Monday, April 23, 2012

Grief: The Good, The Bad, and The Just Plain Weird

The just plain weird:  Can you buy a present for a dead person?  People do buy flowers and toys and put them on graves.  Is that the for the dead person?  Artie and I had on the top of our wedding cake tiny crystal figures of bride and groom bears.  They have since been broken and/or lost.  Oddly enough (unlike in life) - what I have is part of the groom.  I was in a Swarkovski crystal shop in the airport in Detroit.  I saw two cute crystal bears that looked like a bride and groom. Clear crystal except the male bear has a little black bow tie and the female bear has a pink flower ribbon around her neck.  I wanted to buy them for Artie and me.  I thought that was silly.  He's dead.  I can't buy him a present.  I picked out a pair of earrings and a house warming present for my daughter.  I kept coming back to the tiny kissing bears.  Oh heck, I thought.  They make me smile.  It doesn't matter if Artie can see them or not - I can.  I bought them and put them with the little shrine - pics of Artie and me, his obituary, black roses, a crystal pyramid, his last Alcoholics Anonymous chips, and adding the fact that life continues - a large picture of my daughter with my granddaughter and granddog.  I'm glad I bought the little crystal bears.  If where Artie is, presents don't matter, perhaps my loving him and smiling at the little bears does matter.

The Bad:  Still having trouble eating healthy food.  Still having trouble writing.  Still sleeping too much.  My daughter drove with the grandbaby and the dog and a friend to Massachussetts from NYC today.  I had this absolutely paralyzing fear as they drove off that my whole family would disappear.  I couldn't do anything until I got the phone call they had arrived safely.  I don't like when fear gets in they way of things I have to do, or want to feel.  Sometimes when I hold little Gwendy blue eyes - already almost 4 months old - my heart breaks open.  I love her so much and somehow loss and love got tangled up when Artie died.  I want to be able to love my family and friends without fearing I will lose them.  No.  I will lose them some day.  I want to be present with them when they are here and not taint the joy of moments with them with what may not happen for many years. 

The Good:  I'm having a session with my good hypnotherapist friend Doug O'Brien on Thursday.  He helped me so much with not letting being sad about Artie get in the way of my being fully alive most of the time.  I think he can help me get past these blocks I have left.  The good for me is not in being perfect - I haven't a clue how to be that!   The good for me is to keep searching for ways to be more of the person I want to be.

The Very Good: On Friday I decided to walk home from exercise through Times Square and think of the crowds of tourists as fun and interesting instead of annoying.  An emotional shift.  (Sorry, guys - we tend to walk fast here and forget that you are interested in stopping and looking and taking pictures)  I met a man from West Virginia who has a farm, a wife and a child.  He spends time standing on street corners in different cities to talk to people about finding things we have in common so we can work together to make this a better country, a better world. What an example of a simple and powerful thing to do to create change. I mentioned Artie (I always do!).  He told me a story about a young friend of his - only 20 - who died from cancer.  He sat by his friend's side while his friend was in great pain and almost at the point of death.  He was crying and his friend used all his strength to reach over and pat him to console him.  He said if his friend could be that "bad ass" so could he.  Courage.  That the courage of the dying could give him the courage to be alive. I was so glad that I talk about Artie so that I could hear that story of courage and compassion.  So we can all rememer to be "bad ass" in a good way.  Because he does this work - which is simple communication - finding commonality not difference - I will always remember him.  He was probably a foot taller than I am and before I walked on - he bent down and gave me a big hug.  A young man who has a farm in W. Va. hugging a NYC gal. 

I have to keep remembering that although bad stuff can happen out there in the world - so can a lot of good stuff.  Let's see if we can find the energy to get out there and find those simple ways to connect to life and to people.  We can love our dead and still be alive.  It's the only way for me to give Artie's death meaning - to keep trying.  Today was a crazily neurotic stuck day.  Tonight ain't bad.  Maybe tomorrow will be wonderful. For all of us grief warriors and depression warriors and sad warriors.  Let's jump out of the boxes people try to put us in and be sad and happy and lie down and cry and get up and dance and be - well just be whoever we are!  xo

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