Saturday, November 11, 2017

Whenever There Is A Big Loss...

Whenever there is a big loss in our lives it requires certain responses, whether we like it or not.   Our freedom is simply in how we choose to handle those requirements.

The most basic choice is whether to take the risk of loving again.  Knowing that you could lose again, it is a very difficult choice.

The other big choice is weather to honor the loss by continuing to grieve.  It may actually be the same choice in different words.  But to not honor a significant loss leads to bitterness and cynicism.  Not grieving over time isolates and distances one from comfort and healing.

I had a hard time myself after Sharon died and later I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  I had trouble reconciling those two critical events in my life.  I remember the mental image I had of an internal earthquake and me sitting on the ground going through the rubble that used to be my life.  What should I keep, what should I discard?  Why even bother, it was too much to wrap my head around.  It seemed, at that time, that every time I rebuilt, some new thing hit me.  So I wallowed around in that place for a while, basically sidelining myself from reengaging with much.  That felt very safe and somewhat secure.  Then I began to feel restless and lonely, that dilemma tugged at me for months.  I went back and forth like a yo-yo, break out of my safe shell, or sit down and stay safe.  I remember the choice came quietly one day while walking in Montana.  Life is going to go on weather I do or not, so I may as well join. 

All of us have to make that choice in one form or another, many times over a lifetime.  I have to remind myself that the “ties that bind”, the invisible strands of family, friends and life  are stronger then my grief.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Poem #5

 I came in one day
found Sharon dead
I went mad.

Because you were there
let me have
I am healing.

Thank you.

Friday, October 6, 2017

At This Time...

For Las Vegas, for Puerto Rico, for Florida, for Texas, for America

There is no such thing as enough
There is nothing to say that is enough
There is no place that is safe enough

All we can do is offer our hand in the dark
They will be unaffected, keep offering
They will push us away, keep offering

When my daughter died I wondered why people weren’t helping me.  It took almost a year to realize that everyone had been helping.  It just didn’t feel like it to me.  The pain and impact is that great, and the devastation is irrevocable. 

The help is like salve on a wound, not instant healing, but every dab, or pat on the arm, adds up over time to the healing.  The scars are always there and the change is permanent.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

On Being Bereaved in a "Chirpy" Culture

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ seems to be our national hymn.  It will be interesting to see how that comes back after the hurricanes this summer and the massacre in Los Vegas.  But I am confident it will, as I believe the investment in the stats quo is that powerful.

In the face of that powerful edict, how does one stay true to oneself and the equally powerful need to heal/grieve?  It ain’t easy, as the saying goes.  But it is possible.  Basically we find pockets of those that are more real and authentic.  It is easier now than when Sharon died due to the Internet and social media that has happened in the 40 years since her death.  There are many sites and local groups that I had no access to.

Even so;
But grief is a walk alone. Others can be there.
But you will walk alone down your own path, at your own pace, with your sheared-off pain, your raw wounds, your denial, anger and bitter loss.
You’ll come to your own peace, hopefully…but it will be on your own, in your own time
Cathy Lamb

I would add that the walk alone sets us apart from others that I hope they never have to understand—yet the longing to belong is great and adds to the loneliness of "the walk alone".

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I Am Out of Ideas

After 20,000 clicks and likes I still haven’t heard a word from anyone.  No hurrahs, no boos, just silence. 

I don’t know who my audience is

I don’t know if I have any impact

Don’t know if it matters.

I guess it really doesn’t matter as long as the clicks and likes keep appearing.

A hundred clicks here, a hundred likes there, it all adds up.

So why do I keep writing and posting?   Because when I was newly bereaved I didn’t have the energy or any interest in engaging anyone myself.  But I really appreciate, to this day, those that kept writing even if I couldn’t respond.

So, I’m out of ideas for the moment, but they will come.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Loss Too Many

I’ve recovered from a lot
From my only daughter’s death
My son’s choosing different paths from me
Many furry friends along the way
My own parents deaths, and both my in-laws
I am the one in eight woman with breast cancer
Those are the major losses
Many paper cuts on my journey

But this one is the one
That is a loss to many
The loss of my home, my dream, my identity of me.

I can’t find the solid ground I once stood on, so proudly
I can’t find the internal resources to bounce back, this time
There seems no point in going on
My place in life is behind me
I don’t fit in this new world, actually never did fit anywhere
I see no rainbows
        No pot o’ gold
                   No happy ending
                              I’ve gotten to old.

What do I do with that grim truth?
Withdraw from the world?
Lie down and die?
I will let all the small signs of caring, comfort and support patch me up.  I am like a crazy quilt pieced together with the “ties that bind”.  The invisible strands of family, friends and life are stronger then my grief.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Birthday

 Today is Sharon’s 55th birthday, I lost her at 15, and it still hurts, even though I can’t even begin to imagine what she would be like today or what she would be doing.

Would she have been a career woman?  Or a mother, would I have more grandchildren?  Perhaps both? 

These are the eternal questions that stay unanswered and haunt my reveries.

I am continually surprised and confounded by how this grief over time has so profoundly changed me.  I doubt I could capture in words how, as it is still changing me, and is a process that I can’t predict or control.

At the core of my being there is this space that belongs to her and I am never very far from that grief, it is easy to slip into that sadness.  There has grown up around that space a garden of my life that is deep and rich because I so value what I have. I go back again and again to that crooked garden to renew and remind myself that life is still good.

Every year is hard in it’s own way.

But grief is always a walk alone