Tuesday, March 22, 2016

LETTER TO SELF—with a postscript to Grief

I choose you quote because my favorite line is 'So Woe shall go past' and I

find myself clinging to this Hope as the Waves crash.
Woe shall go past and yet life teaches that Grief shall last, so we are in
disagreement here! Grief shall last as the best part of life is the joy, the
Love that fills and completes the heart. The Love that grows into compassion, 
empathy, kindness, trust, forgiveness. The very best parts of our human-ness.
For without Love, there is no Grief, as voiced by so many. 
Life without Love is no life for me . . . at all . . . ever.

Dear Self:
Why do I write? I write because I grieve. The pain gets lodged in my body and it needs a release. Words are my free floating elements of power—energy. They form a spiral shape in my mind with curly-ques springing from all sides when joyfulness rests in my heart. Classical music notes appear when I am at peace and comfort could be nothing less than the softest cashmere blanket, peach colored.

What about Grief when it decides joy is taking up too much heart space? Grief how many faces do you have? Sometimes you are so gentle when you present loving memories of Matthew, so sage and wise with the lessons you sprinkle onto my journey; or absolutely hateful when you come riding in on that Second Year Wave. Grief—the self-proclaimed King of the Riptide. Why now as I attempt to re-engage with life? Well I know how to beat a riptide—swim with it and not against it. So it’s me and you Grief in another battle for heart space. ME and you. ME in front of you! Could that be part of the difficulty? Have I rushed into taking care of ME, changing things up too fast because it feels so good to bathe in light again? Forgetting that it is best to change one ingredient at a time when taking on a complete recipe overhaul! Have I misled myself thinking I was over the worst of you—Grief? No need to bully. If you’d asked nicely, I would have slowed down all the thinking and the doing and relaxed into the being. A reminder Self, gentle self-care is what is needed. There is no rushing through the pain even when Mood is uplifted and is calling in Change with open arms.

I had my mind-set after our first Missing Matty Anniversary. Ah! I had my mind set but my heart may not have been quite ready. Grief, my heart was not quite ready when you showed up a year older in Addy’s life. You re-broke my heart and Nikki’s when you broke that little girls’. A week before setting off for their first family vacation since Matty’s death and on the ride to daycare, you attach yourself to Addy’s heart—like a barnacle. Addy voices to her Mom how excited she is to see her Daddy on vacation in Florida! You remembered that a Florida get-away was the last vacation they enjoyed as a new little family. Nikki had to have another very difficult conversation with Addy; reminding her that Daddy is dead, his body does not work anymore. He is in Heaven and his Love lives in her heart. Daddy was not going to be in Florida. Addy then told Nikki she wished she’d die too because “I just want to see my Daddy, I love him so much”. Nikki reached into her grief toolbox, found what she needed and soothed the situation—then cried the entire way to her next morning appointment, cried the rest of the day and Sadness fogs her heart and the tears return when revisiting this memory. Addy’s teachers were wonderful and kept a watchful eye on her that day, sending Nikki reassuring photos that she was engaging in her school activities and enjoying herself. Children are resilient! How we wish we could save the Little Ones from heartbreak and all we can do is prepare them for more. And what about us?

I keep staring at mine—my toolbox. It looks so heavy and that lid is on so tight. I know it holds everything I need to continue my walk with you Grief and I feel paralyzed. I did not see this next trigger coming. I held on tight. Grief, you hit me again when Jason and his family left our abode after a short stay prior to getting settled into their new home. I had to say Goodbye when the suitcases and boxes of daily living apparatus were leaving through the back door. Goodbye to no more good morning wake up calls to a stealthy Jaelyn staring at me, inches from my face until something internal tells me to open my eyes. Startling me—no, scaring the crap out of me and she, getting the biggest kick that Gammy jumped out of her skin! Goodbye to the drunk-baby steps as Jordyn unwinds her morning sea legs. No more catching up on Grey’s Anatomy reruns with Beth. Goodbye to no more daily hugs from my oldest son. Daily hugs from my son that is here in the flesh. Hugs that are so rich and deep they feel as though they are coming from two; from the one here and the one in Heaven. I did not know it would hurt so much to say goodbye to those hugs. It’s really not a Goodbye, it’s a “See Ya”; he does live down the road. I have sleepovers for all the grandchildren. I see them. I watch them grow. Why am I feeling this way? It was having my boy home again. An unexpected treat for the heart at this stage in his life as he is well past the point of coming back home. And then . . . the fear you resurrected! Isn’t the hurt enough? Did you have to drag me back to that place, in the beginning of Missing Matthew, when those awful, horrible, painful, thoughts of “you lost one child, it could happen again “surfaced? Fear, anxiety, projection—can I be pushed any further from living in the present?

Triggers, more triggers. Finally, I had a picture in my mind, flutters in my heart that tell me Matthew is in Spirit. Receiving Matty’s remains for a private release. Gray ash, bone bits. I’m holding what is left of my son. That beautiful physical presence. The warm brown eyes, filled with life and joy. The roman nose, strong. The full lips just perfect to look at and the exit for that giddy, joyful laughter. That head of brown hair. The teeth as white as pearls. His fingers, perfectly spaced digits. Arms that held his wife and his children and his family and friends in such a state of Love. The broadness of the shoulders. The force behind Matthew’s language of Love—his hugs. The organs needed for life—the heart, the lungs, the brain . . . ash to ash . . . beginning to end. It is so real. He is never coming back. I knew that. I believed that and now I am holding that in my hands. And the rip current that catches me sucks me under, thrashes me about, throttles my heart, my soul. Confuses me, rolls me under so that I no longer find up and yet down comes so easily. Eyes open or closed—there is no difference, the force of the water takes away all sight. Get me to the safety of shore!

I’m not the old me and I haven’t met the new me and I’m wondering if there even is a me? I’m lost. I feel shame. Shame that I should not be here, back to the beginning with sorrow. I should be there, with peace and comfort and joy. Where are these words coming from? SILENCE— you voice in my head. Another uninvited guest that feels comfortable enough to never leave. And because of this, you seem hateful to me—Grief. Like some kind of old, rusty, jagged piece of evil, happy only when boring your way throughout my entire body, infecting me with dis-ease.

“Self”, I say I think Grief has the picture. I see my toolbox. Had a friend try and pry the lid off and we succeeded a little. I believe tears act like a lubricant for the soul. Loosening, releasing, sending opening messages to the heart. I’m filled with sorrow that I’ve been kicked back to the curb. The tears have been flowing. I know in my heart of hearts that this deep sorrow is not forever. I know I have to take that first step—or belly crawl to the toolbox if I have to. I have heard the Second Year of grief is just as hard if not harder than the first. I didn’t believe that statement. Didn’t want to believe it. Reality says otherwise. Reality also says I am a survivor. I have brave in my DNA. I can feel my way out of this Riptide. I’ll close my eyes and see with my heart. I’ll swim with. I’ll feel when the waters have calmed and have released me from the current. I’ll take a breath of air so deep that my puffed out lungs float me back to shore—where I can reclaim my toolbox. This is one of many stops of the ‘Starts and Stops’ that are the make up of Grief. I need to take a good look at this Stop. There were a few warning signs that the waters were about to get rough. Did I heed them? No. What happens when I am head-focused instead of heart-focused? Grief finds a way to get my attention. I need to make friends with Grief again. We were working so well together!

I embrace you grief. I’m sorry if I thought those hugs we shared during Matty’s first year of passing were all that you would need. I’m sorry that I did not make time for you to wash over me when the warning bells started to peel. I see now that you are protecting my heart and not sabotaging it. My heart does not, nor can it feel all of you at once. You come in layers and present yourself when the scar tissue thickens and is perhaps ready for more. You allowed space in my heart to feel joy, peace, love and contentment in this first year passed. I thank you for that. I understand now that I am ready for the Second Mourning. I will continue my work. I will embrace you in the Second Year and you will show me deeper feelings of joy, peace, love and contentment. You will show me Life and our dance will continue year after year until my heart is healed enough to hold you at arms’ length and really be able to look at you, to see you, to not recoil at your touch, to welcome you as a part of my life, to find peace in our silence. I knew you had to come sooner or later . . . No one escapes the pain of Grief. I will heal enough where we can sit side by side in life and not feel threatened by one another. Healed enough where I can safely carry you with me and at my end, finally be able to release you.

P.S. Are we friends again? My heart is open to you Grief.

A Prayer for Self

Self—keep moving forward, be kinder, be gentler . . 
Learn to love yourself a little more

Release shame—it has no rightful place here

Ask for help

Allow Grief in

Embrace grace and gratitude






Practice the Law of Complement

Please help Self help herself

Blessings and thanks