Grief -- What Else? And Pictures.

You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair. (Chinese Proverb). How to do that -- prevent the nesting? I suspect we just have to keep marching...

I used to do grief groups for kids -- and you know kids say some funny stuff. A boy about nine whose older brother had died told me, "my mom cries all the time and it is SO annoying." I think that is what Harper B is thinking...

Like small kids, I think dogs are more affected by the grief of the humans/adults than the actual missing member. Asia and Zoey have each other while they wait out the grief storm that has landed on our house again...

Grief is so isolating -- you feel such a disconnect from others because nobody really understands -- they can't because they are not you. Yes, people go through similar losses, but the experience and meaning of a loss is always filtered through what is unique about us and therefore while grief is universal, it is profoundly personal. And lonely.

When you are grieving, you feel kind of crazy -- even though you are not. But other people sometimes act like you are -- like you should just get over "it" -- whatever "it" is. And like you should just calm down -- don't tell a grieving person to calm down, unless she is your BFF -- and then you should because she needs to hear it (Thanks Elizabethanne and Heidi).

It is normal to process everything that happened, and to ask questions about it because you just need to know. I am reminded of a couple who came in to see me -- haunted by the idea that their child who died in an accident had suffered. I did not tell them to let it go -- I hooked them up with the ER doc who had taken care of that sweet girl, and he told them she had not suffered and why he believed that -- and they were able to stop being tormenting by that particular part of The Terrible Event.

Sometimes you just need to know. And that is okay. And sometimes even professionals with the best intentions (including me) do not get it right -- but if they do not know that, how can they apologize and do better? Sometimes you have to say hard things -- and ask hard questions -- so it can get better for someone else. And so you feel like what happened was not a complete waste. And that is okay. If you are nice about it.

Grief makes you very tired. And not hungry because you are sickened by what has happened. Then your BFF has to send you an email to say, "eat breakfast". You still might not eat breakfast but you are glad someone still cares about you even though you feel crazy and might be acting that way.

When you are grieving, nothing matters anymore. Everything seems meaningless and wrong. How come people still smile? Why are people having joy? Don't they know Cadi died? But you do understand -- kinda -- that it isn't the same for them so it is not their fault -- but you still might want to slug them (but you can't).

And it is easy to be mad at God -- what the heck was God thinking?! But maybe this is not God's fault  -- instead just maybe God wept at my broken heart and sent angels to show Cadi the way home.

There is not any part of our being that is not impacted by grief -- it has physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual consequences. And nobody can make it stop -- you have to just float down the crazy grief river, trying not to drown, while your friends shout encouragement from the shore.

You can't be embarrassed that you are there on your small boat with all of your 100 Little Soldiers who are wearing tiny life jackets and clinging desperately to the boat as it pitches and rolls -- being embarrassed that you are on that crazy river makes it worse. It is okay to grieve someone you love -- even and maybe especially, if she was your dog and you loved her so much. People who matter will understand -- and those who don't need to be left behind anyway.

Grief is the price we pay for Great Love.

8 comments

by Cousin Julie on Fri, 03/30/2012 - 08:03

Jogging along the riverbanks making sure you don't drown...your troops are looking pretty tattered, but you're all hanging on. Trying to out pray the current. Remember, inhale...exhale...repeat...{{{{hugs}}}} from us.

by Carmen K. on Fri, 03/30/2012 - 09:14

"Grief is the price we pay for Great Love" So true. Keeping you and your family close in heart and thought.

by cindy Heintzberger on Fri, 03/30/2012 - 10:14

Every word you write is so true! Still waiting for all of the books to be published:) Take good care of yourself my dear friend - the Heintzberner girls, ALL five of them, send lots of kisses!!!

by john h on Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:49

I would buy the blog in hardcover and electronic versions... :)

by cousin Julie on Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:20

I agree with the HeintzberNers again! I'm in!

by Lori Simidian on Fri, 03/30/2012 - 17:51

The price is very high, but the love is sooo worth it. It's hard to remember that, when you are in excruciating pain. I'm still wishing you comfort and peace.

by Heidi on Sat, 03/31/2012 - 18:19

The first part, with the quote from the 9 year old boy, made me laugh. And then, tears over laughter.

I guess that's pretty much how it goes, right? We are cheering from our part of the shore. You will find safe harbor when the time is right.

by Julie Hooker (a... on Mon, 04/02/2012 - 06:35

Ahhh, M-A. You are so right. Thank you for writing during this impossibly difficult time. For what it's worth, you make grief (both past and present) easier to manage.

You can have my soldiers for right now. . .I don't need them quite as much as you do.

You put words to what most of us can only feel.

Julie

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