Thursday, January 27, 2011

Whew. I have only been up a few minutes and I have my head SPINNING with runaway thoughts.

Ah, the actual keying of letters is slowing me down. That’s a good thing!

Inception, the movie. I feel like I am in a dream inside the dream right now with no real consciousness of whose dream and whose reality.

Last night I attended a grief support call conducted by Susan, an internet colleague. I went on the call to observe. I wasn’t able to hide as the group was small and I was noticeable. So I shared about my anticipated grief (that’s the clinical voice) and dipped into some of my real personal concerns in this journey (that’s my voice). That was good.

She emailed me a follow-up. “How are you with doing this work and living it at the same time?” There it is: the last question of the night to stimulate the dreams, the barrage of thoughts that wake me up each morning..

My writing, this blog, has truly brought me into the same journey the Storybooks for Healing experience provokes in its participants. I knew when I wrote the program’s workbook and guide activities a couple of years ago that I couldn’t simultaneously be a participant in the program and write it. I drew upon my collective life experiences in its creation. My intuition and life experience was unleashed.

Early on in Storybooks f0r Healing’s development, I could see for myself, and I heard validating reports that  the onion peeling, so to speak, into real reflection on not just death, but life and its meaning was effective grief work. This discovery is one hard sought after “aha” that takes a person from simply talking about loss into a deeper understanding of the impact of loss has on their own life and provides an opportunity to assimilate their loved one further in their heart.

How am I doing at this work and living it at the same time? It’s strangely, if not ironically, liberating! This “walking the talk” brings me a new empathy and insight not only to the process but to my own self. As it should! I am probably at my best when I can tread life using both an intellectual and an emotional response. (Maybe that’s what Storybooks for Healing does best: turn the griever into the researcher to bring emotion and intent together.) I also feel extremely vulnerable in this process, yet, in a good way.  I am in this dream within a dream. Or is it another person’s reality? It is an ambiguous state.

It is to be noted that Storybooks for Healing program has two steps: cathartic personal writing using the work book, and publishing a public storybook honoring the life of their loved one. This blog itself is “writing with a purpose,” which is the core tool of expression in Storybooks for Healing. It is my cathartic writing. (And some so personal as to not be included in all I share.) In the program, writing is designed with the purpose of examining one aspect of the writer’s life – grief and loss – in an up close and personal way. The secondary writing, the storybook, is the catalyst for sharing the meaning of that loss by memorializing and honoring the life and times of their loved one.

My purpose for writing here has been purely selfish: to dig into my anticipation and story of living with cancer and its projected conclusion; and, to draw out the stories of my relationship with my husband along the way (the hardest story I’ve been trying to write, share, capture, and/or tell for the last 5 years is that of his remarkable life. I may never get it right.). My decision to write aloud is to help me understand that not only am I not alone, but that neither is anyone who stumbles upon these words seeking solace, answers or direction in their grief. This opportunity to open my heart and mind to you is what anybody’s grief seeks. “Grief must be witnessed to be healed.”* I believe it.

You know, everything will turn out all right. I can feel it.

Now, I can go get that first cup a’ coffee!

* * * * *

I was in such a hurry today to purge the whirlwind in my brain this morning that I had to start writing on notepaper:

There’s so much in my head this morning I can’t even wait for a cup of coffee or to even turn on the computer.

  • Ambiguity – Word of the day
  • Dave as a clown- a dream image based on his rosy cheeks rash.
  • Delirium – dream image and sensation
  • Snippets – songs, dreams again
  • All of the day residue! [Day residue is a term used to describe elements in a dream that may have ties to actual waking activities in the dreamers’ previous 24-48 hours. Ex. Dave became a  clown in my dream because his face rash creates a clown-like appearance.]
  • Dog panting – breathing hard, or is it Dave?
  • The Death Event – Navigating Grief blog post story idea? Difference of knowing, not knowing
  • My dream – just a snippet
  • Food/ nutrition the caregiver role

There’s probably a thousand words running through my head on each of these topics. All at once. They are different but the same.

  • Vulnerability.

* page 63. On Grief and Grieving

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