Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fifteen Years: Weariness and Shutdown




                                                       If you
cannot
stand
the
screaming,
get out
of
the
way.

You cannot
resurrect
my
dead child.

I cannot
smile
for
you.

I can
only
smile
after
the
                                                       screaming.

I began to retreat from mentioning Sharon much at all. When new people would ask me how many children I had, I began to skip over her death, respond that we had three boys, and quickly change the subject. It felt terrible, but the alternative felt even worse at that time in my recovery. The choice here was to quietly withdraw and batten down the hatches. Sometimes grief is an exhausting journey. The problem was that many folks would respond that it was too bad I hadn’t had the joy of a girl, so the truth usually came out anyway. It doesn’t seem to matter if the story is told up front or later on; it so dominates the conversation that other issues and considerations often get sidelined.
     I don’t know exactly why this time was so difficult. It may have been that we left Illinois and moved to Montana, so I had to leave the only tie I had left to her—her grave. In retrospect, it seems like this was just another cycle in the never-ending grieving process”; this particular time, the phase of bargaining. I just wanted to feel safe for a while and not engage, or be close to anyone. It is hard to articulate that long-term weariness. Like so many that are different” and don’t quite fit anywhere, I only wanted to be like everyone else. Being a bereaved parent is unusual, but being up front and vocal about it scares people, or puts them off. There is no all-purpose good choice in this arena, so it becomes a choice every time I meet someone new as to how to handle discussing that part of my life.
There was often some sort of antidote to all the downers, like a sweet, small, touching thing that happened every year for as long as I lived in Illinois. There was always a single red rose on Sharon’s grave on her death day. I don’t know who was responsible for that; I never saw the person. I wish I could thank him or her for that remembrance. It was nice to know someone besides me missed her and visited her

                                                                   


Saturday, July 5, 2014

One of Those Days

                                                                 
                                                              For those
of us
who are
bereaved,
&
insist
on
facing
our grief,

Life has
a
quality
the
protected
can never
know.

Today is one of those days when I am tired of myself and the undertow of my forever grief.  It’s not anything anyone else can see; especially after all these years it would not occur to anyone that I still miss her terribly.  How do I explain the hole in my soul, that is smaller then day one, but still unfilled?  Grief is such a secret in this culture that even mentioning it people turn away.  That is probably the great divide between people. The difference in the experience of the bereaved and the nonbereaved.  The nonbereaved can be happy, don’t worry.

Don’t worry this is just a brief sidetrack because her birthday is 7/11 and I always have to honor that day somehow.  It never comes exactly on schedule, but it always demands my attention.  It is a long, lonely journey.   The magic in this little tirade is that I will post this and have a great day, until grief demands my attention again.








Friday, June 27, 2014

Why is grief so scary?



             
 The most
creative
task
I have
ever
accomplished,
is
to find
new
meaning
&
value
out of
the
absurdity
of
her death.
                            

The short answer is that grieving is a change agent.  Once we start, there is no turning back.  We can never be the same.  That seems to be the purpose of grief, to create a path from one state of existence to another, a before and after.  There was life before Sharon’s death and after I buried her.  The only way I found to survive that pain and dislocation was to grieve out loud.  It was all about rebuilding my life and myself after the A-bomb.  If grief were only about death we could just leave it at that and go on.  But as I have said in other posts, all change is loss and demands letting go, grieving.

The long answer is that deep grief changes our perspective and challenges everything we have believed and all our cherished philosophies about the meaning of life.  It realigns priorities and fundamentally alters how we relate to others and ourselves.  Grief always cuts through our carefully built defenses and drags any unresolved issues to be dealt with or reburied.  Like Godzilla it tromps on the orderliness of our lives and leaves a trail of rubble.

It actually is scary because we don’t understand the intense, all-consuming nature of our own grief and just want to stop the pain and confusion.

Most of my clientele are ultimately dealing with unresolved grief issues.  People are always astonished by how a little grieving “changes everything.”

So what is my point?  I am hoping to start a movement that creates safe places to grieve and encourages more acceptance of grief.  I would hope to see grief centers that bring people together in healing ways.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Poem # 15























When there
is
no one
there
for
me.

When I
must
face
her death
all alone.

When I
find
her dead
again & again.

That is when
I
know
who
I am.