Tag Archives: loss

Undulations Ahead

17 May

Yesterday I worked late. Yesterday I was joyful with the people I encountered, who encountered me. Yesterday I thought I would be OK today. Yesterday I was wrong. I awoke this morning, May 17, 2017 and was instantly hit with the flashbacks to this day four years prior. The day I lost my son. Being hit with flashbacks is not a new occurrence; they come often. The difference in today is that the mere fact of the date takes me down. If I use a fighter’s analogy, I am quick on my feet and able to dodge the hits, normally. And then today’s date comes around and I am laid flat–it is the one swift blow. Back to the drawing board of training, but first I must make it out of my bed.

Today I struggled to eat. The struggle is result of knowledge battling feeling. I know my body needs nourishment. I know if I don’t eat a migraine will be triggered. I know these things. And yet I feel only sorrow and somehow it tricks my body into believing it’s nourished. I feel the headache and yet the flowing tears beg more attention than the aching in the cranial region. I avowed all day long to get my self out of bed and take a shower, brush my teeth, get something done. In bed I remain, even as I type.

Flashbacks don’t always give fair warning; they sometimes hit out of nowhere and command the fierce attention of reverting back to the scene of the pain. So many moments to revert to. Too painful to even write them down, even just the slightest. It is the dodge of the hit that compels me forward. I cannot handle the pain (quasi nod to Carly Simon here), I cannot live in its presence. This just might be me; others might have a different method or capability. But mine is the inability to dwell in the place of remembrances—can’t do it and live. Hence my stay in bed today, my swollen eyes and my bad breath (courtesy the omission of tooth brushing in bed). *my apologies to those who sat with me in my bedchamber today, the odoriferous scene was not a pleasant one.

At least this date gives a fair warning of its coming, much like the signs I read as a kid in my Aunt’s Sacramento neighborhood, “Warning, Undulations Ahead” – the word undulation has since intrigued me, what a beautiful word. Did you ever consider the letter “u” could be so fancy? I just love it! That there, folks, is my best attempt at getting up. Dodge the hit and counter attack with a distracting nonsensical statement. You see the sun is setting and I am looking into the eyes of tomorrow, when I will again get up and resume the fight. So though at present it seems the referee will make the count to “three” alongside my repose, I am actually still in the game and so I must shakily forge ahead—undulations and all.

I hate today. I hate this story that is mine. But tomorrow I will love, and joy again I will find.

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:12-13

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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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