I've watched other grievers. At my grief counseling class, we wear the black G under our shirts rather than on top. We are the secret Legion of the Grievers, and we choose to grieve, mostly without fanfare. We each drive ourselves to a class, which takes tremendous energy for active grievers. People who don't seek help after a death in the family may choose not to grieve. They stuff. I'd like to stuff. It just doesn't work that way. For me, anyway. The grief comes whether I'm feeling good that day, or whether I've gotten work done, or whether the sun is out, whether the birds are chirping, as they are outside my window this cold morning in February.
Almost all of the grieving moments and days for me come first with the deep realization that my husband is gone. Gone in the permanent way. Death is the ultimate definition of permanent. This is the permanent gone of infinity and prophetic biblical proportion. It has impressed upon me a lesson that has changed my perception of life, which is that the surest fact of life is death. Even the most privileged among us, the One Percent, will die. They get it in the end, too.
So, what does an intelligent, 47-year-old college-educated mother of two do with this kind of information? Outside of the obvious – that it makes me more than a little dark-minded – it makes me partly despise conventional ways of living. I no longer lead a conventional life. Conventional as in a husband, two kids, and a dog (now a cat). A mortgage, a car payment, a career of some sort, a vacation every once in a while. It makes it difficult sometimes for me to spend time with people who live conventional lives. I feel cheated. There's a lie in the promise of an ordinary life.
If I choose to continue processing through the lense of futility, what's there? I do believe it is a choice to harbor futility. It is a thought pattern that could just as easily be replaced, in time, with another. Futility is unpleasant to share a bed with. It makes everything look like not much at all. It takes your hand and constantly squeezes in Morse Code: What's the point? I am told, yes, this is grief. This is what grief does. It is normal. It will pass.
|Cooper Chapel, Bella Vista, Ark.|
Mind you, I don't feel stuck. I get up and participate. I don't wallow under the covers cuddling futility all day in my pajamas then at dinner time, shuffle toward the frig in my gaudy slippers past a mound of dirty dishes. I've never done that. Don't imagine I will.
So, I shift. If I no longer fit the convention, then my life is different. It is not ordinary. I can choose to see it as not ordinary in a positive way. And in doing so, I can believe my life is extraordinary, if I choose.
If I choose. If I choose.
I lost a long comment! What u wrote is so real to me. One difference: Ive always felt & been extraordinary. Havent a clue what it would feel like to hVe an ordinary life; would run fast if I thought "ordinary" was about to catch me. So Iaken ments in stride.ReplyDelete
I need to run faster.Delete
I cant fix typos. Different is a constant in my life; always. Living as close to how I want to live is what Ive done since fleeing an oppressive home 2os after reaching 16.ReplyDelete
I think the ordinary goodness of my formative years leads me to feel off-kilter now. I'm learning to embrace the difference.Delete
Hey Jennifer, Sending a hug through the ether to you and your girls. You've always seemed extraordinary to me.ReplyDelete
Meredith, your comment had me thinking pretty hard this week about the perceptions we have of ourselves. It is so difficult to stand out and look in at our lives and see the good. Not that I don't think my life, in most ways, is tremendously good. I practice gratitude for the wonderful ways in which I do live. I'm trying to practice keeping the negative from seeping in, which it inevitably does, even for the most positive-minded people. What a shame it is to let negativity zap our precious time.Delete
Now, how come we have failed to get together? Let's plan something soon, even if it's just a bagel down the street.
I don't know if this will help right now or not, but you may wish to explore the Buddhist concept of death as the greatest teacher, and as a gift, because it make sit all life precious. I've been through a lot of deaths in my life and found that their concepts helped a great deal. One, Westernized (maybe easier for us to understand), source of some of these ideas is in the book 'The Untethered Soul' by Michael A. Singer. It's not a very long book either, but it's packed. It's a bit traditional for me at times but it's mostly very interdenominational and open-minded. Very accessible. --http://www.amazon.com/The-Untethered-Soul-Journey-Yourself/dp/1572245379ReplyDelete
I feel an affinity for Buddhist ideas. Lately, I've had no momentum to attend a group setting. Absolutely no tug.Delete