Journey Through Illness

January 31, 2014

Day 2 of the Grief Cleanse

Grief, Will you come out to speak?

I do notice resistance when I ask this question, I want to distract with games, and nonsense; anything not to think and feel about loss, but I have to remind myself that I need to do this because I’m tired of living in the “waiting room”  — a term coined by Christina Rasmussen for the space between your old life, and the new life after’s kind of purgatory of “getting through your days”, feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and distressed because of the difference between your outward appearance, and your internal feeling state.  I’ve lived there now for a long time and sometimes people never come out of it.  They settle for this “half-life” because to truly move forward would mean risking loss again, and/or letting go of some part of their old life that they are hanging onto.

The other day I read this quote, “”The phrase “broken” is a good one to start from. When the stresses of life build up to a certain point, whether it’s the loss of someone you love or the loss of a job or a divorce, we all would understand when you say, “That really broke me down,” meaning it was a change that ended in making us a little more cynical or scared or unable to cope. But there is this other possibility that after the breaking, we can open up more into who are supposed to be, in the way that a flower breaks out of the confines of a bud into its full blossoming.” -From Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser

I want to do the work I need to do to move forward in my life; to find out what moving forward would look like.  I am willing to risk losing again, getting sick again.  What is that phrase?..the one about it being better to have loved and lost rather than to have never known love..?  something like that.  Well, I’m ready to find out what the next step is in my life path.  It’s not what I had planned.  I had wanted children, I didn’t want to have a heart condition, I didn’t want my mom to die too young or my dad to have Alzheimer’s, or my extended family members to be distant, not get along, have the difficulties that they do.  I think of the one legged bird that my husband and I found on vacation that spent time with us two summers in a row.  It was so symbolic.  That bird could fly.  He still could fly and do just about everything that all his friends could do, he just had the one leg.  When you think about it almost everyone has “something”, some kind of handicap or stressor that hinders them.  At least I know what mine are, and I survived.  I’m here, so I’m ready, God, to move forward, and so I will move past this resistance regarding this exercise and ask again, “Grief, will you come out to speak tonight?”

Grief:  Hello, I wasn’t quite sure it was you the first time you asked.  I’m not used to being asked “out”.  I definitely didn’t think you would ask me two nights in a row.  Perhaps this is some sort of courting attempt?  Huh?  An attempt to get to know me, Your Grief, better,  to try and be ok with everything?  I have to tell you that I am still a little resentful at how you’ve cast me aside for so long, but I will RSVP, because I do have things to say.  First of all, I was impressed today how you handled the stress at work.  I notice you being kinder to yourself, and that is a relief to me.  Like I said before, it is not my intention to make you miserable, but I need some time and space, and attention, or else I get really cramped, and irritable that there is no room for me to breathe, and be able to integrate into your life in a way that is meaningful.  This is really what I want to do.  We.. (and I say “we” because Grief is not one thing, it is a cluster of pain, sorrow, anger, fear, and more) only want for you to learn the lessons that you can from your losses so that you can start to get out of the “waiting room”.  See?  We want the same thing as you, but you don’t get to do this without taking us with you.  When you do this, and integrate the pain and loss, the shit acts as fertilizer for your tremendous growth.  It can serve you.  So pay attention, and thank you again for your invite tonight.  I wanted to point out that it appeared as though you had a very calm, productive, and manageable day today as a result of letting me out to express myself yesterday.  This grounded sense of self, and the peacefulness that came with it, can be more than a rare occurrence.  Just take time to check in, in an authentic way each day; make time to acknowledge your feelings which are valuable for you, in that they are an emotional guidance system, that gives you important information that together provide you wisdom and grace.  My message for tonight to you, Frances, is that you being sick, poor, angry, sad, tired, and berating yourself will not help others to be well, rich, happy, rested, and feel good about themselves.   Check in with your feelings tomorrow several times throughout the day and see where you can turn toward what would make you feel better, more happy, free, loved, and at peace.  I think you’ll find that this will help you take your own health, happiness, and freedom more seriously; meaning, that these are things that will help you feel better…turning toward happiness, letting me out to speak so that I can begin to reduce the intensity level of distress that I seem to cause only when I’m hidden, tucked away.

What is the one thing that I wish others would acknowledge about your losses?

I guess this would be that “I’m doing the best I can”.


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