I was really sad yesterday—I think I said that.

I actually still feel really sad.

There seem to be two things going on at the same time, but maybe they both have to do with trying to feel a kind of spark—a spark of connection and life. I think that’s the core sadness. To feel the spark, I have to also feel the moments when I felt the absence of that spark. I got on this track because I tried to reach for that spark—C was going to call me—and then it wasn’t there. She didn’t call me.

It is, obviously, reminiscent of other losses.

Indirectly, I think I have been thinking about Natalya. She was this huge spark in my life. It’s hard to approach it, even indirectly, and I have been sitting with it for much of the last 2 days. I mostly cry a lot. I think this is going to help. It’s hard to find the balance between sitting with things and getting on with life, but basically sitting with things seems to lead to long-term benefits. So I have been erring on the side of too much sitting, feeling, and having nothing tangible to show for it. In the long-run, it might make me a better person.

Meditating on the loss seems to have made some things click into place for me. I think now that C and I had been engaged in forming a connection long before I ever realized it. I watched the students all the time. She saw me watching, and responded to my gaze. I think I saw that response long before I consciously recognized it. That feeling of being seen and responded to creates connection. She responded to me, and I eventually began to respond to her. She was “captain” and I saw where she was struggling to assert her authority—the kids defying her or ignoring her, and I stepped in. She was clearly trying so hard, and it’s hard to be a student with authority over other students.

So now I get why there seemed to be a kind of instant connection between us as soon as I spoke directly to her. The connection had already been there.

But I am thinking now that it makes sense that one of the first thoughts I had about her was that she was warm. In some part of myself, the last thing I remember about that spark of that connection is that it ended with a corpse. Natalya was dead. C is alive. If I have never processed the grief from Natalya’s death, it would be the last thing I remember about sparks.

I have been wondering, too, why C used to cry when I was with her. Not really cry, but her nose began to run if she sat next to me. It was a memory of that spark of connection and the loss of it. Just like C’s life reminds me of Natalya’s death, C cannot feel responded to without remembering the moments when her caregivers were unable to respond to her.

My grief for Natalya is really, really deep and profound—it’s interesting, because whenever I write a reference to it, just in this blog post, I turn away. I find myself suddenly doing something else, because the sadness is so great, and also I think the prohibition against processing intense emotions is so great as well: we don’t do feelings, I have learned. We don’t know how.

Anyway, here I am, back at it. A few puzzle pieces in place.

The other part of this is that I have noticed being able to feel that spark more. I can’t help it with C: if she’s there, I feel it. The warmth floods me. But I noticed it also when I talked to her uncle, when I talked to her little cousin TJ. I noticed it when I saw her other cousin online, and when I chatted with her friend. I chatted with a cousin-once-removed this morning and I felt it then too. I began to notice I felt warmth for some people and not others.

I think that’s about being able to feel attachment. I am working through more of the grief, and I am not so numb inside, and I am able to tolerate more feelings of warmth without shutting down in order to turn away from the sadness it is connected to.