The following was something that I wrote to clear my mind during my mother’s illness and subsequent death. I was thinking about it today and decided to share it.
It’s a funny thing. During my mother’s illness grief was present but it was hard to separate it from the other emotions… fear, panic, anxiety, apprehension, sadness, were all present. Grief was one among many. Now the others are resting..they crop up from time to time but not consistently. Only grief is consistent and somehow is easier to bear when there is time to see it by itself.
Illness, uncertainty Decisions..choices
No time Rushing Home.. hospital.. work.. family
No time Cant’ wait Must go Must do
On and on
So much Feelings crowding Pushing Jostling for position
Recently I have been trying to clear some of the clutter from my house. I am creating a collection of things that can go to charity and putting them aside. There is so much in my house that has been collected over the years that I don’t really need. Some of them have memories attached. Nevertheless it is time to clean out and let go.
We have to do the same thing about ourselves. Sometimes it is time to look deep inside and let go of the garbage that has collected. It may be anger at someone or the pain that a slight caused. It may be the memory of something that we are sorry we did. There are times when we need to face all these thing and throw them out.
Open the closet doors and just pull away the bad things. Let the light get in so you can see the dust and dirt and really sweep it all out. The lightness that we feel when we take this action is amazing.
It is a hard thing to do and it may have to be done one closet at the time but there is always a time to get started. We can each do it!
Memories. Today I have been thinking about memories. God willing we do not lose our memories. There are so many that we have to share and we need to do them before it is too late.
I wrote this poem about memories in 1996
The Button Box
As I look for a shirt button In my button box The memories come flooding back
For in that box are buttons In many colors and shapes Sizes and textures Buttons that tell the story of my life
A button from the dress I wore To the christening Of my first born
A mandarin button From the elegant bathrobe My husband gave me When our son was born
An extra button from the dress I made myself to wear To my youngest daughter’s college graduation
I hold each button in my hand And relive the day When the button Was worn
I didn’t expect When I opened the box To find memories Memories in a button box
Memories are important. They take us back in time. They sometimes come unbidden with songs or smells or buttons. They can be good or bad, sad or happy but they belong to us. And let’s pray they will never be taken away.
Some days are great. The weather is beautiful. It was today. Everything is going fine. It was. And then suddenly, for no reason, you are sad. I can’t explain it. Nothing happened. I am just sad.
Sometimes memories crop up and you remember people who are no longer here and sadness creeps in. That is one of the hardest things about aging. It is possible to lose people at any age but it becomes more frequent as we grow older. Every now and then the losses catch up with you and you can’t help shedding tears and thinking about them.
Two great friends are gone. One several years ago and one just two years this month. She had been my friend since we were in grade school and she wasn’t supposed to be gone before me. She knew me the longest than anyone left in my life and I miss her. I miss the connection. I miss getting to call and just laugh about the past.
This is a normal part of aging but not one that is fun. I am grateful for all those years with both of those friends and I can’t say that I’m not glad to be alive. As long as I am here and others who remember then they are not forgotten. They live on in my heart and in the hearts of others. Love matters. Love didn’t die with them. Love lives on and I don’t regret any of it.
Dreams are interesting. Sometimes we can tell where a dream came from. We may dream about something that happened during the day. The dream may be mixed up and ridiculous. It may be prophetic. It may also show us our hidden feelings. Two nights ago I had a dream that related to my past vocation. It seems I was trying to be part of my previous church in the way that I was before. I was rejected and woke up crying. I fell back asleep and dreamed about the church I attend with my husband and wanted to help and was not allowed and again woke up crying. I realize that my grieving over the past year is not over. It is manifesting itself in my dreams. Maybe, in some way, my dreaming about this and crying is helping to allow the grief out where I can confront it.
Grief is not a thing that disappears immediately. It comes back and helps us to cry and acknowledge the loss. This is not a bad thing. We have to accept that grief hurts and arises at strange times.
The thing is if we didn’t love…whether is was a vocation, a person or whatever…we would feel no grief. Love is never lost. Love is worth it. Our lives would be lesser without love.
This past month has been full of challenges and opportunities for me to backslide. During all the things that worried me I have kept on going. The only thing to mar my moving forward has been IBS. I was so good for over a year until last summer and stresses jumped on me and it was difficult to keep worry and anxiety at bay.
The issues concerning me have not been mine to tell but they do impact me. Hopefully some progress has been made looking forward and getting a grasp on solutions. It is easy to know that plans don’t always work out but at lest I think the issues have been identified and are moving forward.
I think the other difficulty for me has been finding a home for my spiritual life. I am disconnected and feel a piece of me missing. I do relate strongly to music and ritual. That is why I gravitate to liturgical churches. The beauty of the liturgy moves me. I have been so blessed by amazing music over the last 20 years that that piece of me is also adrift. I can listen to the things I love at home but it is not the same as hearing it in a place with amazing acoustics and glorious musicians.
To feel immersed during liturgy is what I crave. I know that I have to find some solution but I feel incapable at the moment. I have a good understanding of where those things can be found but there are other issues holding me back. I sometimes end up just staying home. This is not a solution and not a good choice. I continue to grieve over the loss. Will I ever find that place of peace again?
Today was rainy and cold. Really depressing weather. When we lived in the north I preferred snow to this rain. It chills you so. I have been helping out in the office of the church I used to work for. The only people I see are the administrator and a friend. Both are very dear to me. My friend and I do some simple tasks to help out a little. It is wonderful to see the two of them and we have lunch together.
I don’t know how I would survive without friends. It seems that women are more likely to have close friends than men. I am sorry about that because a dear friend can make life more beautiful. Two years ago I lost my lifelong friend and I still miss her. She was the last person alive who knew me as a child. Friends store memories for us. As we age they are the ones who can say “remember when?’ The two at church have known me for over 20 years. My other two close friends have known me for over 40 years. A lifetime!
Friends grow close through shared experiences. We have all had our share of illness, loss, crisis etc. We have all had good times. We understand each other’s faults and good points and accept each other totally.
I see friendship as another example of God’s love. God loves us and knows everything about us. There is nothing that we can do that will separate us from the love of God. Which brings me to one of my favorite Bible verses.
Romans 8:37-39 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.