Tag Archives: loss

Land, Fire, Sea.

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When our partner has been unfaithful it is a shocking betrayal we don’t expect.  If they then leave the relationship, we are forced to grieve.   This is another painful betrayal which can blindside us.  They are still alive and as such grieving them becomes what I would categorize as a different sort of “complicated grief”, no less painful than a bereaved partner.

We are not only grieving our partner but also the loss of the life we had together and the loss of dreams of the future that will no longer be.  It is a multi-layered loss which is often minimized by well-meaning people trying to help by pointing out facts meant to quiet our pain like,”wow, what a such and such!!! .”  and “you just dodged a huge bullet.

Complicated Grief or CG – from Mayo Clinic.org: “losing a loved one is one of the most distressing and, unfortunately, common experiences people face. Most people experiencing normal grief and bereavement have a period of sorrow, numbness, and even guilt and anger. Gradually these feelings ease, and it’s possible to accept loss and move forward.

For some people, feelings of loss are debilitating and don’t improve even after time passes. This is known as complicated grief, sometimes called persistent complex bereavement disorder. In complicated grief, painful emotions are so long lasting and severe that you have trouble recovering from the loss and resuming your own life.

I believe that my experience and those of others who experienced infidelity and were then abandoned by their partner, CG could aptly describe the same type of grieving process.

I decided that my ex-narcopath’s idealization phase was just that, a way to reel me into the relationship on his fishing line.  However, the feelings and love for him were real for me.  Just because they were contrived on his end only meant that I felt the loss and pain and grief of losing what I thought I had.

I eventually came to accept that I had fallen in love with an illusion.   That took time to arrive to that understanding and even longer to accept.  In the end, I was grieving the man I thought I had, not the man I actually had.  This cognitive dissonance slowed my grieving process down.   For as I would start to become angry at him and go through the grieving process, I would quickly remember how wonderful he had treated me in the beginning and get hopeful again that maybe we could reconcile.  Then I would have to begin the grief process all over again.  Not to mention him staying in touch with me, one weak moment of me communicating with him and I was right back to missing him only to be cast aside and wounded by him again.

It came in cycles.  Waves as it were.  Until the waves came closer and closer in succession until they were on top of each other colliding.

Then, I was faced with despair and nothing the grief process itself.  But how? How does one grieve someone who is still alive?

I observed and compared people who lost partners to death and noted that as a victim of infidelity who was dumped, I  was lacking ritual and ceremony in my grieving process.  I then set out to find find personal ways to make my grief feel more real and tangible.

I first visited many online forums and connected with lots of people who had experienced the same thing that I had.   I listened to their stories and advice.

Once I accepted that it needed the be over for ME….(it had long since been over for him) I decided to take all his fake-ass love letters and put them in a wooden box.   Then I took said box with his photo in it and dug a hole into the woods.   I placed a medium sized rock over the pseudo-grave with a simple black symbol I had painted on the rock which was meaningful to me.

I wrote a short eulogy and read it out loud expressing my feelings of betrayal for the sweet man that I would miss.  I said in closing he never had existed except in my heart.  I wrote it for the man I thought I had, for he was the man for which I was crying. .   I had my best friend there to bear witness to my process.  I found this helpful and was pretty sure by then she was ready to smack a shovel over his head and put him into a box with the sheer amount of hours I cried on the phone to her.

I have heard other women getting lighter fluid and torching their love letters.  Still others ripping them into bits and throwing them into the ocean.  I knew of one other woman where threw her letters into a trash dumpster and then taking a photo and sending it that the ex.   Another    man simply bound his letters up and returned them via mail no return address.

Which method you choose matters not.  The important thing is that the process empowers you and brings you closer to healing.  There’s always the option to do nothing at all.   Simply sit be with your pain.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve.  There is no blueprint and certainly no handout anyone gives you for this kind of off the charts level of fucked up pain.   You will have to do it your own way.   At your cadence.   On your terms.

You may grieve before your ready but not before you can.  Freedom really has always been inside of you.    You can do this.  You will be okay.

 

 


Angels

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It’s been 92 days since my mom died.   I often wonder where she is now.   Where does her soul reside?  I could feel it quietly slip away that night at her bedside.    Mom was more than a good woman, she was the very best.   Gone are the constructs of my childhood, the black and white of what the afterlife looks  like.   The conceptual part of heaven no longer works for me.   I was taught a utopia, free of pain and where all experience only pure love and joy.

It sounds like something I’ve been aching for all along.  I’ve  only caught short-lived glimpses, here and there, like scattered leaves blowing through my life.    The promise of Jesus and of eternal life in heaven?  of resting with His angels is the only hope I have.   I intuitively know I will not find that love here in this world.

Most of my adult life I’ve had a fear which grips me, that I’m damned. So it is only a fleeting hope for me, to join my mom.

“5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to“

Romans 5:5 New King James Version (NKJV)

Mom, you are where the angels soar now, whatever that place is.

This one is for you ❤️

 

 

#missingyou


Time of death 8:00

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I haven’t been the same since she left.  There is a hole in my heart I can’t seem to repair.   She was always my touchstone, my North Star.  The one I turned to for advice on all matters.   She was far more intelligent than I, she was a born diplomat, she was articulate and refined.

She had Grace.

When she came home 3 years ago and told me that she had ALS, I was silently horrified.  For I knew exactly what fate would lie ahead for her.

No cure.  No treatment.   Ascending paralysis beginning in each limb, until one day her esophagus would no longer work and her diaphragm would no longer move….. She would slowly starve and suffocate.

Even when you know the storm is coming you can just never fully prepare for its wrath.

Watching her lose more and more,  over and over again and being helpless to stop it, became gut wrenching.  At one point she asked a family member to shoot her, in a moment of despair.  For she had just lost the ability to wipe her bottom on the toilet.

I never felt that she was never a burden to me, I would have sawed off both my right leg and arm to help her.

She left two months ago, and the time of death was called at 8:00 pm, yet it feels like the clock has stood still for me.   That night is frozen, crystallized in my mind.

I watched her those last 2 days as her feet became mottled.  Her breathing became more shallow and stopped frequently.   That last day her fingertips and toes began to turn a bluish color and the nurse confirmed death was only hours away.

I had just finished reading Psalm 91 aloud to her.  She took comfort in that particular Book.  She could still hear us.  This we had proved with a smile she gave when we asked her for a photo.  When I read the last line of Psalm 91, she breathed her last.

I fell into her as if a child again.  “Mommy! Oh Mommy! Don’t go! I love you!!” I pleaded,  as I clung onto her and hugged her tightly.

We all sat with her while waiting until the funeral home came to get her.  But the nurses came in to say they needed to “get her ready”.   So I asked what that involved.  They explained they would be washing her body.

So I volunteered my sister, I, and my aunt to do it.

By this point, my mom did not look like herself anymore.

Her skin tone had already changed to a light ashen yellow grayish color except for her extremities which continued to get more blue-purple by the minute.   Her mouth was agape and would not close no matter how many times I tried.  Her hair began to look more dry, like straw, no matter how I brushed it.   The way you might a doll’s hair.

If you have never been around death, up close and personal,  it changes you.  It changed me.   I am not afraid to die anymore.   People always say that the deceased look like they are sleeping, but I am here to tell you different.

She looked lifeless and she did not look like my mom as much any more.  It was clear to all of us that  “she” had indeed left at the time of death.   This was only 1 hour post-mortem.  The nurse handed us some towels and explained that when we rolled her, we need to place a towel over her mouth in case some fluids should leak out.  And also that she may have lost control of bowel and bladder. The month that preceded this 2 days in hospice we had cared for her 24/7 round the clock.  Administering Haldol, Ativan, and Morphine sublingually.  Doing her bed baths, lifting her to the toilet.  We never did use a hoyer.  It’s not what she wanted.  She brushed and water picked her own teeth , for she could not use her hands to floss them.  All this until two weeks before she passed.  She did not have a g-tube.  She did not not have mechanical ventilation.  She was fiercely independent til the end.  She lived and died on her terms.   Amen, amen.

As I stood there gloved up ready to wash my beloved mom,  I felt scared.  I thought  “I’m not as brave as I thought.”   Mom was the brave one who had this disease kick the shit out of her for three years non-stop and never gave up.

Bearing that in mind, I did my best to just suck it up and remember that my mom deserved the best care, til the very end. I knew that we, her family would do the best job at preparing her for the way she would leave this world.   Not strangers.  That was the least we could do for her to pay homage to this amazing woman, knowing she was watching us from somewhere not so  far away.   With that thought in mind,  I jumped right in.

As I was washing her naked body I knew that all that she was,  had transcended this world.   That indeed, she was gone.   As I was cleaning the vehicle which had carried her soul for so many years, I was strangely aware that somehow she knew that,  from wherever she was.   She was proud of us for the respect  we were paying her in what we were doing.

We redressed her in a lavender colored brand new night gown, her favorite color.  We put her lotion on her feet and then slipped on her favorite soft wool socks.   We all gave her one last kiss goodbye.

When the funeral home came with the stretcher and black body bag with that long metal zipper.   I decided to leave and urged my little sister and aunt to do the same.   Instinctively, I knew that I would never be able to get that image out of my head or theirs.  So I took my little sister and my aunt by the hand and told them we had done all we could and that it was time to go.

That was the longest corridor I have ever walked,  away from that room.   I told both of them we are going to get in the car and no one is going to turn around to look back.

No one did.

Still,  I have to say I don’t have all the answers l.  I don’t have things all tidied up in some neat little bow.  What is after this?   I know she is energy, not in a visceral form.   But oh I believe there is something.  I believe in God.  Where it this place you go? what it’s like, I wouldn’t pretend to know.

I know that I miss her terribly, I feel lost without her here.  I talk to her but want so desperately for her to talk back.  All I can do is hope that one day that will happen. That one day I can see her again.

If they have a WordPress in heaven Mom and you can read this, I miss you terribly and I will love you forever.  xoxox

#ALSTDI

http://www.als.net


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