Tag Archive | how to survive grief

Don’t Curse the Darkness

76604911_It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. 

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I spoke to a dear friend yesterday.  She called to thank me for a small gift I had given to her.  Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure if she would accept it, but I gave it to her anyway.  You see, you can really never be quite sure if someone is ready to take that next small baby step and no matter how tenderly I may feel I am being with my friend, it could have done more harm than good and in turn, gone terribly wrong.

It happened to me once.  A dear friend spoke heartfelt words to me and I wasn’t ready to hear them.  Instead, I was terribly hurt and distraught by what she said.  I retreated and so did she.  We spent months skirting the issue ~ wasted time in which we could have grown even closer and stronger.  I realize now she was trying to light the candle inside of me, but I just wasn’t ready.  Months later, I can now see the courage she showed in telling me what she felt I needed to hear.  But at the time, I was terribly pained by what was said because I was depressed.  She was right.  I was wrong.

Grief is a terrible thing especially when it’s accompanied by stress, guilt, shame and fear.  It clouds thinking.  It darkens souls.  It makes life difficult to bear.  It destroys common sense and makes a mockery of pain.  It tightens its grip and holds captive your soul.  It is relentless, badgering the mind with its flood of darkness.  There seems to be no way out when it swallows you whole.

Days become long sessions of trudging through the motions of life.  Common routines become enormous burdens and scraps of normality become rare.  For me, it was all I could do to make it through the day and I didn’t even do that very well.  Nobody could reach me, not even myself.  I felt aggressive, in turmoil and alone.  I alienated others in the attempt to deal with my problems of which felt insurmountable.

I cursed the darkness.  I shunned the light.  Breathing in the sadness, I escaped into my own tornado of grief, pummeling myself in the vortex of despair.  It wasn’t pretty.  It wasn’t easy.  It was hell.  My thoughts stagnated and self-flagellation included bouts of enormous guilt for all of the woulda, coulda, shouldas that were missing from my life.  I dwelled in my own dark head, thoughts swirling at great speeds, none of them good.  I had no self-love.  I had plenty of pity.  I had plenty of grief, loss, ugliness, anger, resentment.  I woodenly went through the motions of living, capable of only the barest of necessities.  I existed.  I found no happiness, not even in the simplest flower, breeze nor sunny sky.  I lost my faith, I lost myself, I lost precious time.

There was no magic pill nor spell which reached me.  The thunderous clouds which held my mind captive didn’t suddenly part and peace rained.  No, that was not how it happened.  I can’t even say for sure how it evolved except to say that after awhile, I began to take baby steps, looking for the light.  Tired of dwelling in the complete fear-laden darkness, I cautiously began searching for the warmth of light and love.  It was something that I had to do, that I had to endure.  Of course, I wish I didn’t have to endure it.  Like all dark journeys, ‘what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger,” even though it may not be of our choosings.

I can tell you this because I want you to know that my positivity is grounded in gratitude.  For I have experienced the foul-smelling depths of darkness in my soul.  I have endured the bleak days and nights of depression.  I have lost myself and gained perspective.  I have found myself and regained light and love.

And I would do it again.  For the precious lessons that I’ve learned through this have been life-changing.  I understand.  I have been there and back.  When I tell you that I’m sending you a heartfelt hug, I am.  Heart to heart, we connect with each other.  Soul to soul, we grow in the light.  Holding hands, we can support each other and leapfrog into the light.

I am here.  I understand.  Take my hand.

Let’s walk together.

Shine On!

xo

Is It Your Time?

6012109_I recently met a man who reminded me to change my way of thinking.  He repeated to me a phrase that my Mom has said to me so many times beforehand, especially since my Dad passed away.  He said smiling to me, “when it’s your time, it’s your time.”  We were walking through my yard during a big thunderstorm and he was carrying a floral umbrella that he had gotten out of his car.  When I giggled at the flowers, he smilingly told me that his wife had put it in the car for him.

As we walked to the backyard, lighting was popping around us.  Being short and in a raincoat with rubber flip flops, I felt fairly safe.  I mean, he’d be struck before me! (Just Kidding).  But it was his easy gait and manner that had me so enthralled.  He wasn’t being macho, quite the opposite.  He began to tell me how just last November, his 11 year old son passed away.  His family was devastated.  It was in the middle of a Nor’Easter.  The National Guard was at his house, just after Hurricane Sandy, trying to dig them out of the snowbanks in order to save his son, but to no avail.

As I stood there in the lightning storm listening to him, I was overwrought with sadness for him, for his wife and his children.  His happy demeanor belied what they had endured.  He said that what has brought him peace was that ‘when it’s your time, it’s your time’ and that now his son wasn’t suffering anymore.  He related that his wife was having a hard time still and that he was trying very hard to help her.  He said it was hard as there’s a big hole in their lives now and they are just trying to pick up the pieces.  Their son who passed away had special needs and had required 24 hr care.  Their lives had been built around him and their other children (including his twin brother).

I was speechless.  His calm demeanor, his peace within, all radiated around him and he had no idea how much his story affected me.

We were in my backyard because I had him redo the pond in the back of our house for my hubby as a surprise wedding anniversary gift.  You see, years ago, the pond was uprooted and over time vines grew over it.  As much as it was beautiful when it was at its peak of splendor, it now was looking downtrodden, unloved and neglected.  Sometimes that’s how we look when we don’t take care of ourselves either….but that’s for another post, another day.

When my Dad died, that same phrase gave my Mom much comfort as well for there was nothing more we could have done for him.  He had fought, we had tried everything known to man, but ‘when it’s your time, it’s your time,’ ~ a mantra that her family had used time and time again.  I believe that there’s something simple in that thinking, simple, calming and perhaps allows us to regain the bit of control over our own lives.

Believing that ‘when it’s your time, it’s your time,’  you allow the control to slip and you can enjoy the time you have left on this earth.  Don’t you think?  At least for me, this way of thinking allows a freedom of sorts.  Mom’s idea that you’re dealt your ‘death date’ and that’s it makes me feel freedom to be, to do, and to enjoy without worrying about how much time I have left.  If it’s all written out beforehand by God/Universe then WOWZA, I’m going to party like it’s 1999 (oh wait, I already did that!)

But you know what I mean?

What do you think about this?  Do you feel that it’s already written the day you’ll die or is it something you can control?  Is it something that we can even control with our choices or the choices of those around us?  I know that this could be a firestorm of a post, but I freely open it up to you all.

For me, whatever it is, I  am going to enjoy today, this moment, this PRESENT of PRESENCE because right now, that’s all I have, all I can wittingly control and I choose to be happy, feel and give love and submerse myself in the gratitude of this happy moment!

What do you think?

Shine On!

xo