Tag Archives: grief

This Life

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This life.
This tender, fragile, vulnerable life.
This perplexing, demanding, chaotic life.
This fulfilling
this disappointing
this crazy, ever-changing, remarkable,
normal, exceptional, precious life.
How my heart breaks for this life.
How my heart swells, bursts open,
bleeds for this life.
How I’ve had to be strong for this life.
How I am grateful, so grateful,
ever so grateful for this life.

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My heart is heavy tonight as I think of a dear friend’s partner who just last night succumbed to the story of his suffering and chose to bring an end to his time on this planet. I’ve been forthcoming about my own depression on this blog, imagining the peace that non-existence would bring. I feel so humbled and so shocked to hear that this brother took action on those same kinds of thoughts. In my darkest moments I’d always see my children’s faces and feel a deep conviction that I could not do that to them.

But this man had no children.

Recently my dear friend had wanted to reevaluate their relationship and had stepped back in order to redefine herself, her goals, values and priorities. I’m guessing that in the face of this change, he felt deeply lonely and believed it would always be this way. My heart breaks for him.

I remember that when my marriage ended I was flooded with feelings of worthlessness and shame. I kept wondering what I had done wrong, what was wrong with me. I kept asking what I could’ve done to avoid my husband leaving. I remember that feeling of loneliness and brokenheartedness, crying until I had no more tears, so much anger, the belief that the suffering would always be this intense. I remember the lonelieness and the pain of isolation.

But I was so fortunate. I had a therapist that I had been seeing for a while. I found my way into CoDependents Anonymous (CoDA) meetings. I had friends and family, and even though they didn’t always show up in the way that I wanted them to, they nonetheless provided support to get me through. And then there were countless beings out in my community, here on this blog, on FaceBook, on Instagram, on Insight Timer, in the yoga studio, teachers far and wide, mentors, guides and wise ones who provided words of encouragement, prayers, well-wishes to get me through the darkest moments.

I reached out so many times for help, and I got help, and still there were times that I just wanted it to be over. There were times that the pain was so intense that I didn’t want to have to live through any more of it.

So in a way I completely understand the reasoning behind this brother’s decision to just be done with it once and for all. I understand in a way that perhaps most people cannot possibly understand. And so I feel so shocked, so sobered, so humbled by this event. I want to be there for my friend. But there are no words that can make this better. Only breathing, one moment to the next, just taking care of basic things like eating a meal, taking a shower, trying to sleep, just one thing at a time.

Friends, hug your loved ones close. This life is so fleeting, so precious, and you may never know who is struggling on the edge of oblivion, trying to decide if they can keep going…

The Weight Of This Burden

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I’ve been working my @ss off,
trying to boost my finances
for what will come.
I’m tired, overhwhelmed,
my body aches, my mind is fuzzy,
and I’m flooded with a sense of futility.
And it hits me…
I’m doing what my
grandmothers and grandfathers did…
I am struggling just to get by.
*******
I thought when I married him
I’d be taken care of.
I’d raise our children
and take care of the house
and he would take care of us.
But that dream was shattered
in an ugly, unkind way.
*******
How can my faith in life be restored?
My family struggled through
the Great Depression.
And countless ancestors before them
struggled through poverty, famine,
sickness, and endless toil…
and through it all…
they somehow survived to procreate.
And so I was given a chance at life.
Sometimes I wish I hadn’t been given this chance.
If I had known I would end up here,
wondering where I’ll live
and if I’ll have the mental fortitude to keep going,
I’m not sure I would’ve signed on.
******
What’s the point of living
when you’re struggling just to get by?
And I’m being asked to take on
and even greater challenge…
be strong for my progeny,
give them a reason to keep going,
pretend through it all
that I’m good at this,
that I like this,
that this is all ok.
Hats off to all the single moms out there
who managed to pull this off…
you deserve an award for your performance.
But frankly I resent being here.
I resent the weight of this burden.*

*I just want to acknowledge that in comparison to many, many people on this planet I am doing quite well. I currently have food, clothing, shelter (for now) and access to resources that could be of help. I recognize that all my whining and moaning and complaining about my situation here might elicit absolutely no sympathy at all from people who have been through far worse. I’m just sharing how I feel. I don’t expect that my feelings make sense to anyone. I’m just sitting in the middle of my own suffering wishing I could get away from it. Maybe one person out there knows this feeling. Maybe one person out there now knows that they aren’t alone.

The Strength to Climb

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When you’re 42 years old
with two young children,
recently divorced,
celibate for the last two years,
yearning for human contact
but trusting no one…
When there’s just $35 in your checking account…
and your AC has been broken for two weeks
and there’s a wiring problem in your house
necessitating running extension cords
from your refrigerator and freezer
to outlets in another room…
When you’re feeling
tired, angry, and lonely,
but you’ve made a commitment to sobriety
to try to claw your way out
of this pit you’ve fallen into…
When the only direction you can go is up,
but you’re so damn depressed that breathing feels hard—
HOW DO YOU FIND THE STRENGTH TO CLIMB?

Update:

Friends, that last question is not rhetorical. I quite literally want to know how YOU, you who have made it through tough circumstances and who have come out stronger, how YOU did it. I need some hope. Please share your experience, strength and hope with me.

Let Go All The Way

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Homecoming.
Afraid for what awaits
in the emptiness
of my once shared space.
Grieving still what was…
wondering when I’ll be set free
from this self-imposed prison.
What do I need to do to let go
all the way?
The way this works,
if there is one shred of holding on,
the whole thing takes root again
and grows stronger than ever before.
I need grace
to help me let go all the way.

Another Poem (Gratitude)

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Before he dropped the bomb
I had a regular, consistent gratitude practce.
I recorded five things every night
for which I was grateful.
I had been doing this for years,
faithfully,
and had already filled multiple books
with my nightly gratitudes.
After he dropped the bomb,
I expanded my practice.
When my mind was telling me my life was over
and that I’d never be happy again,
I recorded twenty things every night
for which I was grateful.
I began to count the smallest things
as important…
the way the sun rose,
the way my child’s voice sounds,
the taste of soup,
the temperature of the wind.
I realized that those “little” things
are enormous in their beauty
and their presence.
I realized I could be more grateful.
I started to realize that happiness
is a choice I make every day.
I’m into my healing process.
I can thank him for dropping the bomb
and blowing my old life to bits
so that I could create a new life.
I’m still working on forgiveness,
but that is another poem.