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death_maya angelou

My mother died five years ago today.  But, tears still come to my eyes.  My children have expressed (or discontinued contact) their opinions on their own childhood as each person packs and carries his/her emotional baggage.

 

Things were not perfect in my relationship with my mother.  I, too, have my own memories of difficult times, very different personalities, or way of thinking.  For those that hear the story, their degrees of separation make them smile at my mother’s behavior.

 

Her way is how she was and is remembered by so many.  Mom made people feel comfortable and welcomed in friendship even if they had met for the first time.  She wrote letters to a jailed community member to comfort him (we knew nothing about this until after she had died).

 

Despite the differences, losing my parent was very painful.  She died of a cruel terminal disease so we watched her suffer before she eventually passed away.  For her it was a blessing, but the gap that she left behind is so large that my father is still struggling to bridge it.

 

She left behind many grandchildren and great grandchildren who would be so grateful to have such a woman in their lives.  Now, she is a photo or the subject of a brief story.  Mom is a reminiscence or a smile.

 

But, for me, tears still continue to fall.  Grief is elastic but never fully leaves the spirit.  It is a goodbye that never ends because there is nothing like a parent and no depth of love that can ever replace it.

 

I don’t know if it is so, but I hope that she is still watching me from the door as I walk away…..

 

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This is a post of mine from 2016, but when I saw a daily prompt about “Sympathy” and, particularly, on September 11th – the anniversary of a great loss beyond comprehension – I felt it to be appropriate. My deepest condolences to all of you that continue to grieve your beloved ones wherever you are.

But my brain never forgets either….

maya angelou_alike

It is that time again when I struggle to add acceptance to the other stages of grief that are playing with me again.

Anxiety, crankiness, frustration and other emotional tides are tossing me about.  It is the anniversary of a death.  I have joys and family opportunities to celebrate life and gratitude. My life has been altered by giving others permission to express their pain and truth.  We each need to be supported and encouraged to be accepted through all of our life experiences.  When I try to deny that to myself, my heart and mind know the truth.  My emotions are fragile.  Loss of a loved one is understood acutely by someone who has experienced that same gaping pain.

That anniversary surrounds me with memories of the days leading up to the passing of someone who loved me.  Looking back, I realize that I thought I had more time than I did.

My responsibilities and commitments were honored, although it didn’t mean as much to the recipients as it did to me.  When I tried to be strong, and denied myself the empathy I offered to others, I missed one more chance to say goodbye.  Another hug, or a kiss, or a kind word slipped away from me in regret.

So, now it is my turn.  Overwhelming grief makes a liar out of time.  Passage is just hands on a clock until it is someone else’s time to mourn.

Source: The Heart Remembers When

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/sympathy/

when I think of death_maya angelou.jpg

Everyone who has ever lost someone that they loved deeply has a story.  Details may sound the same, and, we who have had that same experience, can recognize them.  Our empathic natures mean we can see the pain exposed, as well as hidden, because we have had our hearts broken.

But, while we can empathize with a gentle touch, or a nod of the head, a hug, or the gift of listening, we cannot rush someone else.  We cannot say “Life goes on” or trite comments meant to shortchange the depth of grief.  In the madness of mourning, it is cruel and meaningless.

This is not a time of rational thought.  It is brutal.  It is beyond imagination.  Those who seek to minimize it know nothing of the person, the great footprint that they leave behind, nor how we cannot mentally process how time can keep on moving.

Let someone else grieve in their own time and way.  Do not put limits or expectations upon them that you yourself could never match, or have never actually been tested upon. It should not be the intent to listen so that one can relate their own history.  Genuine empathy means that each person has their own story and deserves the time and space to relate it.  Even as the details tear them apart, we are witnesses to that pain, and support, quietly, that which is beyond our comprehension.

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Thank you for stopping by.  I have many thoughts that have gone through my mind, but hesitated to write.  I have wondered if sharing my ideas meant that I would be adding to the overflow of messages we quickly sift through each day.  But, I am trying to be brave.

So, for the month of December, I thought I would try to create booster shots of empathy for the many topics that cross my thoughts and stir my emotions.  I hope that you will be patient; if you don’t like one, perhaps another will be the right dose to help you, or someone else, who needs a little extra attention.  Either way, please feel free to share, because I would love to hear what you have to say when it is the right time for you to join in.

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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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Thank you for stopping by! It means more than you know.
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