Saturday, May 12, 2012

Grief: Making the Hole Whole

     I was writing metaphors in my hypnosis class and I noticed this strange pairing.  A hole is an empty space.  The word that sounds the same means full, entire, complete. When Artie died - or shapeshifted! - a big hole appeared in my heart and in my life.  Since that moment I have been trying to become whole again.  I rely on the help of others:  you, friends, loved ones, but also Artie. I rely on my search for different techniques that sent me reeling forward instead of back. There is loneliness.  There is sadness.  Yet, there are many wonderful memories and a sense of a love that continues. I show up more for life.  Sometimes it makes me very tired, emotionally and physically.  I am going to have another session with Doug, who has helped me so much, to try and fix that.  Today I was feeling very grouchy and after I spent some time with a friend I felt much better.  The message that I need to show up and get more into the present moment is one that keeps repeating itself.

      I think it is normal to have an empty space where the person you love who has died used to be.  Some people like to pretend it isn't there, or just cover it up. I won't settle for that.  I want it to be genuinely whole.

     I have a friend.  She reads this - so - hello!  Her beloved son, her only child died.  When my daughter was pregnant I asked her if it was okay to share things about it with her.  She said yes.  Now she is in a relationship with a man.  She wanted to know if it was okay to share her happiness with me.  I said yes.  I will write more about Mother's Day tomorrow.  However, we have made a deal for this weekend.  I am going to be spending time with my daughter and grandbaby.  I have promised her that when I think about Artie in a way that takes me away from the happiness of the present moment I will close my eyes for a moment to be with that feeling and then open them to take in the preciousness and beauty of what is happening right now in my life.  I will cherish the fact that I have a living daughter and a living granddaughter.  She has promised me that when she thinks of her son in a way that takes her away from the happiness of her present moment she will close her eyes for a moment to be with that feeling and then open them to take in the preciousness and beauty of her new relationship with a loving and caring man.  For many years she has not gone out near Mother's Day because it is too painful.  That she is going to go out this year is very brave and I am very proud of her.  We have, bottom line, promised each other to try to do what we can to stay in the present and if the past floods in to have it be in a joyous way and if it is not - to honor it for that eye blink - and then come back to the things we can be grateful for in our present. 

       That's the difficult thing; the odd thing.  I have no idea what it would be like to have an empty space where my daughter is.  Other people have no idea what it would be like to have an empty space where their spouse is - or friend - or sibling- or pet.  Yet, the grief is the same.   The job of making the hole whole.  Not just for us but for our loved ones so they can have the peace of knowing that we are here on earth smiling and living our lives.  Knowing that we are being grief warriors!  

      I know two widows who have gotten engaged.  I am a little jealous.  I would like to have someone take care of me.  I told someone it might be easier to meet someone if I took off the wedding rings (Artie's and mine) that I still wear.  She told me I say that every time I see her.  I had no idea.  The part of me that wants to be faithful to Artie, the part of me that feels loved when I look at them is at odds with the part of me that is alive and wants to share things in that special way you do with someone that is also alive.  I don't know where I am going with that.  Forward?  Nowhere? 

      It is a lesson for me, though.  Knowing people who have had the tragedy of having a beloved child die makes me not want to take my own daughter for granted.  I hope people who love each other when they read this sometimes say, "I better appreciate having a partner.  What if I was like Jan and my partner died."  Even though Artie was older than I am it never occurred to me that the day would really come when there would be no more hugs or kisses, no more earthly conversations.  There are so many things I would do differently if I could have him back. We can't be careless with those we love.

      Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, stop for a moment and look around you.  There is a lot that causes pain.  It's okay to notice that.  However, make the effort to pay attention to the wondrous things and people in the world.  Sometimes the effort to make my heart hole, my life hole whole hurts.  Yet, it is worth the effort.  Showing up.  Repeating it again and again - daring to be wholly alive, wholly alove.  What a gift to give to Artie, what a gift to give to myself.  I wish you the courage to do this.  It might only be for a minute at the start.  But, with practice, life can take over more and more.  There is always time to be sad - we must also make time to relearn how to let happiness flow through us. 

      To be honest, I can't, even as I write this, imagine feeling whole while Artie is dead and I am alive.  I can imagine that some day, if I have hope and if I take action, I will wake up one morning and find it has already happened whether I can imagine it or not.  Maybe it has already happened for you and you can lead the way.  xo

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