Gone


Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

No longer here

you have joined with the cosmos

matter that can not be created

or destroyed

We the left behind

are broken hearted

and sad

you are gone

Each star the brightness

of your smile

the universe

containing your soul

Shining down on us

radiating love

we seek you out

amongst the heavens

Too soon it seems

being without you

yet knowing

the spirit still remains

Wishing you peace

on your journey

and yet

so sorry you are gone

Grief Is An Unpredictable Ocean


Photo by Meenakshi Chauhan on Unsplash

Grief is an ocean. Sometimes peaceful and calm and other times angry and unsettled. Grief comes in waves.

As time goes on, the grief changes much like the ocean. The acceptance of the way things are is akin to the acceptance of the ocean as something that is always there but ever-changing.

It has been 11 years, well almost 12 years now, since my mother died. For many of those 11 years, my ocean of grief has been relatively calm with the waves only surfacing with birth dates, death dates, holidays sometimes. These waves have been relatively easy to ride out for many of these years.


These last few months with coronavirus, my ocean has taken on the characteristic of a tropical depression. Not quite a hurricane, but still strong enough to stir the ocean into a roiling reservoir of emotion and large, constant waves.

Working within the ever shifting landscape of death and fear with my clients daily has my own personal ocean moving a little more these days. My uncle died unexpectedly last week just a few years younger than my father currently is and it is adding to my ocean drop by drop.

It is a sobering thought that feels much like the experience of having a large ocean wave hit you in the chest and roll over you pushing you down and under, taking your breath.

My mother was very, very sick for a long time, many years before she died. She had diabetes and high blood pressure. She had several strokes from her forties on. She was on dialysis for years. When she died, her organs had shut down one by one and she was a shell of the woman she used to be racked with pain.

The last time I saw her, she was in hospice. She could not speak except to cry out in pain. They just kept upping her morphine to make her comfortable. I talked to her and told her that I loved her and that it was okay for her to go.

She could not talk to me but she looked at me in a few moments of lucidity and cried as I held her face close to mine and told her that I loved her.

I was the executor of things and had to leave the next morning to travel about an hour away to the funeral home location to make final preparations. On the way there, my brother called to tell me that my mother was gone.

I had years to prepare for this eventuality. Death was not a surprise and I was thankful she was no longer in pain or suffering. The initial grief was much easier to handle than this ocean 11 years later.


Clients come in on a daily basis worried about their own loved ones. Some have lost people this year to the virus, others know people who have died. Still others fear for their families and for themselves.

They are in grief for the normalcy of their lives. For the other things that have also been lost, scaled down weddings, barely attended funerals, and not being able to go and visit elders in nursing homes, or those who are hospitalized for different reasons.

Another wave, another ride.


As a clinical counselor, I know all the stages of grief. I know, clinically, all about the ocean and the waves. I work with clients every day to process these emotions.

It can be difficult to therapy yourself.

And so I continue to ride the waves, writing helps. Self-care helps. Acknowledging and accepting my ocean and knowing that the waves will subside as they always do will help.

The waves can wash over me and push me down in sadness and loss or they can lift me up to float in love and remembrance.

I love you mom.

Land Of The Lost


The older I get, the more people I lose from my life. A natural occurrence of aging because everyone around you is older too. Still, sadness and grief remain an ever returning constant.

Last night, my uncle Robert passed away unexpectedly. He was in his early 70s, only a little more than 20 years older than me. It was shocking and sad to get the news this morning from my father, who will turn 79 on Monday. Each passing reminds me more that others in my life will also be leaving soon…..and sooner than I would wish.

My uncle Robert was a giant of a man. I remember him from a very young age being larger than life and quieter than snow. He did not have a lot to say usually, but when he did it was either very important that you listen or very funny. He had an amazing sense of humor and a heart as big as giants. Always there to lend a helping hand no matter what someone needed. And he never, ever failed to make me laugh.

My heart aches for his family today. He was married to my aunt, my father’s sister, for 56 years with two wonderful children, my cousins. Along with many grandchildren. A man of quiet faith and steadfast love and support.

I am sad about his passing, very sad. But I think that his passing has brought once again to light the fact that others in my life will also pass from this life and some sooner than others. It is the way of things, the circle of life, but it does not make it any easier to wade through the ocean waves of grief. From my childhood, only a handful of the “older” generation now remain. Soon, I will be the older generation, or part of what is left of it.

The others will pass into the next life, but they do not pass from memory or from the heart.

I have a wonderful family of my own and I am so grateful for each day with them. But those I have lost are still part of my thoughts, my memories, my heart. And I navigate the ocean of grief some days with no waves and some days with many as I celebrate the present and the living while missing those who have been lost.

Splendor


joy
This talk of splendor in the grass
glory in the flower
grieving not
joy in what remains

so long have I waited
to allow it to be so
finally to let go
but joy I do not know

Grieving not
have I mastered
regret is not
part of me

Joy in what remains
in the life that is
or in the memory of what was
there is no joy in what was

Certainly there was not
splendor in the grass
nor glory in the flower
no joy in what remains

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