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En Proceso – Stinky Feet

3 Apr

In the past several months I have had the opportunity to field unintentionally, unkind commentary. Most likely the result of being in my third year of mourning. And though I could spell out for you the details of each encounter, I will spare the invocation of sympathy by not doing so. For truly it isn’t necessary for me to utilize this blog platform to rally my troops, not today anyway (no guarantee for future intent). The problematic formula, or root of the unintentionally unkind quips, is that they each imply that the lapse of time should be lessening the pain of loss. A practical concept in theory, though rooted not in the reality of the griever.

I do understand the foundation of the misunderstanding, for I smile a lot. I invest in people’s lives, a lot. I am warm toward others, forgiving toward others, caring toward others and interacting with others, a lot. A newbie to my world would never suspect I carry, in my soul, the burden I carry. I celebrate babies, I empathize with others, I congratulate achievements. In essence, I am continuing on. People in mourning, people who grieve, continue on. If they don’t, they themselves are not living.

So how, how does one get on with it? How do I? Aside from the foundation of faith…

  1. Live in the now. I pay the price, daily, of disregarding the weight of my sorrow. The cost comes in form of loss of memory. In order to survive, I have to shut out certain reflections. Shutting the doors to pain also shuts out good memories as well. My friends help fill in my gaps when needed.
  2. Gratitude. I start with my ugly feet, though dreadful to look at they are the work horses of my life. I am grateful for my feet, their support of my body and the abuse they endure as result of my love of impractical shoes. I expand the exercise further from there. Gratitude is a most superior, healing salve.
  3. Being present. Remembering that my loss is not the only loss on earth forces me to connect with family and friends with a reciprocal intention.
  4. Embracing imperfection. This one could be it’s own blog post! Mourning, suffering loss, grieving, etc., has caused a desensitization of sorts for me. I am no longer “ruffled” by the small injustices in life. Example: waiting in long lines in the supermarket or coffee shop because of incompetence either with the employee or the customer doesn’t faze me. In life “my story” is always upon me, always goes with me and impacts my threshold. My own loss has given me greater understanding that each of us could be navigating the daily tasks of life with a complication, a fact and consideration I impart to others. *except when driving–I’m a beast!
  5. Letting go of offense. This one probably falls under the umbrella of #4. But to give it its proper due, I’ll list it out. My motto is, “I don’t have time for offense.” I move through affronts quickly for my soul has no extra room to carry them.

And of course my #5 brings us back to my opening paragraph. Suffice to say that I suffer loss in constant, and the questions hurled my way that cause offense do not (and cannot) penetrate the pain already there. In truth those that ask a question or make a comment in ignorance are fortunate; they haven’t been touched by sorrow’s sting or the injustice of a life gone too soon. I applaud their blessing as I put on my “big girl pants” and enact rule #1.

beautiful feet

Always at my service!

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Heart in a Box

1 Aug

I’m shy 16 days of 3 months since I wrote my last post.  Lots happens (& has happened) and yet time stands still within my mind.  I liked my last writing, the mostly dead crew, which is why I sit on it easily and let it run its course within me.  There is another reason in which I find solace within the moratorium of writing, at this particular juncture.  Perhaps it will resonate with some who have walked this same road upon which I trod, or who are presently walking alongside me.  It is the intentional act of stepping away from the loss, my loss.  You see much like loosing a spouse, loosing a child impairs the minute by minute interaction within each day.  And as such, grief is faced in every nook, hallway, tabletop, room, street, store, movie, etc.–the loss is constantly present, because the person who has left was at one time, completely enmeshed in all aspects of your (my) living. That said and knowing that life does not pause for the brokenhearted we scramble to find our way while facing the loss at every turn.

So, this past June I did something different…I put my heart in a box and stored it.

What the hell? Well metaphorically speaking, of course. I consciously decided to step aside from my grief and work on being in the moment of whatever the moment provided.  I consciously decided to disallow the lens of grief to magnify the circumstance.  And I gave a try at putting my heart in a box, closing the lid and storing upon a shelf for a while.  I must say, it has been working.

I went to Manhattan, NY this past June. While there I focused on wonder and joy. I took time off to be at home and reorganize closets.  In doing so I began to find new homes for some of my son’s clothing, joyful homes, compassionate homes. I took time to be with family and friends, not all, but some.  I took time to do things while tired and not let the fear of exhaustion rule the day. I took time with my daughter and husband.  I actually went to the beach with him once…it’s been a while since I’ve done that.

Bottom line, I took time to view living and its interactions through another lens. A lens of life, not my lens of grief.

I am moving into this next year (academic year) with intention of keeping my heart in a box for a while longer. I’m not sure how I’ll do.  I’m not sure for how long I can keep the lid secured. There have definitely been moments, this summer, when the lid seems to be popping off, but I’ve managed to catch it in motion and refasten before the full extent of my heartache is exposed. Why? Why go to all this trouble? Because I’d like to see what Rivka looks like without the veil of grief over her face. I’m just wondering, can I be whole when I’ve been cut in half? And what does that look like? Can you relate to this type of musing? If not, no worries. I’m quite comfortable being a lone wolf within introspective ideations.

There is also the possibility I might just change my mind on the subject and continue to swim upstream the rest of my days.  In any case I’ll keep you posted, especially since I’ve just paid for another year of domain usage. And who knows, perhaps the next post I write here on Bentrivka will be filled with wisdom and encouragement for the reader. I still believe in miracles, though I’m clearly not a miracle worker myself. But I think it safe for us to stay tuned and see what possibilities await.

The Disney Way

29 Mar

This morning I took some time to cut my hair.  Yes, I do cut and color my own hair.  And when I’m too tired to invest in the effort it takes to transform my brown into black and cover the albino intruders, I pluck  the most prominent of the alien class to buy a little time before hitting the bottle (the dye bottle that is).  Well this morning I had to invest in me a bit, as my hair was so long it had lost all opportunity for style.  My husband and daughter went off for a coffee adventure (down to their local favorite spot) and I proceeded to machete my locks.  For my Sunday ambiance and mood, I put Pandora Radio on to the Sister Rosetta Tharpe station–gospel music at its finest!  As I was chop, chop, chopping, a song came on that was new to my ear.  I have since lost the tune, but the chorus went something like this: “…anything you want, ask Jesus and he’ll give it to you.”  I think it was Mahlia Jackson.  Anyway, tonight as I write this, I honestly don’t remember the exact words, I just remember my response to the notion of them.  My response, this morning while listening was, “I want a happy ending.”  And that thought was followed by a deep sigh.  A sigh because my request is unfounded.

I want a happy ending so badly.  But I want “my” happy ending.  Not having our son (my daughter’s brother) in our little nuclear unit has robbed me (us) of our expected output.  Someone just the other day asked me a simple question, “are you happy?”  Unfortunately I let the truth of my puzzlement slip off of my tongue before I could wrangle the best substitute for the job.  I said, “happiness…I don’t even know what that looks like any more.”  No explanation point needed, it is just a stated fact.  This notion really struck me a few days ago, while I was conversing with our Creator in my think tank of prayer–my car.  As I was asking for help and strength for the day awaiting me, I realized I was also simultaneously complaining about the day awaiting me.  Complaining about my dissatisfaction with an obscure something.  Then the spiritual lightbulb within went on–how do I even know what it is that satisfies me?  The question is a very raw one because it cuts to my core.  When facing the question honestly, I find I have no answer because my soul satisfaction has been tied to my happy ending notion.  Without that in view, I’m still living in the obfuscated survival mode.  Now can you imagine your child asking for a chocolate ice-cream cone, you fulfilling their request, and them (in-between licks) rattling off laments of an ungratified nature?  Well that was me in the car.  I was the child with the proverbial cone and the light bulb that shone illuminated my condition.

Now I have to say, just because I have had this new awareness provided for me, doesn’t mean I am “arrived” at a presence of integrating its message.  I think this will take time for me to apply and/or learn.  After all, I daily face the fact that my fairytale is more Grimm than Disney and this truth bears with it an insurmountable amount of pain.  Yet somehow I get a sense that even just the small step of awareness will help inch me ever closer to healing in this area, and with healing can come an openness (perhaps) to…whatever it is that is now different than I expected it should be.  Which is truly the crux of the matter.  My “should be” is being cramped by my “is.”  And I need to watch-it for that vantage point will disallow for satisfaction to reside, not comfortability, but satisfaction.  Without satisfaction, the soul will be nomadic–ever searching, ever lost in the desert.  The Bent 3 (myself included) are trying.  We are doing our best to navigate our loss, but gosh it is so darned painful and everywhere we turn the unhappy ending of our story is revealed.  But we are faith filled human beings, so we simultaneously realize our unhappy ending isn’t the end all and be all of the story, there is still more yet to write.  Though I would be lying if I pretended this chapter had our seal of approval, it doesn’t.  But at least now I know how to maneuver in my prayer life.  I will stop asking for the chocolate ice cream as I swallow another bite.  I will seek to recognize that my fairy tale ending–or my expectations in life really–aren’t the only link to my happiness.  Even if in this moment they truly are.  That is the best I can do for now.

I have come across many people who, much like myself, have had their expectations in life thwarted.  Some of them have carried on with grace and purpose.  Some have allowed the dissatisfaction of their condition to sour their temperament.  I can say that I do see the warning in the latter…”there but for the grace of God go I.”  Seeing the world through my sorrowful lens of dissatisfied results is not good measure for purposeful intent.  I am thinking willingness just might be a good place to start.  A small step to be sure, though when one is carrying the heavy weight of sorrow upon them, even a tiny fissure can appear to be a monumental chasm.

“Lord please give me patience for others whose own pain might be cause for a surly remark.  May others be courteous with me as I process my own dissatisfied results.  Amen.”

 

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The Empty Room

 

 

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