Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Grief: Hope and Being Willing to Feel Good Things

I went to the chiropractor today.  He asked me how my writers' conference was.  I told him that a literary agent had asked to see my book proposal on a grief book.  The working title is Alive With Grief.  If you read this you know that my perspective is you can be a fully alive happy person even with the sad part that hurts your heart.  The format for the book will be part memoir, part techniques, part poetry and art - creative stuff.  I told the chiropractor that I got my new apartment and would be moving in October or November.  I told him my grandbaby, Gwendy blue eyes, was crawling and she chases after the dog now and tries to steal her toys.  He said it was so much good new he had to sit down.

This is a person who only knows me because I see him once a week when I am in town.  Yet, he felt my good news more than I do.  What's wrong with this picture?  I am a very lucky person.  I have a lot of wonderful friends.  I have the opportunity to do many things.  I am a talented writer.  I love my daughter and granddaughter.  I have problems.  Things dont' go well.  I just can't seem to get that Artie space in my heart to loosen up.  I'm scared without him; even after three years.  I'm sad without him; even after three years.  I know all these ways of getting past my fear and sadness and yet I have this attachment to being stuck.  I have watched some folks who have read my blog or gotten to know me in other ways move through their grief better than I am. 

No, that's not necessarily true.  I say that we have to look at ourselves through the eyes of those who love us.  If you asked my friends they would say I was pretty amazing.  I don't feel amazing.  I need to notice the things I am doing.  I need to stop flailing around.  One of my husband's quotes was, "You won't give up failure without a fight."  Another one was, "What's wrong?  Nothing's wrong.  That's what's wrong."  We get used to being unhappy.  I make a joke that I'm going to change my first name to Malcontenta.  I make another joke that I am following my bliss...it just runs faster than I do. 

There's something more serious going on here.  When I was at Bread Loaf - the writers' conference - I felt this glimmering of something I hadn't felt in a long time.  Hope.  Hope for me, for my future.  It blinks on and off again.  It's up to me to hold on to it, to make it shine brighter.  I want to find a way to feel my own good news more often. 

I have many happy moments.  There are things I enjoy.  I am starting to read a lot more.  I used to read all the time and then when Artie died I stopped.  Writing is something that requires self discipline.  I wish I was writing the blog more often.  Some people stop after a while but I think it is important to keep the process going. 

I was in the airport in Vermont and a TSA agent asked me about my book idea.  She said her husband died 11 years ago and she went to a wedding recently and it all came back.  I know this is all normal.  A TSA agent who was supposed to be impersonal told me something very personal.  We want to share our grief as well as our happiness.  We want others to understand and honor it.  I want to flip that over though; my pancake needs to cook on both sides.  I need to want and feel my happiness as well as my grief.

There are moments.  Artie used to say that moments are all we have. 

I sat next to a young girl at lunch.  She was beautiful and sweet.  She said when she first got to Bread Loaf she was frightened and thought she shouldn't have come.  She thought maybe she wouldn't fit in.  I doesn't matter how old we are or what we look like.  So many of us are insecure on the inside.

There's that DVD watching/sugar eating part of me.  Then there's the part of me that has someone interested in a book I haven't written yet.

I know what Artie would say.  He would say, "You go girl!! You can do it." 

I bought a book that is called "Do It Now!"  I haven't opened it.  It is a way to organize my day to accomplish what I want.  Maybe I will do that when I am taking the train from NYC to Boston (4 hours) near where my daughter lives.  It's so easy to have it be 8 pm, have been busy all day, and have the feeling nothing has been accomplished.  I told the chiropractor that.  He said the same thing happens to him.  I never thought he would feel that way.  He does so much good for people.

Let's promise to look around and notice the happy things and find some way to let them in.  Breathe in happiness, breathe out sadness.  I need the lightness of hope.  Not the hope that Artie and I will be together soon, although I need that too.  I want the hope that that my life will be a rich and full one.  I can miss my husband and be happy too.  I can have my heart hurt and be scared and still write my book. 

I want to have things to whisper in my husband's ears, things that I have done.  I want him to look at me and be proud.  Okay.  Good feelings.  Bring them on!  xo

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