a world where women in corporate America didn’t face so many obstacles. I grieve that I never had the opportunity for smoother sailing–and that I never will, because I have aged out of that world. I have no desire to be there, but when I look back, I see the barriers and see how at some point I decided the battle wasn’t worth fighting any more. It was exhausting. I moved on.

What if I hadn’t? What might I have become?
What if I’d felt more options had been open to me?

What if Hillary had been elected? It isn’t so much that I love her as a person but I knew in my heart and my brain that  “they” would never give the Oval to a woman. Despite many female prime ministers and heads of government all across the world, America is still so backwards that evidence is that the country is “not ready for” a female president. And especially not a female president of color. We’re not all that forward thinking in this country. Not at all.

Sigh. Yes, I’m mourning what was and what wasn’t. I’m trying to hold on to the promise of what will be, and when I look at millenials, I see hope. The world is now theirs to influence and I am pretty sure the country they’ll shape is going to look different from the one we live in now. Not such a bad thing. Sure, I look at AOC and see her naivete and sometimes sheer stupidity –but weren’t we all young, stupid and naive? And isn’t the opposite end of that spectrum “jaded?” Sometimes it is.

Sure, I wish she were more mature. Had enough seasoning to be more strategic in her speech and her actions.  But. We’d get nowhere if brash, smart and naive young people didn’t carry us forward. And in any case, our time influencing things is long gone.

These thoughts come with age. They’re always a surprise. Like aging.

So those are my thoughts this day. Yours?
Maybe someone you know needs a little lift? I’m always happy to have you take a look at beautiful, gentle tools for healing and grief at my Etsy shop HERE.


6 comments on “Mourning what was, what wasn’t and wondering what will be
  1. Lynda Beth Unkeless says:

    I am gonna go with the spirit of this quote (which I recorded in my journal in July 1979, one year after I graduated from law school):

    “The truly creative individual stands ready to abandon old classifications and to acknowledge that life, particularly his own unique life, is rich with new possibilities.”

    —Judy Chicago

    Ms. Chicago is in her very vibrant 80’s now.

    She is still making art, writing and teaching.

  2. Meryl says:

    We have our regrets, our woulda shoulda couldas, but hopefully they do not outweigh all the things we managed to do. And, even though I may not agree with all she says and does, I think Hilary would have been a dynamite President.

  3. Laurie Stone says:

    Carol, So many ‘what if’s’ in life. Although I believe we’re on the path we’re meant to be on.

  4. Diane says:

    My time of direct influence is at an end, but my time of influencing the future influencers is just starting! Look out, Grandkids! 😉

  5. Jennifer says:

    I love AOC for her brashness. She also represents one of the biggest problems in Congress right now. Not willing to compromise on her issues. But she is thinking about the future not just what’s in it for today. Sometimes that works. Sometimes that doesn’t.

  6. I’m getting sick of cranky old white men trying to tell us what to do after all the progress we made when we were young. I hope young people today both female and male start shoving them out so they can shape their own futures. Young blood is good blood.

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