Thursday, October 13, 2011

Grief: The Courage To Be Real

Thank you my friends.  I have received a lot of love and support in the past few days.  A lot of time I read about people painting on a smile.  I don't go around screaming in the street.  Okay, it's NYC, sometimes I do.  I can be business like when necessary.  I don't tell random strangers my woes.  However, I do ask people I know for help.  It makes for such a close and beautiful relationship when I am honest with someone about my struggles as well as my triumphs.  They help me, I help them.

One of the few of my husband's friends who has stayed in touch gave me an Artie quote I didn't know, "Are you listening to the noise someone is making with their mouth?"  That is just what I was doing.  Over and over in my head I was defending myself against things someone said that have no basis in my reality.  I know they have basis in her reality - but no one else feels about me the way she does.  Why would I give so much time and attention to someone who fails to understand me no matter how often I try to explain?  I am lucky to have people that do understand.  By reaching out to them I have learned a lot.  One is that I use too many words.  There is nothing wrong with trying to be a peacmaker but when someone's lack of understanding is preventing me from doing the work I should be doing there is nothing wrong with accepting that continuing to engage only causes me harm.

There are different sides to me.  Someone wrote today about walking away from your wounds.  I don't want to walk away from mine - I want to walk through them.  Someone said that being a widow is like a bird flying on one wing.  Today I realized that I have both wings - it is only that the second is now made of spirit not of earthly matter.  I wrote this to the woman who had told it to me.  She said it brightened her whole day.  I pictured her husband and mine sitting (do they sit?) laughing at me getting  the message that had popped into my head and heart.  This is a beautiful woman that I barely know and yet I know very well.  It happens that way some times.

The people that don't get it - that hurts.  I make the mistake of thinking I can make them get it.  Sometimes I just can't.  I laughed when I wrote to someone that I need to be slapped upside the head to know when I am being abused.  Not a very good way to put it. Still.  Part of my job of being fully alive is finding the people in the world who will support me.  They don't have to agree with me, but they do have to accept me.  Artie used to call it buying the whole package.  I am who I am.  I do what I do.  I can do better.  Some days I do splendidly, some days not so much.  If I am my real self with people I often find that people respond well.  I am only voicing what other people feel and are afraid or think it is improper to say.  I always regret it when I don't say something out of fear of how others will respond.

On the other hand, when I think someone feels or thinks a certain way I always check it out with them to see if I am getting it right.  That was a major problem I had with my no longer friend.  She would say I felt angry or sad when I didn't.  If I had an opinion that was different than hers she thought I thought she was stupid.  She made a mistake I make sometimes, but not as often.  She couldn't hear all the nice things I said, only the ones that made her feel hurt.  She said her reactions were valid.  My reactions aren't always valid.  If you say something to me and I misunderstand and I get angry with you - that's not a valid reaction.  I'm reacting to something I imagined not something that happened. 

Oddly enough, that's what's difficult about all my conversations with Artie.  I have no way of knowing if they are my imagination's way of keeping me sane or if he is really talking to me.  He says he is tired of me doubting him - but I do.  Yet, I don't doubt our love.  I don't doubt that his love continues to guide and support me.  I have so much to learn by being the real me.  I have so much to give as the real me.

Today I was asked to open my eyes and my ears.  When I opened my eyes I saw so many beautiful things I hadn't noticed before.  Opening my ears was more difficult.  I like silence now that Artie's voice is gone.  Maybe if I practice opening my ears I will hear some beautiful things.  Wishing you all people who know and love the real you and respect and honor you for who you are - the great shiny brilliant part of you and the part that is flawed and struggling.  That's what love is for.  To love the real us.  xo

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