Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Grief: Touch

Sorry for being a slothful blogger.  My pregnant daughter was staying with me and since Artie died I find it hard to do more than one thing at a time.  I get tired emotionally.  We had a lovely time together.  If you don't believe in change, let me introduce you to my daughter.  A bad crystal meth addict sober over 5 years.  I thought she was going to die and now she is full of life - about to give birth to new life - and is an inspiration to me when I take my great self pity mud wallow!

I'm calling this one touch.  The physical touch of my husband gone forever.  I was lucky to do a set visit on the TV show Criminal Minds and my daughter and I spent the day with Joe Mantegna who is a uniquely sweet man.  When I was leaving he stroked my cheek.  Just a goodbye, thanks for the day gesture.  I almost cried.  I never told him because I didn't want to sound like some kind of weird stalker chick - but it was the first time since my husband died anyone had touched my cheek.  Now after two years I have found a chiropractor who knows all kinds of modalities who might actually be able to get rid of this chronic pain I have been having.  Seems my entire right side is out of alignment so every movement I make undoes any progress I make.  (Sounds like my body is imitating my mind!!)   He reminds me of my husband in his kindness mixed with bluntness.  He also touches me - on my shoulder, on my hand - not in an inappropriate way, but in a reassuring way.  It feels both lovely and sad at the same time. I can cuddle all the teddy bears I want - hold that Yankee jacket close - but nothing matches my memory of how it felt to have Artie touch me. We have to think of that loss.  A small child's hand, a pet's tongue, a spouse's hug, a mother or father's pat on the back.  Any combination of the above.  We miss our loved ones in our minds and hearts but our bodies miss them too.  Our bodies hurt and we must be gentle with them.

Another kind of touch.  A touch that reaches out to others. A young woman I friended on facebook who is only 20 might kill herself.  She has tried before.  A whole community of people are reaching out to her, trying to keep her alive until she finds a place of comfort, of joy - just one little reason to live instead of die.  I hope we succeed.  There is so much pain out there in the world.  Sorry folks, it is not all good.  We must be warriors for ourselves and also for those who do not have the strength to be warriors for themselves.  What is so important about the touch that reaches out instead of in is that it reminds me how my pain can give me compassion for others.  That the fact that I wanted to die and decided to live might somehow give someone else the courage to do the same.  If it doesn't I have to accept it.  I don't want another death in my life.  Those of you who pray -  her name is Samantha - I hope you will say a prayer that she lets the love she is being given start to heal her heart.

Isn't that the message for all of us - even me.  How do I let the love I am being given heal my heart?  I hold so tightly to the hurt.  Artie loves me, there is a lot of love in this world.  I hope today that we all find a way to let the love that is there for us touch us, even if it brings tears as well as joy.  I posted an Ojibwa saying:  I go about in self pity and all the while there is a great wind bearing me across the sky.  Let's go fantasy hang gliding - gliding on the winds - being touched by the beauty of the stars above and the earth beneath.  Keep strong.  Help keep others strong.  xo

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