Sunday, December 16, 2012

Grief: Good Mourning

Sometimes missing Artie seems to fold in to my consciousness and my day.  Sometimes it feels like pushing a thousand ton rock up a steep mountain.  Everything hurts and I don't want to try.  The truth is that we tend to say all the time or never too much.  Even in the course of a day my feelings can change.  Artie used to say..."All we have is moments."   How many moments can I have today?

I've been living a little too much in the numb place where everything hurts. Now, that's a contradiction!  It's partly the cycle again of Artie's birthday on the 11th, then the holidays and New Year's Eve.  It's partly the moving process which has involved so many people not doing what they said they would that I don't know when I can move and I miss having a safe burrow (even if a lonely one) to comfort me and give me strength.  I was even thinking of my birthday/anniversary (Artie married me for my birthday present in 1996) coming up Feb. 3rd.  I was reminded by a friend that I say to remain in the present.  It's interesting when people start quoting your own words back at you.

When I was writing about techniques that work I totally left out faith.  I'm sorry for that.  I'm one of those not sure people.  However for many their faith, and their faith communities are a great support.  I do believe that there is consciousness after death and that Artie and I will be reunited in some way.  I don't care it that is real or a delusion.  It helps keep me sane.  I can't imagine a time and space without him.

I've been trying not to read too much about the school shootings.  I know that grief will go on forever and at some point the media and the public will go away leaving family and friends to wonder how people can go off to school and not come home.  I don't know if there is any solution.  It's part of the sadness of a world that can be cruel as well as kind.  Someone also reminded me to be grateful that I have a daughter and a granddaughter to spend Christmas with.  I am. 

That's part of the trick: not to get stuck in the sad place but to roam around in life touching all the variety of things and emotions it has to give us.  I went to that big concert at Madison Square Garden that Robin Hood put on for Hurricane Sandy Relief.  From the $25,000 seats that some of the one percent that people love to hate bought, to the cheap seats in the rafters the place was packed.  All the money went to Robin Hood which from the very beginning has been supporting folks on the ground whose lives are still devastated.  I went to a one man show that was funny - but involved grief and hopelessness leading to hope.  I went to a fundraiser to free Leonard Peltier.  I didn't even know who he is really - I wanted to see Pete Seeger who is still leading us in song at the age of 93.  I also wanted to see Harry Belafonte who I didn't know had a stroke.  He says he is grateful not to be crippled but thinks God must have an odd sense of humor because he can't sing anymore.

Leonard Peltier was imprisoned 37 years ago for allegedly shooting two FBI agents at Wounded Knee.  He is a member of a native American tribe.  A lot of evidence points to his innocence.  The concert was supposed to be a fundraiser to bring him home since he is not well and and at 67 hopes to live out what time he has left with is family.  He called the concert organizers and told them he didn't want money from New York.  He told them to give it to Hurricane Sandy Relief.  That impressed me.  He wanted them just to let us know who he was.  What impressed me was that the audience was filled with every time of people you can imagine.  What also impressed me was that people from various native tribes spoke not of hatred but of how underneath our skin our hearts beat as one and we should live heartbeat to heartbeat.  I did e-mail the White House and ask them to free Leonard Peltier.  It was what I was asked to do.

This old lady (I was told to say wise instead of old) was out past midnight three nights in a row. I was showing up and taking action.  Someone who thinks I am amazing asked why I am critical of myself.  It's simply that I know what my true potential is and I still haven't reached it.  I still let my grief overwhelm me and paralyze me.  I sleep too much, watch too many DVDs. It's not bad.  It doesn't make me a bad person.  I would like to have more good mourning - mourning that is full of life and love.

Sir Paul McCartney performed at the Madison Square Garden concert.  He made me think.  I always use as models for grief someone spending the rest of their lives alone and dedicated to their one true love.  Paul McCartney is very alive in his music and his life.  He sang one Beatles song and one Wings song - but mostly he is not living in the past but using his talent in the present.  There was a beautiful song he wrote for his wife Nancy.  Here is someone who had the love of his life die - Linda - followed by a failed marriage - and it didn't stop him from falling in love again and having what appears to be a truly loving happy relationship.  Another model.  Which one do I follow? 

What is good mourning?  We have to define it for ourselves.  No one can tell us what our path is or what it should be.  We know it when we're in it.  I'm not on it right now a lot of the time.  But maybe I am, because I know that if I keep keeping on this will pass. Even if I am lost in the woods somwhere Artie and all of you will help me find my way back.  I will have the inspiration that Artie's love gives me replace the sense of hopelessness of life without him. 

Find things and people in your life that give you joy.  Think about yourself surrounded by love (past and present) and life.  Maybe it's easier than I think.  I wish you all good mourning and the strength and sense of humor it takes to be fully alive.  xo

1 comment:

  1. Jan, even though you don't know me, I think about you often, and check your blog for updates. With the length of time that has elapsed since your last post, I am hoping that the healing is coming in leaps and bounds, that as you carve new meaning within your life as a grandmother, you're finding more peace and comfort and fulfilment. Lots of love and hugs.