Taking My Medicine


I seem to be moving slow these days—intending to get lots done, but then another day ends. I am engaging in self-care: walks, writing, reading, yoga, meditation, music and prayer. You can see my days are full.

You know when you want to do a big cleaning job, so you move all the furniture and start going through the piles? That’s how my life feels—a lot of piles. I think—just an observation, not a judgment—more people deny and miss the gifts of grief than dive in like I’m doing this time. Trust me, this is a horrendous loss and a challenge I don’t like.

At this point, though, what am I to do but accept that people I love are not immune to death and therefore I’m not immune to grief? If I love and lose, I will grieve.

If I don’t love, I won’t lose just another; I lose myself. I’m a loving person. I’ll fall in love again. He could die. In fact, the older I get, the more likely that becomes.

Also, it’s probable my remaining parents will die before me, although sometimes we wonder. They’re admirably healthy! Still, people die and life’s not fair.

I’m not looking at this fatalistically. Not just in my life, but as I look around, listen to the news and walk in cemeteries, it’s obvious this system has been rolling for quite a few years, regardless of my disapproval. In this system—life—people die from all kinds of things at differing ages in the most ridiculous of circumstances. We say: It shouldn’t be!

The evidence speaks otherwise. People should be born and people should die. Do I disagree with the cycle of life? With nature? Because it’s not just humans. Every living thing passes away.

That’s easier to accept when it’s not the man I love, the man I want in my arms. Craving a physical presence that only exists in the past feels wretched.

I doubt denying makes it any less painful. Like I used to (sometimes still do) deny my anger. When it came out, I was like a badger that had been locked in a box. Fortunately for me, Kevin was cool about my crazy.

He said, “Just say it if you’re mad! I‘ll let you know when I’m pissed off. It’s ok. It’s better than not saying it and getting all weird.” Which I was good at, but I got so much better in his presence.

Although I take credit for my growth, I see I often looked for the right teacher when what I really needed was a mirror. Kevin was my mirror. I saw myself clearer. Without judgment and through his eyes, I came to see myself more beautiful. That lingers, thank God! Because I can’t be leaning purely on my own thoughts these days.

Greif is subtle, sometimes. (Other times it’s so direct it strangles.) Both anger and grief erupt from the depths of who we are. If we don’t allow emotions to roll thorough, they settle. Or we settle. Not this time. Not me.

I own that I’m deep and sensitive, even vulnerable. It’s not that bad! But, deep when it’s grief can feel unbearable. I remind myself of Tony Robbins’ advice: Don’t make it better than it is, but don’t make it worse.

It’s tempting to fall into the bottomlessness of grief and believe there’s no way out. Or, convince yourself you’re fine and disregard what you might actually be feeling. We numb in all kinds of ways. Law & Order is one of my favorites.

See that, right there, about my guilty pleasure? Years ago I wouldn’t even admit something that innocent. And I told you about my anger. Grief—when my mom and brother died—was just one more out-of-control thing I sought to control.

This time, I’m taking grief as a course in spiritual growth. This course has been designed specifically for me, although there are other grief courses for other people. This is independent study, but there are group sessions. Some aren’t even aware of the courses or that the help of high-ranking tutors is available. Others aren’t interested in the learning. Me, I’m all in.

Grief can be toxic, but it can be used as medicine for the soul, if you take it in increments, measured according to personal desire and readiness. Like we’re ever ready?! Bahahaha!

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