Friday, November 18, 2011

Grief: Making Bad Small and Good Big

Hey - when I wrote that I noticed that GOOD actually is bigger than bad.  It has more letters. 

I'm wondering why the painful things take so much more of my attention than the lovely ones.  This one ex-friend who is so troublesome.  I get angry and sad and then angry and sad all over again.  Since this awful awfulness I have had many people say lovely things to me and about me.  Why don't I get happy and content and happy and content all over again?  

It's the same thing with my husband being dead.  That is bad.  A really truly big bad.  However, the fact that we love each other so much and had so many loving times is a really truly big good.  I wake up every morning and see the empty side of the bed and hear the silence and feel so sorry for myself.  My first thought is, Artie's dead.  What's the point?  Why don't I wake up, open my eyes and see his smiling face saying something sweet and clever?  Why doesn't my heart swell with gratitude for having a love like we do.  So many people go through life never experiencing that kind of love. 

My mom and dad were not very nice people and when they died I didn't grieve for them.  I have grieved for not having warm and loving parents to teach me how to be a warm and loving person.  The thing is that today when I hear my mother's voice telling me that I'll never be good enough - it's not her voice.  It's mine.  How do I make that voice go away?  I am good enough.  I could be better - but that's true of everyone.  Those of you who had loving moms and dads:  can I be jealous of your grief?   Isn't it odd how what is so good can feel so painful when someone dies.

We get stuck in our own pain traps.  Yet, for some reason people without an edge that exude happiness annoy me!  I like being snarky.  I like being honest about how messed up the world and my life is and then after acknowledging that finding a way to live in such a way that I make my life and a teeny tiny piece of the world a better place.

It's just much more difficult to do without Artie here physically.  I always have to add the physically - because otherwise I hear him saying "I am here!"  When he was alive sometimes I would say, "It's too hard.  I can't do it."  He would hold me and I would feel better.  I would snuggle in to his arms just like a little girl and I would feel safe.  He was good at that.  Even if he was watching sports, if I asked him to hold me, he would always stop what he was doing and hold me close.  Now I have to learn to hold myself. 

I'm dressed like I feel a lot of the time.  My bottom half is already to go; wearing jeans and socks.  My top half is still in my pajamas!  Half wanting to be and do, the other half wanting to lie still and pretend I'm already dead.  Isn't that what smothering all my goodness is - being already dead? 

The training I am doing had an exercise that is the same as an Alcoholics Anonymous thing - to act as if. If I can't do something - to act as if I can.  If I can't imagine something to visualize it in a different way - or feel it in a different way.  Sometimes it doesn't work at all; sometimes it works very well.  Yesterday I had an awful day but I didn't go back to bed - I told a story in my first real storytelling class and did a good job.  I had the pleasure of this wonderful storyteller introduce me as one of his best friends.  If I hadn't shown up I wouldn't have had that experience.  The applause.  The actress Lili Taylor hugging me and telling me my story was beautiful

So.  Let me visusalize all the bad old sad old things being tiny little weird looking crawling creatures.  Let me visualize all the good things being absolutely huge and blotting out the bad things - like something as huge as the sun can be covered over during an eclipse.  It's me though.  I'll have to make a little time for sadness and anger and all those other emotions.  They want to be invited to the party too.

Can I celebrate Artie's birthday this year?  Can I celebrate Artie every day of every year?  I talk to my daughter every day.  Maybe I can practice by only telling her the good things that happen to me.  See if she notices the difference. 

What will I do next?  Dress the top part of me and go out?  Put pajama bottoms on the bottom part of me and give in?  I don't know yet.  What will you do?  How will you manage to show up to get the good stuff? An author whose name I have forgotten talked about putting on her perspectacles.  Milton Erickson talked about climbing a mountain to get a new point of view.  That's it.  I hope when you put on your perspectacles what you see is the love, the good memories, the beauty and that it is so BIG it blocks out - for as long as you want it to - the bad things that always seem so high and wide.  short and narrow.  bad things are smaller than they appear  fading away gone now even if for only a moment then another moment then another moment  xo

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