Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Grief: How many layers are in your sandwich?

I think I'm getting a little silly here in baby land with my daughter and 3 week old grand daughter.  Don't have much time to write but was thinking that I am so delighted with this new little family and so sad that my husband is dead.

In a training I was in when I was in NY we talked about changing your emotional state.  Why, or how do we let people or events have power to force us to feel sad, angry, or any way?  I disagreed and said it was more a matter of focus.  This is experiment is hard to do unless you are with someone in person.  When you are in a room look around and pay attention to everything that is blue.  Memorize it.  You will be asked about it.  Then close your eyes.  What in the room is made of metal?  Try it some time with someone.  Have them have you look for one thing and then ask you about another.  You probably didn't notice it.  If we didn't filter things out we would be unable to function.  Sometimes our filter gets stuck on one thing. Especially when it is something as powerful as grief.  I miss Artie.  I want to be with Artie.  I'm sad that Artie is dead.  My behavior is weird (eating too much and sleeping odd hours) because our wedding anniversary is Feb. 3rd. But, in my slightly off beat metaphor, that is only one kind of meat (or salad) in my sandwich.  There are lots of other things for me to taste and experience.

My feelings about Artie dying and my loneliness don't really change.  What has changed is that when he first died I had a very thin sandwich.  The only thing in it was, "My husband is dead. I'm miserable.  I want to die."  Now over two and a half years later that is still there but sandwich is very thick. It has a lot of things in it.  I have worked very hard to find things to put in it.  (As someone who is trying to eat in a more healthy manner and not succeeding at all at the moment I should probably find a different metaphor. Oh well.  At least I'm not asking, how many layers are in your cake?*!)  If I work at making my life full of different experiences what else can I do? I can practice not being overwhelmed by any one of them.  It doesn't always work.  Sometimes one thing does block other things from coming through.  My goal is to be able to spend time grieving - I will always need that - but also to spend more time accomplishing things, learning things, and just having fun times.  I think that's what Artie would want me to do. I can hear him saying, "I hope you have some pastrami in there!"

Here's to missing those we love and remembering them but also living the life we have so that the love we have for these people supports us and lifts us up instead of weighing us down.  I hope today you find some delicious experiences so that the next bite you take out of your sandwich makes you want to keep adding to it.  It's a metaphor folks.  I don't want to see people walking around with 6 foot high hero sandwiches weighing 400 pounds and blaming me.  :)  xo

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