Jonathon's Closet

Friday, January 19, 2007

Square One?

One of the most often used expressions concerning grieving is "I feel like I'm back to square one". It's like a "hopscotch" of emotions going from one to the other, this "roller coaster ride" of ups and downs. Very often we hear, "I thought I was doing so well. I thought I was past that". We do move ahead little by little, one step at a time. There will be one day you don't cry, then two, then maybe a week or a month.

But then comes the thought or the memory of the wedding you attend, or the birth of a child, or just seeing a happy couple, and Wham! You're back to square one. It hits us like a ton of bricks and the pain is felt all over again. What we are doing is "revisiting square one". We go back there because something triggers the pain we felt at the beginning and we forget what steps have been taken to get to square two, square three and all the steps taken to get to where you are now.

Those of us in Grief Recovery are walking through this together. We don't have to do this alone. We walk together and remind each other that we will get through it, and hold each other up when we "revisit square one". Don't focus too far ahead on the steps that we are yet to take because you'll slip on the one you are on right at this moment. We have no control over their deaths, but we have control over how we accept their death and find ways to learn to live with the knowledge that we must go on with our lives. All of us have been brought together because of the pain; together we can learn to accept, to understand, to reach out to others and to accept from others all the love and support that is given in our group.

Each of us moves forward at our own pace. No one can tell us how fast or how slow to walk or which steps to take, but we can be there for each other to reach out a hand as we take those hopscotch steps and hold on to each other when we fall back for the moment. So when you revisit square one, remember that's where you WERE, not where you are now. Love and pain are the most powerful emotions we experience and grief is pain because of the love. Grief affects our spirit and our health and can consume our every thought.

Face the pain and know that you need to "work through the pain" because hiding or suppressing it does no good. It is a demanding emotion that will surface regardless of how hard we try to run from it. Don't be afraid to let the tears flow. If there were not love there would be no pain and our tears bring healing and cleansing. Don't be afraid to share your fears and your pain with those who have taken further steps than you have. You can gain strength and hope from the many who have learned from "having been there". Listen to the others and they will "tell" you how the fellowship of our network of friends has brought them to a place where they don't fear revisiting square one as they once did. They know now that remembering the pain is a memory of the love and that letting go of the pain is not letting go of the love.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

1 9 1999

Sunday, January 07, 2007

"The Man" - his thoughts on my husband

Ok, so I was going to write something madly profound yesterday, the 8th anniversary date of Don's death. But as Jona shared, I've been feeling a bit punk lately and quite fuzzy-headed. Honestly, I couldn't think my way out of a paper bag, let alone compose some deep thoughtful reflection on these past 8 years without his smile. Strange as it may sound, I've decided to let John "write" today's post, as I share his words from yesterday.

I was resting at John's place and as he bent over to kiss my forehead, I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and pulled him close, kissing his neck and whispering suggestive thoughts in his ear - usually a no-fail method, if ya know what I mean. But the normal reaction just wasn't there. John slid his arms around me, gave me a gentle hug and sat down next to me. He smiled and said "you know I love you ... but even if you were feeling well right now, well, not today."

I grinned and teasingly asked if the calendar meant that for the rest of our lives Jan. 6th was just off-limits - I can usually tease John out of a mood quite easily. He held my hands in his and quietly responded "look, I know it's strange but it's just how I feel ... it's like I've gotten to know Don pretty well these past few years and somehow it just feels ... disrespectful."

Ok, so I'm a little stong-willed ... I heard him, I understood him, but as I didn't agree with him I wasn't going to let it go that easily. "Honestly, John ... don't you think that 8 years ago today Don STOPPED caring if anyone else was doing his wife!?!"

That little bit of levity was basically ignored. John gave me an almost-smile and gently shared his thoughts. "Don was a good man. A very good man. And he loved you very much, that's been easy to see all along. I feel like in some strange way his death gave me an amazing gift - and for today, I'm just the caretaker of something very precious; something that in some small way will always belong to him ... now don't get me wrong, I don't feel like this everyday. But for today, when I look at you - no matter how much I love you, you're Don's wife".

Friday, January 05, 2007

Catching up

We're behind. My Mom and I have been busy and also she's kind of under the weather, so we're behind. So I figured I'd catch us up this morning.

School starts again on Monday. This is good, I've missed it. And swim practice will start up again too, which is good.

Christmas was ok, I guess. I got a new coat, a couple of T-shirts, and some new things for my room - all U of M stuff. John hung out for a while and we played Monopoly. I won.

New Year's was kind of weird. My Mom went to bed real early, she wasn't feeling well. She hasn't been feeling well all week. Doesn't look real good either. Kind of pale and just not right.
And always tired and always cold.

It's kind of weird weather too ... no snow. My Mom's kind of glad, because it makes lots of things easier - driving and no shoveling and lower heating bills. But no skiing either, so that stinks!

Tomorrow it will be 8 years since my Dad died. That sounds like a really long time, doesn't it? But it's not. Not really. I mean, think of 8 years as just a tiny segment of forever. It's not really much time at all.

I'll be blogging once a week. It's my New Year's resolution. My Mom'll have the blog the rest of the time. I haven't been writing much lately, mostly because I've been real busy. But I plan on being here once a week.

I think that's all that's happening right now. Other than I've got to go now, because if I don't have my room clean by the time my Mom gets home I think she's going to kill me!