Other-worldly

Below is a quote from Dr. Leeat Granek in Slate Magazines’, What Grief is Really Like, series. It really stood out to me.  The expression of devastation is how I often feel.  Yes I knew it would be hard, but the grief seems almost other-worldly.  I find it comforting to know I’m not alone in this feeling.

 “When my mom died, I couldn’t ride two subway stops without sobbing. I knew it was going to hurt, but I didn’t know it was going to devastate me. “

Mind numbing cold

Pali lookout on a rainy day

I went to the Pali lookout today, though not on purpose.  I was in the area and somehow ended up there.  As I looked into the horizon it was chilly and raining, but I didn’t care.  I wanted to feel cold. I stood there and shivered as the rain poured down on me and I hoped the rain would come down even harder.  I needed to know I could feel something besides sadness.  And hot; it’s been really hot lately.

I cannot believe these words are my own, but I miss the seasons.  I want to see the leaves dropping around me with brilliant colors; the smell of the leaves decaying as you walk through the park.  I want winter.  A cold and bitter winter that reminds me I am alive.  Seeing life go dormant around me sounds comforting.  I want to lie in the snow and feel my skin burn from the cold.  I want to see my breath fog up around me.

Friends of mine would say fall and winter were wonderful because nature would drift to sleep for a while and then come back alive in the spring.  I always saw it as everything just dies.  There was nothing I found particularly beautiful about it. Fall was the beginning of the end, as I dreaded the dark winters.  But I think I understand it now.   There is a predictable and soothing rhythm to it.  Even the most treacherous of winters will eventually birth forward a beautiful spring.

A new unanticipated and unwelcome anniversary

Hard to believe it’s been a month.  Four weeks ago to the date she breathed her last conscious breath.  Four days later she died.

My mind feels cloudy, my body, heavy.  Like I’m a candle slowly melting.  It’s not an entirely unpleasant feeling.  There is a sense of relief in letting go.  Not so much a letting go of my mother, I expect that will take a long while if at all, but accepting who I am in this moment.  Accepting that my life has changed, I’ve changed, my family’s changed.  How I exist in the world is no longer the same.  Twenty-nine days ago I was a different person.  Twenty-nine days ago my life changed forever.

I know a sense of normalcy will eventually surface but from what I hear it will be a new “normal”.  And that makes sense to me.  I don’t feel a sense of hopelessness but an anxious anticipation of what is ahead.  The grief journey is new to me.  I don’t know what to expect or how I will “best” get through this. Something tells me that perhaps it would be best to accept that I don’t know.  What I do know is I need to take it day by day, moment by moment.  And be kind to myself; kind to others.  Comfort myself, let myself be comforted by others.  The road ahead seems dark, but I have to believe this too shall pass.

Good article for helping those who grieve

From Slate Magazine:

How To Help Friends in Mourning

Condolence notes? Casseroles? What our grief survey revealed.

By Meghan O’Rourke and Leea

t GranekPosted Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, at 7:30 AM ET

Illustration by Deanna Staffo. Click image to expand.This article is one of a series about grief. Click here to read our original articles on grief and to look at the accompanying survey. Click here to read Meghan O’Rourke’s series on grief, which became the book The Long Goodbye.

What is grief really like? Earlier this spring, we posted a survey on Slate asking this question. Struck by how poorly our culture seems to understand the complexities of grief (each of us had lost our mothers to cancer and had written about the experience), we wanted to hear from readers about the lived reality of loss. As we noted in our first article about Continue reading

Learning a new way to be

When it’s hot, I like to jump in the pool for a quick swim before I go to bed. I swim the modified backstroke, looking up toward the stars as I glide over the water.  I feel like a water bug that juts across streams and ponds, practically walking on water.  Blooming plumeria trees fill the air with a wonderful aroma – one of my favorites.  I see heads peaking outside their windows: who is in the pool this late?

I was swimming on Sunday at Kamainas, thinking of my mother and hoping to see a honu (sea turtle).  That if I saw one, it would somehow be a sign.  Of what? I don’t know.  But I love sea turtles and without sounding too corny, I think they are very special.  Shortly after, I looked down as I swam and there is the biggest honu I’ve seen at Kamainas directly below me.  It was feeding on some of the algae growing on a large rock.  Most of the time, they swim away once a human is hovering above them.  But this one just stayed there, floating around the rock as I ducked down below to get a closer look. Perhaps it was older, wiser and understood it was a protected species.  As if it knew we weren’t supposed to touch or harm it.  Or maybe Continue reading

Where is she?

For the past month, I feel like left this realm and entered another.  And now I’m back.  It’s amazing how your entire life can change within a matter of seconds.  A senseless misfortune and here we are.  And this happens every day.  Eventually we all will die and someone very close to us will die at some point.

It frightens me because I don’t know where she is.  In yoga class this morning I was pondering if she could see me; feel me.  But I don’t know.  What I do know is she is gone.  I get a sense of peace about it though.  It’s not a feeling of distance, but maybe time.  I’m not sure what that means.  Does that mean I think I’ll see her again?  I really can’t say I know.

Kindred spirits, lounging by the pool, and pollaroid memories

I was at the pool up the street from my parents house yesterday and met with some friends from my childhood.  The early 80’s pool furniture looked the same to me, though I do believe it had been long since replaced.  A man in his 50’s was lying on one of the deck chairs, smoking and drinking a 40-oz. canned Natural Light.  I arrived before my friends, jumped in the water, and swam vigorous laps in what was a very small pool.  He tried to talk to me a few times, but I would say a few words than immediately submerge myself.  I think he got the idea.

It never ceases to surprise me when I go back home and how different the perspective my child self is from my adult self.  Everything is so much smaller.  The large houses in my neighborhood look small, the buildings around town look small, and most definitely, the neighborhood pool looked small.  Numerous memories have been made at that pool.  The neighborhood kids and I would Continue reading