Good Mourning

Grief is complex and often times confusing. Today is the six month anniversary of my sister Natalie’s death from addiction. Six months. Six? As in 6, 6? Like 1,2,3,4,5,6? My how the time flies when your stuck in an endless loop of sadness… In a therapy group meeting, I mentioned that today would be a difficult day for me, given the occasion. Around the room I heard gasps and whispers, I saw eyes widen and heads shake. Someone made a statement akin to what I just expressed and… I, I was offended.

“What do you mean, 6 months already?”

Just what I said, how can you not know what I mean? How can you question the validity of my statement? Haven’t you felt her absence every second of every day? I feel like I have.

But what’s the point?

Here’s what I’ve learned in therapy:

Emotions. E-Motion. Emotions are guides to helping us understand what we need. The things we need to do. It puts the “motion” in emotion.

Fear is about keeping us safe. You’re afraid to walk down a dark alley in a bad part of town? Good! Don’t do it, you might get hurt.

Anger gives us the energy to make a change, to set limits and boundaries around situations or people that might be unhealthy.

Grief/Sadness? It allows us to be comforted. To bring us into relationship, at a point in time when we really need it.

I need it. I’m in a place where I’ve never before felt such intense levels of all three of those emotions, for this long of a time period.

I feel so lonely, even though I know I have lot’s of people to lean on for support… I just don’t have the energy to even reach out.

Nat’s death, especially with the holidays around the corner, is getting worse. It’s getting harder with the six month mark because I think, for me, the permanency is setting in. The holiday music is killing me. She loved Christmas and every time I got to see her, it felt like Christmas to me. I heard Mariah Carey sing “All I Want for Christmas” the other day. I’ve disliked that song since 2009, when grandma died…and not so much as dislike the song, just teary, every time I hear it, I cry myself into a little puddle.

Today we are going to a candlelight service at the Washburn – McReavy. It’s not just for our family but all of the families they’ve served this year… it just happens to fall on the exact 6 month marker. I kinda feel like I have to go.

“Why do you have to go? Can’t you just light a candle at home?”

I could, but I guess I kinda feel like how many more functions will there be where Natalie is apart of the event… I have to go. I have to celebrate her with others. I have to remind myself that death is a part of life and it’s not permanent… the separation, I mean.

I recently read a quote by Chuck Palahniuk that made me hold my breath in pause, in awe for a moment before resuming my breathing… Here it is:

chuck-palahniuk-quote

Interesting food for thought morsel, isn’t it?

What are your thoughts on grief or emotions in general? I’d love to hear about it or fell free to share a story in memory of a loved one in the comments section below!

The Beginning of the End?

I was getting ready to finish the blog post I started last night and it just hit me. Out of nowhere, like a ninja, grief attacked.

I was going to write about politics, so maybe it’s not so bad I was derailed… but a photo of Natalie stopped me.

Since the expo ended on the 15th, I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop…

 

It had been getting close. I had a few close call with crying fits but hadn’t really been able to let it out and I don’t know why.

I do know what pushed me over the edge though…

We The Kings have a song called Sad Song and it tore my heart in more than half…

*This video is NSF, unless you don’t mind ending up a puddle on the office floor*

Maybe I should’ve had the warning above the link… sorry.

It’s just that everything hurts all over again. Again and again.

I thought that once the expo was over, I could go back to meditating. It’s a new thing for me, at least it was. I’d felt calmer, more centered and most importantly, closer to Natalie. But, the expo ended and… I. feel. like. shit.

Physically I don’t feel good. Part of that is my Grave’s disease (couldn’t they have come up with a name not so… dismal?) is kicking in again. That means I’m dealing with exhaustion, an intolerance to heat and irritability (no shit). On top of that, depression is settling into my bones. The past several days it’s been almost impossible to get out of bed. I’ve made it to work, the one shift I’ve had so far this week. I’ve gone to my therapy group and not much else. I didn’t do my volunteering that I usually do on Wednesdays. I haven’t answered the phone or email. I just feel so heavy.

I kinda feel the equivalent of drunk. Like, sloppy drunk. Praying to God from inside the toilet bowl, trying to hold your hair back without moving any other body part for fear of vomiting… Once you do start puking, you just lay down on the cool tile floor and wait for the next wave of nausea to peak.

I lay in bed, my head propped up against the wooden headboard and wait for the next tsunami of tears to sweep me away. After the hysteria subsides, I fall into a light sleep with my eyes swollen shut and my throat dry and scratchy until the next little trigger starts the cycle again.

Like an alcoholic, I have to take this one day at a time. Remind myself that through is the only way out, when I beg God to tell me how long this is going to last. How much more do I have to endure? How many more hours and days will I walk around with a piece of myself missing…

While looking for an image to go along with this post, I came across this poem… it’s slightly modified to fit this particular situation.

I’ll Meet You In the Light

I know that you can’t see me, but trust me I’m right here.
Although I’m up in heaven, my love for you stays near.

So often I see you crying, many times you call my name.
I want so much to touch your face and ease some of your pain.

I wish that I could make you see that Heaven indeed is real.
If you could see me run and play, how much better you would feel.

But our loving God has promised me that when the time is right,
You’ll step out of the darkness and meet me in the light.

Written by Maureen Bauer

 

Stages in (my) Life

Five or six years old, watching Annie, the broadway play.

Natalie’s face, wide-eyed and hypnotized.

The back of her dress, red and rippling as she ran toward the stage.

Dads arm barley misses her white, laced collar.

The dress matches Annie’s and suddenly, unsuspecting Annie’s solo turns into a duet.

Third or fourth grade,

standing in a flower pot, because I fit the best.

Swaying in the fabricated breeze, I scan the rows of metal chairs in the gymnasium for mom and dad.

At 18, I stared at the empty stage.

I closed my eyes and imagined walking across, to the podium, accepting my diploma instead of settling for my GED.

A college cafeteria, a makeshift stage.

My name is Melanie and I’m an alcoholic.

Last year, back stage.

I forgot my notebook.

I’m sure I looked pretty cocky being the only comedian NOT last-minute cramming before my name is called.

Under the spotlight

This is the first time I felt like I’d ever been on stage and I never wanted to leave.

After years in the shadows and the darkness, it was my time to envelop myself in the arms of artificial light and shine.

Next stage?

Being an advocate for Natalie and others. Giving a voice to those who have lost their own.

“All the world’s a stage”

What role will you play?

Why I Write

Sorry I’m kinda phoning it in tonight, long weekend equals little brain power and almost zero original thoughts. “Why I Write” is written by Terry Tempest Williams and sums up exactly how I feel. This brings me to tears each time I read it. I hope you love it as much as I do!

I’ll try to post an original entry before Wednesday!

Why I Write by Terry Tempest Williams

I write to make peace with the things I cannot control. I write to
create fabric in a world that often appears black and white. I write to
discover. I write to uncover. I write to meet my ghosts. I write to begin
a dialogue. I write to imagine things differently and in imagining things
differently perhaps the world will change. I write to honor beauty. I
write to correspond with my friends. I write as a daily act of improvisation.
I write because it creates my composure. I write against power
and for democracy. I write myself out of my nightmares and into my
dreams. I write in a solitude born out of community. I write to the
questions that shatter my sleep. I write to the answers that keep me
complacent. I write to remember. I write to forget. I write to the music
that opens my heart. I write to quell the pain. I write to migrating
birds with the hubris of language. I write as a form of translation. I
write with the patience of melancholy in winter. I write because it
allows me to confront that which I do not know. I write as an act of
faith. I write as an act of slowness. I write to record what I love in the
face of loss. I write because it makes me less fearful of death. I write
as an exercise in pure joy. I write as one who walks on the surface of
a frozen river beginning to melt. I write out of my anger and into
my passion. I write from the stillness of night anticipating-always
anticipating. I write to listen. I write out of silence. I write to soothe
the voices shouting inside me, outside me, all around. I write because
of the humor of our condition as humans. I write because I believe in
words. I write because I do not believe in words. I write because it is
a dance with paradox. I write because you can play on the page like
a child left alone in sand. I write because it belongs to the force of the
moon: high tide, low tide. I write because it is the way I take long
walks. I write as a bow to wilderness. I write because I believe it can
create a path in darkness. I write because as a child I spoke a different
language. I write with a knife carving each word through the generosity
of trees. I write as ritual. I write because I am not employable. I
write out of my inconsistencies. I write because then I do not have to
speak. I write with the colors of memory. I write as a witness to what
I have seen. I write as a witness to what I imagine. I write by grace
and grit. I write out of indigestion. I write when I am starving. I write
when I am full. I write to the dead. I write out of the body. I write to
put food on the table. I write on the other side of procrastination. I
write for the children we never had. I write for the love of ideas. I
write for the surprise of a sentence. I write with the belief of alchemists.
I write knowing I will always fail. I write knowing words always fall
short. I write knowing I can be killed by my own words, stabbed by
syntax, crucified by both understanding and misunderstanding. I write
out of ignorance. I write by accident. I write past the embarrassment
of exposure. I keep writing and suddenly, I am overcome by the sheer
indulgence, (the madness,) the meaninglessness, the ridiculousness of
this list. I trust nothing especially myself and slide head first into the
familiar abyss of doubt and humiliation and threaten to push the delete
button on my way down, or madly erase each line, pick up the paper
and rip it into shreds-and then I realize, it doesn’t matter, words are
always a gamble, words are splinters from cut glass. I write because
it is dangerous, a bloody risk, like love, to form the words, to say the
words, to touch the source, to be touched, to reveal how vulnerable
we are, how transient.
I write as though I am whispering in the ear of the one I love.