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Category Archives: death

I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.
– Sylvia Plath

“How do you tell if something’s alive? You check for breathing.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

In one of those rare moments when I rose above the pain, I realized that I was breathing. It was not just one of those shallow breaths that we hold onto for too long; it rose above me and out towards the world.

I had been holding my breath for so long, or trying not to, that I did not know how good it would feel.

This was a moment when I realized I could see beyond the grief. Once I exhaled, I realized that I had clarity in my mind as well as my body.

These moments are to be treasured for breathing is no simple task. Holding onto our air and diving deep, or being submerged with no known way out, takes more effort. It costs more, it feels more, to withhold our breath.

My grief and loss took my breath away and I did not know how long it would take to get it back. Once I did, I realized just how long I had been under the ebbs and flows of pounding waves, and how long it had taken me to come out to shore. My feet pressing into the Earth was a reminder that other parts of my body denied attention were still there.

Trying to ground myself deeper into being reminded me that those whose lack of empathy or compassion was truly hurtful no longer deserved my attention. It was my own once again.

Even if it only happened once in awhile, I was miraculously able to acknowledge it, appreciate it, and wait for its next return.

faith

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Three Letter Words.”

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April is a time of Spring, a renewal of Earth, a reminder of Spirit.

My birthday is this month as is an anniversary of my Mother’s passing.

Growing, hoping, praying, dreaming…….

Crying, rising, falling, never forgetting where we could be if a brilliant life hadn’t been shortened by a cruel disease.

My grief still stings; tears fill my eyes and fall without permission.

Forever more, knowing that I have lived another year, means remembering another year that took Mommy away.

No matter a fragile number of my years, my mother’s love reminded me that I became special to someone when brought into this world.  With my mother’s passing, I still feel bereft, forgotten, as no love could be as pure as that which my mother offered to me.

Grief takes a position at my table like a ghost; it is a guest that refuses to leave.  With me always, though never again, loss still takes my breath away.

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Robin Williams madness

The death of Robin Williams has come as a complete shock to all but it lingers in the hazy parts of our brain. It seems beyond comprehension that Robin Williams died of suicide, succumbing to his severe depression. How could the funniest man in the room suffer from depression?

Robin Williams’ performances were broad ranges of manic brilliance, comic timing, creative thinking, heartfelt emotions and vulnerability. He won his only Oscar for playing an empathetic therapist in “Good Will Hunting.” His performance had to be inspired by his real life experiences. It may be that Robin Williams suffered from a dual diagnosis depression. 60% of people suffering from depression have a dual diagnosis; this means that they suffer depression and substance abuse.

His brilliance, his humor, his open heart, his philanthropy, being a loving father, and his vulnerable, honest and searing explanations of the demons that he was fighting touched us in the deepest parts of our brain and hearts. With all of his accolades, he did not hide from the dark side of life. He was open and honest for anyone that could understand or learn from his challenges.

robin williams good will hunting

We are struggling to understand how a bright light suffered from such deep darkness and despair.

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“You look at the world and see how scary it can be sometimes and still try to deal with the fear,” he said in 1989. “Comedy can deal with the fear and still not paralyze you or tell you that it’s going away. You say, OK, you got certain choices here, you can laugh at them and then once you’ve laughed at them and you have expunged the demon, now you can deal with them. That’s what I do when I do my act.” — Robin Williams

Robin Williams fought valiantly and sought help for his addictions multiple times. He worked to make us laugh as he wore his own mask (and a big red nose as Patch Adams).

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For those who think that depression is a sign of weakness or only a disease for the poor and homeless, remember Robin Williams’ 30 plus years of acting, performing, laughter and heart. Remember that he made us laugh when we felt we could not take another step in our own sadness. We sought escape from the struggles and challenges in our own lives by laughing along with him.

He left a legacy of laughter, but also a reminder that even the funniest, most brilliant, man in the room could suffer from depression.

Rest in Peace.

Robin Williams optimism

Over 20,000,000 million people in the U.S. are affected by Mental Illness. One of our best and brightest just died from it.
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compassion

For some reason, in the last two weeks, a couple of people have made comments to me that it is amazing how quickly time has gone by, as it is almost a year since Mom passed, and I should be feeling better. People don’t know what to say, or how to make conversation, or are just really obtuse. I don’t want to call them stupid, but it might be time to change the batteries in their empathy chips when we turn the clocks back tonight.

I don’t count the days since my Mother has passed. I count long months, tears, memories and the knowledge that I am no one’s favorite. It has been ten months since my Mother passed and nine months since my Grandmother passed on. The period of time watching each of them deteriorating has chipped at my heart of glass and left sharp craggy edges.

I still weep copiously at the sight of my mother’s photos and I wonder when she comes to visit, as a spirit from the Light, if she will linger long enough to leave a message in my dreams.

People want grief to be defined and confined to some statute of limitations. Here is the thing that you need to remember: Grief is Messy. It does not care about times or decorum. It hits when it is most inconvenient or when anything special happens in your life. It makes you weep at the hole in your life without a Significant Other who loves you and thinks you are funny, witty and special.

Loss is a plant that never dies; it has deep roots, with periods of growing and waning, fresh bursts, and blossoms in its season, but can never be fully harvested.

People tell me not to be angry at G-d as it was His decision and his judgment. I am not; my mother was lucky to move to a better life out of her imprisoned body. However, I still miss my Mom.

I am very aware of how much time has passed and the dates on the calendar that mark holidays and other major occasions in our lives. When babies are born, I want to call her and share the news and the photos. As my father prepares to walk down the aisle as a proud Grandfather in two weeks’ time, we are well aware of her absence.

This is not a time of crossing X’s on a calendar counting down to some date of freedom. My mother’s spirit was set free and for her it was a joyous reunion with family long since gone. But, for me, I am chained to the date with full knowledge of what it means. The calendar is a masquerade of days. It is not a sign of moving forward; rather it is a measure of the time I have been looking back over my shoulder to see what is left behind.

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