Grief Love

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Checking in…

I am really doing well at this moment. I think I have stepped onto the path of my “new normal” and it is safe and has direction. I feel the pull to do a little more wrap up here so there is a sense of resolution if for no one else but myself.

It has been four and a half months since Dave died and just short of six weeks since my surgery. Three weeks since I’ve written here! (Writing does become habitual.)

I’d be lying to say I don’t think of Dave every day. I might even be worried if I did. I do think of Dave every day. I had my first dream of him this morning in which he was healthy, laughing and himself. (The only other actual dream was just days after his death. Other times I’ve felt his presence rather than a dream) He wore his blue shirt, and even had some weight! He was happy, no pain. He could walk around. He was 20 years younger for sure! I was reading a newspaper article aloud because it had a great pun headline. (Day reside! I shared a Facebook post and noted Dave would have appreciated the pun). I awoke feeling content and peaceful.

I am getting physically stronger each day since surgery. The noise in my head is my own voice and that’s been chattering away inside as long as I can remember. The sound of kazoos, body parts moving and most of the pulsatile tinnitus is gone. I am amazed at how shutting this one flow of ongoing stimulation and static to my brain has meant more energy, focus and stamina. Slowly, and there is still a ways to go, I am coming back into some of my old self while incorporating all I have learned.

Creativity is one part of my old self that has returned. I have been working and creating again. It excites me. I am thinking. I am learning. I am in my element of life and living. This feels good and right for me. The new website to combine Storybooks for Healing and Grief Reflection is progressing well. (Sorry, Navigating Grief is not ready for viewing yet. I’m anticipating an August launch!) It is as much a project of grief as it is of business. Not just my grief but, more importantly, the universality of grief that touches us all.

I straddle the world of being in grief and walking with others through theirs. I am fussing about how close to stand as I work through my own. I am solidly in my sense of self and the place I occupy here, today. For now, I am focused on the academic exercises of grief so I keep a safe distance from my own grief interfering. Yet I see that the attraction for people to grieve together is the shared and honest emotion of each having experienced loss.

Leah and I have often talked about “How it is that we are in such a grounded place after a seemingly short time since Dave’s death in February?” The answer is always that we have done the grief work required. But I have never been satisfied for myself about what “grief work” is. I hear and I read about it without a succinct definition. Yes, grief is the process of coping with a loss and work is the word we attribute to a job and usually a trudging or difficult job. But what or how do we “do” the grief work? Can’t someone say something other than “grief work is grieving?” And do you know if you are ever through it?

I think I know and it has nothing to do with the “stages of grief” Elizabeth Kulbler-Ross is famous for introducing into the bereavement vocabulary!

I’m quoting myself! I wrote a little downloadable e-booklet called Five Simple and Powerful Steps You Can Do to Navigate Grief.* (Simple does not necessarily mean easy) Express Yourself is one of the steps. Finding an outlet for expressing loss is the work of grief (which is a process of coping with loss). It is up to the individual to choose how to discover and express their grief. Simple, not easy. Powerful, yes. Discover and share.

I just thought of this: What if Grief Work were to be thought of as Grief Love instead? We’d have to do grief love not grief work. Might make it more appealing, but perhaps not realistic! Ah, yes. I did say I am in my academic approach to grief.  I never said all my ideas were brilliant! (I wouldn’t be a good ‘Greener or the wife of a founding TESC faculty without taking this a step further!)

Are you through your grief work if or when you can reach a state of love? There are all sorts of implications and questions in this direction when thinking about grief. ( I won’t go there at this time) At least if we are in grief love it is easier to consider that we might not ever get “over” our loss, and maybe feeling and remembering forever is even “OK.”

I still cry, but I don’t cry every day. I still think of Dave every day, but most often I think of him with gratitude and love. I have done my grief work. I have poured my heart out – I have expressed myself through the pain, the lessons, the confusion, and more –right here with you as witness. I have reached my grief love.

I hope I will always have a moment of welling up with tears at the thought of us, our lives and my loss because that is an expression of love. I still have “moments” about my dad and my grandparents. I still have moments over animals and friends and other types of losses. I still can get those sentimental, teary moments about the birth of children, sappy movies and other people’s stories. I have learned that I cry at the truth. It is empathy and love.

Today, I walk the road of my new normal without forgetting.

Download the e-booklet Five Simple and Powerful Steps you Can Do to Navigate Grief.

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