Today I am really sad. My mother gave me a ring of hers on my 16th birthday. It is beautiful. It’s monetary value is of no consequence to me. It’s sentimental value is enormous. Today I went to get it and put it in the jeweler cleaner and it wasn’t there. I have looked everywhere although I am sure it should have been in its normal place. One of two things has happened…either it was taken by someone who was in the house and there have been some…or I have put it somewhere unknowing and now will have to find it. I am devastated. I have only lost two pieces of real jewelry in my life and both of them were connected with my mother.
After the first loss I did mandalas (drawings done to with prayer and meditation) about it for months and the thought still hurts. Now I have another to get past. I keep reminding myself that it is just things and that people are what matter but at the moment it only helps a little. I know that this too shall pass but for now it hurts.
I can’t seem to stop my tears from falling. This is not anxiety or depression but sorrow and grief. I pray that the ring is here and will be found but I have real doubts. Life can certainly put us to the test about what is important. I promise that my faith and the people I love will get me past this but I think it is ok for the moment to grieve.
Our memory is an amazing thing. We have so many triggers to bring a memory to light. I live on the salt marsh. As I have mentioned that smell triggers good memories for me. Having been a nurse there are some smells that trigger bad memories.
Smell is not the only thing that can generate memory. There are certain songs that will bring a wave of nostalgia and the memory is so clear that I have been pulled into it.
Memories can be positive or negative. If we have PTSD the memories that we see are not pleasant. I have memories of panic attacks and anxiety from IBSD that come back when something reminds me of them.
We can’t always choose which memories float to the surface but we can use the tools that we have learned to mitigate their power. If I am some place public I will try breathing slowly and concentrating on my breath. Sometimes I am able to find something distracting to shift my focus and help me push the bad feelings away.
Good memories are a blessing and we want to wallow in them. It is wonderful to do so. Bad memories are the ones we have to find ways to travel through without the pain. Use whatever tools you have to live through those moments and each time you do you will be stronger.
Recently my daughter prompted me to write some of the stories about my father. He was a brilliant man who never had an opportunity for education past high school He read everything he put his hands on and never stopped learning. This story is one I love. I think it was about the 1930’s.
My grandmother raised chickens. When one was wanted for dinner a chicken was killed by her, cleaned and prepared for dinner. My parents and grandparents lived in the same house. For some reason my mother and grandmother were very busy and asked my father to kill a chicken for dinner. They asked the man who hated to swat a fly.
My father went out the back door. He was gone for a long time. The two cooks started to wonder what was taking him so long.
Eventually my father returned with the requested chicken. It was dead, had its feathers, but it was cold.
My father, unable to kill a chicken, had gone to the grocery and bought one. In that era they sold chickens freshly killed but not cleaned. My mother and grandmother refrained for commenting and went on to prepare the chicken for dinner.
My friend Deirdre loved and cherished all those who crossed her path. She welcomed people from different faiths and different cultures. Her death was so amazing with people of many faiths joining together to send her on her way. I wrote this poem following that experience. The “all shall be well” is a loose copy from Hildegard of Bingen.
The Death of De
The light is waning and the gloaming is here.
There is a hush in the turning of the earth
it holds its breath for just a moment.
We stand watch sensing each breath
matching it with our own
anxious with each pause
while darkness encompasses the room.
Her soul loosens but holds
I sign the cross on her brow and Christ is here
A Hindu friend joins and her prayers are added.
Another comes and the prayers to Allah are lifted up.
With loving hands we anoint her with sweet lotion
brought from France by another.
All faith is here, we can feel God's gentle breeze,
there is true communion
My friend is held in the arms of love
She is suspended between life and death
through the night.
As the sun lifts itself into the heaven
love lifts her on her journey
and with the smallest wisper
she is gone.
Behind her from the air come the words...
All shall be well
and all shall be well
and all things shall be well.
Do you ever feel as if you are on a roller coaster? That’s what my life has felt like lately. I hate roller coasters. As a child I loved them and went with my father. I’m not sure when that changed but I will not ride them now. Especially all the crazy ones that have shown up lately.
Physically it seems as if I am up one day and down the next. At least I am not constantly down. For me, it is best when life feels settled. Right now settled is many moons away. Company will be here for the week-end. My grandson, his wife and another couple who are their friends. We live near the beach and I am sure we will not see much of them but I am glad they want to come.
The thing is…it’s hard having company here but also had to turn away the loved ones you want to see. It’s a conundrum. So they will be here and I am set to push all stress away and just enjoy.
We miss so many things in life if we are struggling with our own selves and can’t enjoy the wonderful things that we could be doing. When this happens it is time to “center down” ( I have used that before….a Quaker expression meaning lower your Chi) and plan time for yourself to step away for a moment and gather yourself together.
So until the week-end I have no stress related things planned. I will enjoy each day and be ready to enjoy the visit and not miss out on a wonderful moment.
These special moments in life are too important to miss. Family and friends are what matter and we can’t afford to shut ourselves away from that. It won’t come again.
Yesterday my brother-in-law flew in to visit us. He and my husband have not had lots of time to visit each other over the years and this visit ia wonderful thing. They are having a wonderful time sharing memories of childhood and information about the family. We don’t often take advantage of renewing memories and sharing information.
My mother and my aunt were the last two of their generation. When they died all their memories and information were gone. I often think of something that I wish I had asked when they were here.
Two years ago my best friend died taking with her the only connection to my childhood. I don’t think I realized what it would be like to lose that connection. It was so wonderful to be able to pick up the phone and say “remember when?” Now that link is gone.
This is not an unusual happening in life. If we are blessed enough to have a long life there will be many connections to our past that we will outlive. My grandmother lived to be 100 and I can remember her saying that there was no one left who remembered the world she grew up in. It is clear that it is a loss.
If you have elderly relatives take the time to record their memories. It doesn’t matter if they are written down or recorded. There are some online companies who will set up a line that can be called and memories recorded for posterity. What a wonderful idea. My daughter wrote down some of my grandmother’s stories and I am working on the stories my father told. He was a wonderful storyteller and I don’t want them forgotten.
Past history will disappear quickly and once gone it is gone forever. Take the time to keep those memories.
Yesterday I didn’t write. I didn’t write because grief slipped up on me. I have been spending time with my friend whose husband is sick and last night she called that her husband wasn’t doing well. He is now ok but it brought back memories of the year and a half that I spent with my friend with lymphoma and her daughter. I haven’t written much about that since it happened before I started my blog.
My friend lost her husband the year before and then was diagnosed with lymphoma. She had spent her life caring for a daughter born with multiple heart defects. Her daughter lived a good life for someone with this serious a problem but her life was a series of ups and downs. My friend put everything into allowing her daughter a “normal” life. She put herself, her money and her other children. Life was difficult. She did the best she could with what life had given her. The last year of her life was filled with pain, hospital visits, anxiety and struggle. She worried what would happen to her daughter. She died in January of 2016. I became the support of her daughter. The daughter’s brother helped and gave up his life to do so. Her heart gave out in the summer of that year.
The point of all of this is last night I felt as if I was reliving that time. Grief comes in waves and we never know when it will show up again. The only thing that we can do is roll with the flow and just ride it out. I have a busy week ahead and life will move on but the sadness lingers. We have to look ahead and know that there are new days coming. Some good and some bad but new and different. Today will move on and a new day is coming.