Friday, October 01, 2010

Grief Support Just When I Need It

So, I though I was doing pretty well.  I was finding the time to get things done, and don't feel as though I am living underwater most of the time anymore (swimmers might understand that reference but it is the best metaphor for how I felt the first two or three weeks after mom died -- as though I were totally submerged in water and the rest of the world was somewhere on dry land.  I could see it and hear it but only in a diffuse, muffled way.) 

I am still taking naps every day, but to be honest I enjoy my nap time and they aren't interfering with my other commitments so I think I will continue them.

I was at a really low point one day.  It suddenly hit me that I am an orphan now, because both of my parents are dead.  Why at fifty years old that should even be a thought that would cause me any concern seemed to make my sorrow even more deep.  As I was sitting in my grief that day, I received a letter from a beautiful woman in her early 70's who was part of my Spiritual Direction Internship Cohort Group.  In the letter she reminded me that we had decided that she was my adopted mother, and while she could never take mom's place, she would gladly step in and send me the love, and motherly concern that she knew I was missing.  How carefully God orders our steps.  Her letter came that day because she had been traveling when mom died and had only that week had the time to sit down and write.  

Just this week, I have been reading a book called Availability by Robert Wicks.  I got to church a little early on Wednesday morning so I was reading in Church.  As I read a section on allowing one's self to be open to God's love, it occurred to me that I had been experiencing a really dry spell during my prayer time --a long stretch of withdrawn consolation in prayer.  It hadn't stopped me from spending my time in contemplation, I just come away feeling empty rather than refreshed or restored.  As that realization swept over me I could feel my eyes filling up with tears.  Then, Mass began and it was announced that it was the Feast of the Archangels (Michael, Raphael and Gabriel).  This day happens to be my father's feast day.  The tears really began to flow. 

Fr. Bill, our pastor must have noticed, because when I ran into him going into the parish office the next day he made a point of asking me if I was okay.  He has a way of drawing the truth out of me, (I wonder if that is so for everyone he talks with) so instead of saying "things are just fine"  I actually told him that I was still struggling a bit.  He gave me a few really great pearls of wisdom about grieving.  The most important for me at least being that walking through grief is like entering a valley.  You walk along the valley floor for a long time before you begin to climb back out of the valley on the other side. 

Another piece of wisdom came on an unrelated subject from friends in my supervision group .  When I am done crying, I will move on.  The crying has a purpose.  I have known the grace of tears,  but somehow was hard pressed to offer that grace to myself in this situation.

So, the valley may be long, and deep, and filled with suddenly flowing tears, but I know that with friends like these surrounding me I will make it to the other side and my joy will return. 



Mimi said...

I'm so sorry, dear friend. Memory Eternal and I'm glad you are listening to your body and your soul and taking care of yourself.

Suzanne said...

Such truthfully good ways to help you get through to the other side. I needed to read this myself. Grief over different situations comes around the bend often. I'm sorry I didn't get to be at Mass yesterday morning. I made it to a little while of Adoration, thank God. I cried so hard for one of my parents last night. Yes, orphans we are and we feel that now moreso for you and when I need to have that parental caress like last evening. Isn't Mimi a nice friend? :) Just another blessing to think of.