Tag Archives: grieving

Familiarity

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My sister left for home last night.     On my arrival home from bringing her to the airport, I found tears running down my cheeks, I had felt it coming, there was nothing I could do or tell myself that would deter this, so I just let it happen.    My mother is gone.  She will never again step foot in my home, we will never work on another project together, we will never fight again, she has passed into the unknown.   I had to DO something, I had to get my hands busy because my mom wouldn’t like for me to get lost into grief again, so I pulled out a frame I had found at a thrift shoppe and filled it with pictures of family members we’ve lost, my mom and my two sisters.   I was happy with the way it turned out, even though it took a couple hours longer than it should’ve, but what else was I going to do?   I cried my eyes to sleep last night while watching Frasier.

The world seems foreign to me now.   Just like it did when we lost our kid sister.   It isn’t nearly as kind or caring, and I have one less source of unconditional love, one less person I could depend on if I needed her.   Everything in my world has changed, again.

Today I drove to Walmart for a few things today, and found myself walking aimlessly around the store.  Going from one end, to the other, back to the first.  I had my list on my phone what I needed to get, and I looked at it at least 4 times while there, and still came home with one thing I forgot to get.   What is this?  What am I feeling?  Why am I feeling like this is “Scatterday?”, I felt familiarity, and as hard as I tried to distract myself, engage myself in things like $1 a yard Waverly fabric, or yarn clearance, I just couldn’t get into it.  My creativity was on strike, and I found myself doing stupid things, unable to focus, unable to make a sound decision on sachets for my bureau.  What the hell?   Looking at things I  had no idea why, and dodging people I knew, it finally hit me.   GRIEF.    This is grief!  Of course it feels familiar.   No wonder my stomach was upset, and when i heard the screaming child in the next aisle over, I felt as if every nerve ending in my body was exposed to this, breathe, breathe, breathe.  I was talking to myself, and found myself saying, thinking “GO, GO NOW!”  Like Hannibal Lechter said to Jody Foster’s character in “Silence of the Lambs”.  Harshly, forcefully.  I went right to the self check out.

It’s been 13 days since my mom died.   Today is the first day I’ve been on my own without the security of siblings since we said goodbye to her.   Today was no longer about the end of my moms life, today is about the beginning of my life without my mother.

I filled the basket with sugar related items, this is how I feed my hurting heart, my aching soul.   It will only last a day or two and then I’ll get mad at myself for doing so, and hopefully, with the help of a tight wasted, uncomfortable pair of jeans, will walk away from sugar and seek water, food, nourishment.  I know there is absolutely nothing I can eat that will take away this pain, or sorrow.   But I will still do it.   Because for a few minutes I feel normal, I feel peaceful, I feel nothing.Spent some time on the phone today with my cousin and sister, also texted with my brother.  We’re all “checking in” on each other.  I’m grateful for that.   And while the list is short today, I did do one kind things for another, which always makes me feel better.  I delivered some lemon frosted shortbread cookies to a friend who is in rehab for a broken hip.  She said “I’m sure you’re in a hurry.”  I replied “No, I’m really not, I’m just not right, and I just want to get home to my cat, my beads, my brushes, my comfy clothes, safe in the confines of my humble little abode.

So now, post sugar fix, my energy level has been depleted, and I will either take a nap, or engage myself in a project like I did last night.    Whichever I do, whichever I choose, I will be kind to myself, and allow myself to feel this pain, to face this loss, this significant loss.

 

 

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In celebration of she

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Today we gathered as a family to celebrate my moms life.   My sisters and brothers families were there, we were minus only a handful to make the gathering “whole”.  My mom would’ve loved to have seen us all there together, and as I watched the “goings on” of all,  I know she would’ve been so pleased that so many came the long distance, and at great expense, to honor and celebrate her life.    My parents divorced many decades ago, but my dad and his girlfriend came.   I saw my dad physically choke up once or twice,  particularly when he was watching the slide show that my niece’s husband put together from our combined collection of pictures of my mother.  My parents were married 27 years, they had five children, built two family homes from scratch to finish with very little “contracting” out.   At one point I walked up to my dad and hugged him, told him how lucky we were to have him.  His reply?   “No, Donna, how lucky I am to have all of you!”

Alongside the pictures of my mother playing on the screen, depicting happy times, a playlist I had created for my mother a couple years ago played in the background.   The choice of flowers, white mums, roses, and a spray of blue delphinium, were absolutely beautiful.   My mother would’ve absolutely loved it.  Filling the inner circle of this wreath sat a beautiful urn with mother of pearl enhancements that contained my mothers remains.   My mom loved mother of pearl, abalone, it was her favorite stone.  On the same table were “keepsakes” that mom had saved, postcards, letters, cards, pictures.  It was so tastefully done, and I know my mother would’ve approved.  I know she would have!  Also included were pictures of my youngest and oldest sisters, whom I hope and pray mom is reunited with.

Last night my niece made dinner for all of us, including my dad, his girlfriend, three of my brother’s four children, daughter-in-law,  My sisters husband, both of her children, son-in-law, and two of her grandchildren, my brothers friend, and her daughter.

One of the nicest things for me to hear was “young cousins” playing, laughing.   It was magical for me, and reminded me of my own, our own childhood gatherings with cousins.  It helped give sense to my moms passing – New generations making memories that will hopefully last them a long lifetime.   Oh the truly innocent and silly things they were doing, like making farting noises down a heat vent from the second floor of the farmhouse into the  first floor kitchen where the adults were gathered.    It was their laughter that I hope to never forget, I hope THEY never forget!

I could not be happier with how nice today turned out, the last couple of days actually.  I’m writing this blog so that in the days to come when we are all back to our busy lives, and feeling the loss of my mother, I can come back to this to recall, relive, reunite with the love that flowed, commonality, my family.

My mother was the strongest woman I’ve ever met.   I will always love her and be grateful for giving me life, and teaching me all she did.  I will miss her love, her encouragement, her help, her care when I was ill, her sense of humor.   I will miss her!

Now, personally, the events of this past week, up to and including my mothers passing, has made me realize that I have some work to do on myself.  I will likely share about this in future blogs, because writing is a valuable, helpful tool for me.   But it’s going to be okay, I will be okay, because I know I’m still teachable!

My daily goal, first and foremost, is peace.   In order to achieve this, I need to learn some new skills on how to handle my own emotions, particularly “anger”.    This is probably something most learned in childhood, but I was such an “emotional child” (annoyingly sensitive I’ve been told!)  it was easier for my family to not deal with my emotions, to perhaps “pacify” me.   I am NOT blaming anyone, I believe my parents, my family, myself, we all did our best.     But what worked then (well, it really didn’t even work then either), no longer works and is not appropriate.

I have spent the last couple months stuck in anger.  This wasn’t the first time this has happened, the last time it was this severe was a few months after my sister died.   I ended up hospitalized with such.  I have made many changes in my life, I have consistently improved upon myself, and the quality of my life, my choices, the people in it.   I’ve created a safe, loving, peaceful (for the most part) life for myself.   But what good are these changes,  learning how to set boundaries, recognizing when I’m being taken for granted, standing up for myself, and all the changes I’ve made if I don’t go “all the way” and change my OWN inappropriate behavior?!?    I am the only one who can do this for myself!   Anger scares me – my own and others.    Certainly I can learn new skills!   My life, my relationships will improve.  Particularly when circumstances and opportunities to which the only control I have is how I handle myself!       Yup!   It’s time.

Tell those you love how much they mean to you.  Forgive others who trespass against you.   Forgive yourself.    If you can’t say it, write it, or say it with flowers, or sweets.    To quote Nike…..     Just do it!

Rambling grief

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My siblings have graciously and generously taken care of all the necessary final arrangements.  My mother did not want a service, she was adamant about this.    So they have generously arranged for a private family dinner in which we will celebrate her life.   My brother has offered his home for family and friends to stop by afterwards if desired.   I want to share that I am overwhelmed by all the thoughts and messages, prayers being said for me and my family.

The reality that she is gone hits me sporadically and infrequently.   It’s still not real yet.  If that makes any sense.  I’ve been practicing self care, resting the past few days, working on her obituary, which I must say hasn’t come easily.  I remember an obituary of someone who I knew, and despised, and my jaw was sitting on my chest throughout the whole obituary because it was so uncharacteristically her, and I had thought about becoming an obituary writer after reading it.   Clearly, you can say anything you want, make up things, be anything you want or want them to be in an obituary!   For me, I wanted it to be an honest assessment of my mothers life.   I wanted to touch upon the things that were most meaningful and important to her.  Doing so required sorting through many memories and feelings. and spanned the last five decades of her life that I was aware of.

I look around my house and I’m reminded of how much my mom did for me.  We tackled projects together, including painted furniture that she would strip, fix, and I would paint.    She rarely sat, she was always busy.  Sometimes that used to drive me nuts.  And the things that she did that used to irk me, like leaving cleaning agents in nooks and crannies around the house, today made me smile.  My house will NEVER AGAIIN be as clean as it was then when my mom was staying here or house sitting!   Last night when I did the dishes I remember her saying to me “the warmth on your hands is healing, Donna, let it nurture your hands”.   For the record, my dishwasher also died, and I haven’t yet nurtured my hands today!  And for over a decade now, my mom took care of all my flower gardens, and yard.   Her and my friend Joe who took care of the lawn, both of whom will no longer be doing that.   I will deal with that when the snow is gone.  Perhaps I’ll get back into gardening?

My mother and I couldn’t be more opposite in some ways, and in others we were side by side, I echoed her.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but I know that both of these things were obvious in our relationship.  Sometimes it’s because you are very much alike that personalities clash!

I’m not liking this particular journey of grief.   Actually, I haven’t liked any other either.  But this loss, this is vast.     I can’t even comprehend it yet.  Am I saying it is greater than my other losses?    I don’t know, I just know it’s seemingly different, in the short time since she passed.  As I go through pictures to share with my siblings, I’m also sorting through memories.   My mother would surprise me many times I was away teaching.  I’d come home and she’d have not only cleaned the house but also did extras, things that I was meaning to do just hadn’t yet found the time.   I remember the first time I traveled after my ex boyfriend and I split.  I have mentioned on numerous occasions he was an alcoholic, a binge drinker.  Well, when I started to travel teach, I was weary when I’d pull out of the driveway on a Thursday or Friday to travel to my gig.   I didn’t trust him, and was afraid that he’d get drunk and would lose one of my animals (accidentally) or burn my house down.  So when I came home the first time after we split and my mom had stayed at my house (with my 4-5 animals), I was delighted to come home to a super clean house, new scatter rugs, and other small things that really were appreciated.  Although, she was far more excited over a toilet bowl brush than i was!    Seriously!  I remember thinking how nice it was to have someone “on my side” or working with me with housework and goals.

I am afraid of grief.   I am afraid because it can be such a deep dark hole, an emptiness, a seemingly endless journey of sadness, at least it was for me when my youngest sister died, and when I learned Jim had died.  I’ve been reading articles online how to help yourself, things you can do to help move your grief along if you are feeling stuck.  I haven’t felt stuck because I haven’t yet accepted it.  But I know from experience that there will be a time that I do, and it will probably be when I get angry.  If you’ve never read any of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross work, her writing was amazing, her work with the dying was ground breaking.  Both my mother and I enjoyed her books, and my mother doing hospice work shared many things with me.   It’s time to pull back out the book written by hospice workers that I cannot seem to recall  its title, but I will.  I will probably have to buy it again, which I have done probably five times, because I always seem to pass it along to someone else who was in need of comfort, understanding, who was walking the difficult path of grief.  I want to say “Final gifts”.

I’ve kept fairly alone this week, which works for me.  Once an extrovert, I have long since moved over to the introverts side, and I heal, process alone.    At one point in my life I was afraid to be alone, as if it said something horrible about me that I wasn’t “in love”.    Those days are long gone, and while I long for loving touch, I am comfortable with my life.  I think each person has to define whether coming home to an empty house evokes loneliness or freedom!    And that can vary day by day, certainly when walking through grief.    I’ve gone from having 5 pets, two dogs and 3 cats, down to one geriatric cat who at the age of 18 years old has the whole house to herself.  She was always low man on the totem pole.   All the other animals would pick on her, but now she’s showing them!     I thought I was losing her a couple months ago, i mean, she is obviously showing signs of age, she sleeps a lot, but she had stopped eating, and had become alarmingly thin.   I’m pleased to say she is doing much better, and I love looking over at the second chair in my living room and seeing here there.  I’ve resisted offers and desires to get more animals because it’s just so expensive to have them, and I have been fortunate to have friends who helped me get their flea and tick stuff, shots, and also in putting them down when their quality of life became unacceptable to me.

I don’t know why I’m struggling so with second guessing the pain meds I kept asking for with my mom.    As close as I can come to the fear of it, is that it silenced her.  And my mother was hardly the quiet soul.     She and I had a pact when it came to my animals.   She really was good to them, and my dogs lived at her house half the time because of how much I traveled.  But I digress.   The pact was, if I was letting one of my animals live in a manner that was less than quality of life, she would tell me.  Because I never wanted them to suffer, ever.   So in recalling this, why would I question doing the same with my mom?  It isn’t as if we euthanized her, but my mother has always responded drastically to the smallest dose of most meds.  Was there more she wanted to say?  The fact that I, we had the last word with her offers little comfort from a strong woman who always seemed to have the last word.

Back to being alone, one with myself, tomorrow I am going out to get my hair done. I’m looking skunk (ish) with roots.   I tried doing this the other day, but I couldn’t sit in my own skin while I was waiting for my girlfriend to finish with her previous client.   I bowed out, leaving her a note, because I just wasn’t doing well physically or emotionally.     I hope tomorrow goes better.

Hope you had a nice day, hope you smiled today and shared with loved ones how much they mean to you.  It’s important, and in the overall scheme of life, it goes by so fast.

Love and good thoughts being sent to you .  Thanks for reading!

 

This, too, shall pass…

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Someone I love deeply is under fire.    Undeserving, but not unexpected fire.    As I read the comments, I thought about who this person is.   What a good person he is.

When you were little, you were so kind to others.  You’re intelligence showed at the age of 3 when you and I were driving to Town at dark, and you were humming “Twilight Zone” as you looked at the sky, and smiled.

Well, the time you stole the money from your friends and brother, that was more out of madness, and I’m sure we can all look back on that and laugh.  It was corrected.  You were feeling pushed and didn’t like it.  I want you to remember that time.  How old were you?   There is a huge difference between then, and who you are, with what you are currently facing.  For one, you know right and wrong.  You may not like them, but you are a law abiding citizen surrounded with those that know nothing of the person you are, or who you will be by the end of this.

The stabbing lies, the vindictiveness, I’m shaking my head as I’m thinking about it.  Dear soul, you have been swimming with the likes of vultures, with that heart of gold of yours.  You are by far one of the nicest, kindest people I’ve ever know.  I am so proud of you, every day.   I was so disappointed with what you settled for, but I’ve been there, too.  And I’m sure, no, I have no doubt, that the spitting and vicious attacks will continue.  Why?  My dear child, it isn’t about you.  It isn’t about you at all.  It is about them.  You just were “throwing pearls to swine”.   They didn’t value you, they raped your kindheartedness, stole not only every cent you ever made, were given, but celebrated their own victories on your earnings.

I am so relieved to hear that you are making changes.  I am proud of you, again.  I’ve no doubt this decision was the hardest one you’ve ever made in your life.  I know why you stayed, and one day they will, too.   And hopefully they will not fall (more than they already have) to the likes of these, I hesitate to even call them “people”.  Perhaps one day, they too will be relinquished from the evils, the spite, the lowest form of beings I have ever known.  And I’ve known a few.

So, when they go low, you go high.  There were many things I didn’t like about the Obama Presidency but I will say, this?  This has stayed with me, and I’ve packed it away to pull out for the very times that you are walking through right now.   You will get beyond this, because of who you are, and all of us who love you, and will help you find your way out.

Never ever ever ever give up.   Even when you feel like it, and I’m here to tell you, my dear child, that you will want to.  There will be days the snakes have surrounded you, and the evil will be so strong that you’ll want to not fight, but you will.  You will because of the very two reasons why you stayed.  You will never give up on them.

I love you more than I can say, and I am sorry you are in pain, and in this place, but I am so proud that you are here, that you are finally here, and even if for this one evening you feel your own worth, I promise you, you only recognize 1/200ths of your worth.  You’ve been told and mistreated so, you haven’t even a clue as to who you are, or what you are capable of.  But you will.  I promise you.  You will.

The past is the past, and it will sting for some time, mostly from the likes of those who only know how to piss, moan, bitch, and steal.   Leaches, really.    How many times have you EVER treated anyone like they have you????    And my wish for you is, you will never know this, and I don’t believe you ever will, because of who you are.

So you rest, and you do your best every day, in every way.  When they start pissing on you, you ignore, and remember the two reasons why you will always be the better person, with morals, standards.   You are a good person, and some part of you knows that.  Some part of you recognizes that you didn’t deserve this treatment, nor to be in the likes of these snakes.  Because you have walked in courage the last few days.   You will never, ever regret walking in courage.

And when you have your doubts (and you will), you remember those who love you, and you lean to them to remind you of our worth, your strength, and what a beautiful, amazing person you are.   Some of the best times of my life were with you.    I love you.  You’ve got this, and when you feel you don’t?  We’ve got your back.

 

Doing the right thing…

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Six months ago I adopted/rescued an 18 month old German Shepherd by the name of Sophie.   She is as sweet as can be, loves the other animals, great with my niece and her best friend (Age 10).   The first two months I had her a girlfriend gave me two bags of food, Royal Canin, which cost $50-$60.  I got her weight up, as you could see her ribs.   I managed to get her ears straightened out with drops, bag balm, and her fur was growing back nicely (She was missing 2/3  of her fur).    I kept her on the good food for another 2 months, but could not afford the expense this past month.   In this month she has taken a few steps back, skin wise.  I’m so upset about it.   She scratches and bites herself, I took care of this with Epsom salts, it helped the scratching.  Benadryl did nothing for this.  She has dry flaky skin and her fur is coming out by handfuls.

I have all rescue animals, 3 cats and 2 dogs.  Every single woman needs five animals, don’t you think?  NOT!   I have all I can do to feed myself let alone all the animals, but trust me, they live well.   I do take very good care of them and they are all spoiled, shocker eh?   I have been chatting with a friend who has a german shepherd, she works with gsd rescue.   The first few weeks I had her was challenging, house training her, getting her body weight up, the itching to cease.  I made it through some major hurdles with her, with the support of this friend and others.   Now I’ve come to the realization that she would be better off in a home where she will get the best medical care.  To say I’m sad is an understatement.

I have strong moments when I feel like I can do this, other times not at all.   Last week I had decided I was keeping her, would figure out a way, came home and she had peed and crapped in the house.    I actually scolded her but laughed… Oh sure… do this AFTER I decide to keep you!  That was not a deal breaker.   She has wormed her way into my heart, and my terriers heart.  While a major pain in the ass at times, now in the terrible 2’s, I feel like someone has placed a bag of cement on my chest.   I don’t want to give her up.   I just don’t.   I have to do the right thing and place her with a family that will and have the means to take care of her.   It’s the right thing to do.  So why does it feel so wrong?  The worst and most painful thing in this situation is her sadness.  Intelligent, intuitive, she senses this.   She looks at me with sad eyes, and rests now always near me.   I feel like I am abandoning her, and as a person who struggles with abandonment issues, this pains me.

All of my cats are geriatric, one failing rapidly.   It is hard watching her health fail, though she is as happy as ever, as mischievous as ever.  As long as her quality of life is there, I will do my best with her.  I do not believe in letting animals suffer.  Not at all.   This belief is the impetus in making the decision to place Sophie elsewhere.

Send me good energy, thoughts, say some prayers for me, please.  I’m going to need all to muster up the strength to do this.

 

A decade later …

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It has been 10 years this week since my kid sister, Darlene, took her last breath.   It seems like a life time since I have seen her, but just yesterday, the trauma.    I hear so often that time heals.   I don’t agree.   A large part of my heart was ripped out, it has never healed.  I do believe that time teaches us  how to coexist with the reality, the pain.

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 37, she died 10 months to the day later at the age of 38.  It was a travesty for all who knew and loved her.    After she died I remember thinking “How am I supposed to stop loving her?”   I think now what a senseless question because I have since learned… you NEVER stop loving them.  In fact, for me my love for her has grown.

My sister was an old soul.  She was an observer of sorts.  As a kid she would stand back and watch while my cousin Marie and I would do something, lip off, for example… She and my cousin Tina would look at each other, look at us and just “watch”.   I think, in family, she was most like our cousin Steve.  Again, quiet, observing… they would shake their heads and watch out of the corner of their eyes, sometimes with raised eyebrows…  I’m sure they were thinking “Are you nuts?  You’re going to get in big trouble!”

Darlene was a good person.  She was honest, a woman of her word, kind and had a great personality and sense of humor.   She loved to fish, snowmobile, play hockey…  A natural athlete.    She loved water and lived on a lake for the past decade and a half of her life.    She worked hard and played hard.  She loved outdoors.  She enjoyed life.

Ten years and the tears still fall.   I haven’t mentioned this anniversary to anyone in my family, as I’m hoping they could skate by it without the painful memories.   My sister, Karla, was one of her caregivers for the last few weeks of her life.  She was with her when she left this world.   I know she has thought about it, she does every year.

Next month will be the 2nd anniversary of my oldest sister’s passing.  She died at 56 of ovarian cancer.   In my almost daily talks I have with my sister I told her today I knew she was there waiting to greet Karen.   That was who she was.   She did for others and had respect for herself as well as others.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her.  Some days are diamonds, some days are stone….   Sometimes I laugh out of control, other days, like today, the tears fall.  Still, today I am also able to smile and laugh at aspects of her, of our life.

For me, I have learned that there isn’t anything quite like siblings.   Most of the funniest times of my life were with my siblings, or family.

Say “I love you”, say what you need to say today as you never know what tomorrow will bring.   As mentioned earlier, I still talk to her almost daily, but I miss her eyes, her voice, her hands, her short athletic legs that in the summer looked like spoiling bananas from all the bruises from activities.  I miss her guidance, encouragement, I miss her laugh, her sense of humor, her view points.  I miss her, all of her.

 

Eventually this cold winter will pass…

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I am a natural fixer.  I want to make things better.  If someone is hurting, I want to fix whatever is wrong so their pain goes away.  But I am not God, nor do I have magical powers that can do this.  I am just Donna.  I can tell you that I spent years of my life trying, however!  I tried so hard to help others, that I neglected and lost myself to the point of near ruin.

Five years ago I had to make a choice to save myself from a downward spiral.  This required saying goodbye to someone I really cared about, loved.  Someones whose life was now being ruled by alcohol, consequently our lives.    Not an easy thing to do when you still care , and you feel that your actions to date have somewhat protected him from himself.     This to many, and in Al Anon is described as “enabling”.   To shield, protect, defend the alcoholic of the consequences of his own actions.    So I did just that.  I stopped all protecting, and I watched from the sidelines and heard descriptive details (small town gossip) as his life quickly became more and more unmanageable, and I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed…   I had always feared that he would die of this disease, or worse, that he would end up imprisoned or killing someone else under the influence.  And on, and on, and on.  As much as you see it coming, as much as you fear it, as much as you detach yourself from it, you cannot grieve.  Because as long as they are alive there is still hope.  Hope that they will seek help, find sobriety, return to their senses, themselves…and behind that hidden somewhere for me was a hope that he would one day return, that we could resume our life together from what it used to be, long before alcoholic took over, long before progression. Yet you go on with your life, you move forward, new relationships, a new life, yet you never forget, and you never stop praying for the recovery and health of the person you once knew.

When you hear that your fears have come true, that they have died of the very disease that tore the two of you apart, and took nearly your life too, it is still a shock.  At least it was for me.   On one hand there was relief, that the downward spiral, the battle, the hell was over, yet on the other the reality that though the disease is now gone, no longer present or prominent in your loved one, it has in fact stripped you of all hope, and of the person you loved, or once loved.   Now I start to grieve.  I grieve for the person I fell in love with, I grieve for the man who was once sober and whom alcohol had NO grip on during that time.  I grieve for his life that touched MANY including mine, for his parents, his family, his many friends, I grieve for myself for all that was and could have been, and sadly what was hidden, what I had hoped would be again.  I grieve like my heart has been bludgeoned because for all intensive purposes, it has.

Eventually this cold winter will pass, acceptance will come and all will be placed in its proper perspective, place, which will not be in the fore front, but placed behind all the positives of today.  Will it ever go away?  For some yes I suppose.  For me, no.  It is a lesson, an experience too deep into my flesh to ever fully forget, but that does not mean I will not go on to live a happy full life.  This is my goal, this is my promise to myself.   To love fully again, to trust, to begin anew  not with the grief of yesterday but with the knowledge and the strength that yesterday has given me.  My heart is an amazing entity…

Gifts from the other side

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It’s been a while since I’ve written.  I’ve been working through some painful feelings, grieving, reminiscing, reflecting, and praying.   I need to let go of Jim.  I do not want to.  I feel his presence around me, as I said in an earlier post, his death has in a very strange way brought him back to me.  I experienced many signs that he is okay, that he is free.  Feeling his presence makes me selfish.  I do not want to release him.  I asked him to stay, and he did.  I am not insane, I am not making this stuff up. I believe.   But I know he has to go, and I know I need to let him go.  This isn’t something I do well or gracefully.  I want, I want, I want… and I have to be unselfish and set him free. 

I drive down the road and memories come that I haven’t thought about in years, or ever.  All positive.  It is as if he is orchestrating our story, set out in front of me in memories and placing people, places, things in my path.  It is really quite beautiful.  My heart fills with joy and I laugh, and sometimes I talk to him.

A couple weeks back I was on my way home from Boston, postsurgery appointment.  This was only days after I had found out about his passing.  All the way home I was crying, and talking to him.  The battle of denial and reality was still evident in my thoughts and actions.   As I drove into Erving, MA to make the right turn over the mountain I realized my music wasn’t playing.  Music is a vital part of my life.  It can work better than a tranquilizer!  I looked down at my stereo and watched my volume go up to 10 then down to 0, then up to 8, then down to 0.   I kept looking at it, is this really happening?  Is this you telling me you are okay?  And then the song “Knocking on Heavens Door” came on.  I pulled over and cried.   The cynical part of me doubted, started to think about what would make my volume/lcd do that.  I am like this.  I have had profound spiritual experiences and I believe.  But as time goes along they sometimes fade away, or I place them on the back burner because I’m AFRAID to believe.  Jim of all people would know how to get my attention, he knew how important music is to me.   I came home and meditated and that night my dreams of him were so surreal.  I asked him, please hold me one more time…. just one more time, isn’t this something we all say when we have lost someone?  Just one more glimpse, one more hand holding, one more hug, one more conversation….  That night when I finally got to sleep he was in my dreams, and he held me.  The details of his eyes, the warmth and molding of how my body fit into his, the way he smelled, everything was layed out so perfectly, vividly.  He did give me what I wanted.  He held me again.

Be careful what you ask for, and if you have an addictive personality, or hell, maybe this is just normal, but waking up from the dream, to the reality that he has passed brought on more pain.   Sighs.   One more time, one more time, one more time….  But over a couple of hours (after forcing myself to get out of bed because I just wanted to fall back to sleep, to go back there with him) I was able to turn the pain over to gratitude .  He DID hold me again, and he was so full of light, sunshine, he looked wonderful and he sounded so happy.  This has helped me tremendously.

I have shared the experience with my stereo with a couple friends.  A week and a half later while sharing it with another friend I stopped dead in my tracks.  What is wrong she said?  My eyes teared up, nothing…. but I walked over to my mother and said Mom, we started dating on 10/8.  Replaying the stereo volume going up to 10, back to 0, up to 8, back to zero.   It hadn’t occurred to me that the numbers had any significance.   I haven’t wanted to share this in my blog because I didn’t want nonbelievers or critics to dirty or taint this for me.  But today I feel stronger and feel it IS important to share this.  To NOT put this on the back burner, to NOT allow the cynic in me to poopoo it, and to share this experience with others so that perhaps this will help them in some way.

Jim often joked with me about being a witch.  Not like bitchy or ugly, but I sometimes possess a sixth sense, if you will.  I sometimes would chalk it up to women’s intuition, or poopoo that too.  At times it has really frightened me.  It doesn’t anymore.  But I do not practice this, nor have I worked on honing it.  I just accepted that this is part of me.  I honor that part of me.  It is a very private part of me that by writing this blog I am sharing something that I hope I do not regret.  But if I have learned only one thing in the past year it is to say what you need to say, and that I really do want to let people know who I am.  I am shedding the shell and accepting myself for who I am, forgiving myself for stupid things I have done, and celebrating that today I am alive.  This very moment as I write this blog my heart is celebrating this sunshiny day.  A day that my plans changed early on, but played out just as it was supposed to.

My grief has taken its tole on my body.  Rarely have I slept and my thought process is back down to one task at a time.  But it is getting better.  Each day I feel stronger, and each day I come closer to acceptance.  When I do not accept reality as it is, my life becomes unmanagable, my peace and serenity disappear and anxiety rules.  I have a choice to not allow this to happen.  I have the ability to choose the easier healther path.  I will do this, but as some very endearing friends have said to me… in your time, Donna, and god’s time. 

Ignorance & Anger

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Yup, another negative post.  Sorry.  Thank you for all who have messaged, called, etc.  This IS a hard time for me.  A very hard time.  I really appreciate your support.  I will get through this and yah I’ll be stronger for it…. how do you spell neanderthal?  rolls eyes

I am starting to hit the anger stage of grieving.    This needs to happen but I’m finding that if I spend more time alone than with others, it’s much better for all of us.  Still, on the occasion where I have seen someone and told them what happened I have received some pretty ignorant, cold remarks.

So I thought I would write a few things of WHAT NOT TO SAY when someone has lost someone they love.  I’ve added an excerpt on addiction too.

-No sense crying he drank himself to death

-Well he chose to live his life this way and now he is paying for it

-Why haven’t you accepted it yet?

-He left long ago

While a couple of these had good intentions (or I hope they did) they are still very hurtful and cold.  I wrote an earlier post on scarring in the heart and that we do NOT know what is in another persons heart.

If you aren’t involved in a 12 step program or alanon you probably won’t GET that we detach with love, we do not hate, we do not stop caring, we do not create crisis, we keep our own side of the road clean and let others clean up their side.

I do not need anyone’s permission to grieve.  I do not need anyone’s sarcastic or rude comments.  I swear, do people even THINK about what they are saying? 

I’ve been told that I’m a sensitive person.  Over the years I have learned to “harden” up, I had to, because if I didn’t I would be crushed by the cold reality of many things.   This is NOT depression, this is NOT me looking for attention, this IS ABOUT MOURNING AND GRIEVING.

And yes, he was an alcoholic, he DID in fact drink himself to death, do you think I do NOT know that?  Do you think his survivors do not know that? Really?  Do you have any idea how excruciating it is to watch someone you love self destruct?  If you do not, I hope you never do.  How would you feel if you had just experienced a tremendous loss (and that is only to be defined by yourself, not anyone else…. JUDGEMENT SUCKS) and someone said something cold and invalidating to you?

The majority of people who have heard and approach me are very kind and understanding.  They have been with me thru the split, they remember the happy clean Jim.   It is sad, and those that are left behind are left to find acceptance of a senseless death….

I really wanted to belt someone yesterday.  I mean BELT them.  I lean to being a pacifist, I do not like violence, but yesterday my patience had run short and I am raw, vulnerable.  I am doing my best.

If you don’t know what to say to someone, say I’m sorry.   Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are talking to, and be aware that you do not know their pain or their loss.    In many ways when someone self destructs by disease or mental illness, it is MUCH harder to accept than someone who has died of cancer.  Why?  Because with cancer the person hopefully has done everything they can to save their life.  It is a travesty when someone young dies, PERIOD.   When an addict  or alcoholic dies (and if you are still of the mindset where the stereotype addict or alcoholic is always a street bum….. start paying attention!  There are functional alcoholics, addicts all over, and I’m sure someone you know is one and you may not even know it) their is the ADDED pain of knowing this was a senseless death.   Addicts or alcoholics who die of the disease are criticised, judged mercifully… “They threw their life away, it’s their own fault”… etc.  And I’m not even talking about my jim here.  I’m talking about in general.  ALCOHOLISM and ADDICTION IS A DISEASE.  A sometimes fatal and deadly disease if left untreated.  If you EDUCATE yourself on the disease you will learn that many times the person doesn’t even know they need help because the disease itself convinces them they don’t… that there is nothing wrong.  Not every addict/alcoholic will survive.   In fact, if they do not seek help, they will die.  It is NOT about their lack of willpower or poor character.  They are sick.  Very sick.  And they will leave behind a very hurt and painful past that their survivors will have to walk thru. 

That is not saying that you should allow manipulation, lies, and much more shit from the addict/alcoholic.  Perhaps if they bottom they will get help.  Enabling is not a good thing and most enabling is done out of love or sympathy.  Just because someone lays down a border and tells the alcoholic, do not cross this line doesn’t mean that they have shut off their emotions, feelings, or HOPE. 

What is life without hope?  And I have learned that hope changes.

There is NOTHING you can say or do that will take anothers pain away when they are grieving.  But there IS things you can say that will make it worse.

And now I’m going to jump off my soap box and get ready for class.   Again, my love and thanks to those of you who have so kindly “understood” and offered your support.  Thank you so much.

I pray that his parents and brother are surrounded with kind, loving and understanding people.  The last thing they need is to deal with another persons ignorance or lack of compassion.