Wednesday, March 5, 2014
protest so much
I cannot seem
“The pain of her
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Reaching out is hard
Bereaved families never congregate in easy to identify or common groups. We are scattered through out the population. That keeps us safe and at the same time isolated from each other. As I say in my book, it’s all the small choices along the way that make the difference in recovery. Below is one of the thousands I made along the way.
A newly bereaved person needs an advocate because she is just not “with it” for months. Another of those small choices that proved to be far reaching came after the funeral. Both Morrie and I were just tired. He made the absurd suggestion of, “Why don’t we stop at Burger King and just be alone for a minute?” At that moment anything was fine with me, just stop the world. So that is what we did—had a burger, fries, and a Coke. Those few moments allowed me to regroup enough to go on. That incident was the beginning of a pattern that still works for me: the intense grieving followed by something mundane and “normal.” If I ignore the intense feelings, then I never get the mundane and normal, because those intense feelings are always trying to escape.
I have learned over the years that my grief upsets most folks that haven’t dealt with their own, and my sadness triggers theirs. The further one gets from the funeral, the less tolerance others have for one’s grief. “Shouldn’t you be over it by now?” is the most common question. What an absurd and insulting statement. Bereavement is a condition that never clears up. The loss of a child is a never-ending process of feeling wounded and regaining wholeness. Telling grieving parents to get over their grief would be like telling an amputee not to miss her arm.
When I am
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
That is my world
How do I survive?
Why do I want to?
You are there
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Christmas at the Cemetery
It is such a struggle to be clear about feelings, they don’t hold still for examination. They are like a river flowing, If I scoop them up here they are clear and still, but if I scoop them up over there they are turbulent and scary. Most of the time they just flow along in unremarkable ways. But her death was different; it was like going over Niagara Falls, turbulent, topsy-turvy, a long way down. Sometimes I feel like I am still there, not sure I will, or want to find the shore.
Once again, I sit by her grave on Christmas. Unspeakable pain, Relentless suffering
Eternal grief. No relief from my wound.
Everyone else is opening presents with their children and families, while I sit here and cry. I decorate her tombstone with holly and tinsel and remember long ago Christmases, happy and warm with love and fellowship
No one notices where I am or remembers her anymore. They don’t want to hear me cry
So my lonely vigil goes on for another year. After a while this wave of grief slowly subsides, as it always does and leaves me on the shore till the next wave. Then I go home and leave her there for one more year.
Like the ocean the waves are eternal and continual some come crashing down and feel crushing. While others are more gentle and soothing
And like the tides grief rises and falls
What is always true is that the waves and tides will continue to reshape the shoreline, as the grief will continue to grow and reshape my soul.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Your death has
I am gutted
like a steer
has spared me
What I didn’t expect,
had no way
was that the
new depths of
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Any change is loss, weather it is good change or bad change, and all loss requires some grieving. Grieving is on a continuum, from the death of a loved one, all the way to “Oh rats, I lost my umbrella.” The built in mechanism for dealing with this wide range of feelings is the grieving process, which is as necessary as the breathing process etc.
Life as We Knew It – Emotions – Choices
In the center of the spiral is life, as we knew it, which is followed by all the actions we tried and attempts we made to keep everything the same. In the event of an accident, this is often the “if onlys” and “what ifs” recriminations that we fantasize could have changed the outcome. As we move around the spiral we come to the choices. This should actually look like a web, as it is difficult to know which way to go, and it is easy to get trapped in one of the arms.
The next point is grieving itself, which is essentially an invisible, intangible, and immeasurable internal experience that is difficult to share. The rest of the spiral is benchmark points that create the long-term consequences of change. This is why people resist change (grief); it is hard, even brutal, and very unsafe—unsafe in the sense that life is no longer predictable, measured, or secure.
As people move around the spiral they find that what was important a year ago seems to fade in the background or may seem trivial. These old issues grow into new awakenings, avenues, and endeavors. In short, most of our priorities are realigned. For me, this is where I began to find political correctness less and less tolerable, and my relationships more precious. I found myself more open with people I care about, and more confrontational and demanding, as I didn’t want anything left unsaid or undone ever again.
As priorities shift and realign, it leads to all sorts of tangled feelings, thoughts, and outcomes. Our point of view is like a kaleidoscope; all the pieces are the same, but what and how we see the world is ever squiggling. This is quite unnerving, as it is hard to predict our own reactions anymore, and that is downright scary. My own political viewpoint began to slide across the spectrum of liberal to conservative, which required a whole renegotiation with the world I lived in. All of this happened over a period of years, so the new outlook was gradual. I don’t know what life would be like if Sharon hadn’t died, but what I do know is what I have rebuilt has been worth the effort. Through all the grieving, where I finally landed is in the present, a very nice place to live.
I have always seen my life as a journey through a dark and scary forest, where there are all sorts of obstacles, cliffs, and wild beasties to deal with. Every once in a while I come to a meadow—the sun is shining, the grass is green, and it is good to be alive. That is when the integration of all the hard labor is accomplished and I get to rest for a while. What I know about myself is that at some time I’m going to get tired of the meadow, look up and say, “Gee, I wonder what’s over that ridge,” and plunge right back into the forest. This meadow corresponds to the acceptance and in memoriam stages of grief.