Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When Friday wasn't so good.

Generally Friday is considered a happy day, the beginning of the weekend, the icing on the cake that was the week. But this last Friday, January 18, was not so good, it was the first birthday my sister was not at the end of a phone, not waiting for the lovely cake or pie her hubby would make her.

Grief seems to be the gift that keeps on giving, keeps on surprising, keeps on jumping out in front of a person and going "ooga booga!" so you pee a little. Friday's date, my sister's birthday, was tucked away there in a corner of my brain. Every so often i'd peek at it out of the side of my eye and watch it getting close and wonder what it had planned for me.

Friday after i woke up i thought "maybe magically the 18th has slipped by me and was yesterday and i can just sigh and go 'oh! My sister's birthday was yesterday, look at that,'" but no. Friday's Grief was just waiting to jump out from that corner in my brain and yell "ooga booga!" And it did.

All day long i fought my emotions. Mostly my eyes leaked and my heart hurt. The hubby was kind enough to let me snot on his shoulder a bit. i just couldn't grab hold of Grief and tell it to stop, it wanted to visit and sit a while.

But like i've learned, sometimes you just have to give in and have that chat with Grief. It can be mighty insistent.

Then her husband called and WE chatted--about Grief, about Patti. About missing her, about funny things she said. About what it's like for him to get up every day alone when he'd spent the last 40 years getting up with her.

"When I was having a hard time getting up for my 8 a.m. class in college, my grandpa told me, 'When the alarm rings I know it's easy to think how nice it'd be to just lay there longer, but when it rings, don't think. Just get up."' Then Keith continued, "So that's what I do. When the alarm rings I don't think. I just get out of bed and get going, take care of the cats, get to work."

And i guess that's what life is and how we keep going forward in the face of days that are not so good: we don't overthink it, we just do it. But some days Grief just grabs ahold of us and gets in our faces, and makes us think, makes us remember.

While i felt like Friday wasn't so good, it ended up good--remembering Patti, remembering things she'd say, things she'd do, laughing together and honoring the loss and the memories. As much as it hurts to do, looking Grief in the eye can be healing.

Skimmer's Recap: Grief is not unlike visiting the gynocologist: not anyone's favorite, but necessary and sometimes even helpful.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Good Grief: Lessons.

My big sister Patti on the left, me on the right.

i keep thinking of what i have learned this past year from grief and my Favorite Mental Health Professional. What with losing my sister in March it was a pretty intense year that way, leading to many posts with the word "grief" in the title. i think it boils down to a few simple (yet profound) things.

1- Give yourself permission to feel all the attending feelings when they come. This means you may have the blubbering-est face in the universe, you will find depths of snot you never knew you were capable of (where does all that come from??) but you gotta do it. If you don't let it out it just stays in there and festers like that stupid sliver you got when you slid down the railing your mother told you not to.

2- Write about it. There are lots of things i didn't even know i felt until i started writing. Talk about pulling my finger out of the hole in the dam! Damn.

3- There's no right way to grieve. Yes there are "steps" like denial and anger and all that, but they are really more just "pieces" of grief, and they come randomly and often all together in a big flurry. And how it feels at that moment is just what you gotta feel to get through it.

This may sound too basic somehow, but trust me on this one, it's the truth of it. i've long struggled with thinking i had to make sure i wasn't bothering anyone else with how i felt, but who wants a festering splinter in their bum?

i talked about "clean grief" in this past year of loss--i know it was partly because there was no major weirdness between my sister and i, so i was able to just feel the loss. There wasn't all the "i shoulda" and "why didn't they?" stuff that can follow along in other more complicated relationships we grieve. And since for the first time i felt free to just follow the tide of emotions, be sadder than sad, be so pissed off at life at God at my parents at my brother, was really cleansing.

Mostly i'm tired from it, and i'm still sad about Patti not being in my world. And i guess i wanted to share these few things because if i didn't know about them, maybe somebody else out there needs to read them too.

Skimmer's Recap: Grieving: it's good. Do it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Poeming: Another year.

My friend Adina. If i tried
 this i would kill myself.


Usually I resolve not to resolve,
hating the gravel pit of failure,
the scattered, broken bits
of promises made to myself
then left to the elements to
crumble in the company of
other broken bits of promises
made to myself.
So this year, again,
I resolve not to resolve,
but simply to gaze
more outwardly than inward,
to breathe deeply
in the cold or the heat,
to celebrate this body
with its (mostly) working parts,
to treat myself as kindly
as I treat others.
In other words,
this year I choose
to live.

jle 2013

Thanks to Poetic Asides Wednesday poetry prompts for this prompt to write a resolved poem.

Skimmer's Recap: Here's to a kinder, gentler year for all of us.