Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The blackness of space where someone once was

I'm going to write about grief now, though it is difficult to write, or do anything that expends a large amount of energy.

I'm writing about it now, because I have a crap memory for experiences, so to get the essence of the experience recorded I have to write it close to when it happened. For me, when it's good, I can't remember what it's like to be bad, and vice versa.

And I'm writing it, period, for the same reasons I write most of my posts: I think my experience may be of value to someone.

Grief is what I am going through right now. This is the grieving process. At first, it was a sense of unreality. An inability to understand the reality of the situation. Like I was watching a tv show or something. Oh, my best friend died. I saw that one last week on HBO. Downer. Didn't see that plot twist coming.

Then it was the whirlwind of visiting friends and family. Very hectic, busy. Tiring, but nice, to be with friends. I started searching for answers to the questions of how I was supposed to deal with this.

One of those things they really should teach you in grade school, but never get around to, instead just filling your brain with useless shit like the capitals of each of the states.

I'll tell you what works, once I'm through it, which will probably be in about 50 years. Though I'm going to guess that it's an exponential drop off: after a year, most of the processing will be done, after 5 years, the bouts of sadness and loss will be very rare. That is, as long as I actually let it process.

The main point is the same main point that I have for dealing with all my issues, nowadays:
feel it.
with the additional advice, since this can be such a strong emotional feeling, to not get caught up in particular moments, forgetting that "this too shall pass." The analogy I got from a spiritual mentor/psychologist is that of a stream: some parts of the stream are calm, some are rapids. The stream is your emotions. Let it flow, and don't get your focus stuck on the hard bits.

Sometimes, especially out in beautiful nature, sitting or taking a walk I can relax and feel energized. Often, I feel sad and lonely. And some of the original confusion and disorientation persist.

As soon as I left the protective cocoon of my friends, I felt the loss much more acuitly. There was no more break-neck activity to distract me, and no more friends to give me someone to talk to and be with and laugh with. When a friend called me, who also knew dan, and talked for a while, I felt much better.

I'm in the catch-22 situation of wanting to get lots of rest, because I feel deeply sapped of life energy from the mourning, and at the same time, don't want to face the emptiness of my bed and the darkness and my mind.

A little activity is very good, but I can't do much. I feel like short walks in nature are probably the best thing for me, but once I get home it's hard for me to muster the energy to get up and go outside.

As with all things, it's different than I thought it would be. it's not twenty-four seven sadness, crying. I'm distracted a lot of the time, and the main factor that doesn't go away is the sense of being tired. I'm very tired. more than tired though, like tired in my soul. like it's a challenge to find the motivation to do anything. Thankfully I have a strong purpose, and it still burns within me and pulls me forward. But it's pulling very gently at the moment.

Also, I'm horny. That whole thing, with the Wedding Crasher's movie, about picking up chicks at funerals? I think it may be true. Sex is a way to try and deal with the feelings of loneliness and loss. An attempt to plug a hole that's just opened up in your life.

And that's really what seems to be happening, in the big picture: a part of my life has just been taken out of my life. Like some massive surgery that removes one of my lungs, there is a lot of healing going on, around the wound, and an adjusting to having less. I can't breath as deeply with one lung. I don't have dan to call when I need to talk to someone who gets me really well, to help me process through an issue, who shares my sense of humor, to make me laugh, who understands the incredible beauty of the universe, to be grateful with. Who works like I do, to heal, to serve. I have other friends, a few of which I can do this with, to some extent. But, like only having one lung, it is truly a reduced capacity.

We were that to each other: a booster pack, letting us go further than we could alone.

I imagine it's even more intense for someone who's spouse or similar, dies.

I will never again be as timid around mourners though: I see now, from this side, what it's like, and I don't feel sorry for myself, don't feel like I need baby gloves. Definitely don't need pity.

However, I really do need special consideration. like a post-op, I need lots of rest, good food, and love from friends and family. And frankly, having other people to talk to who can relate to me and what I'm going through, is healing in a way that no one else can be. There is something especially nice about being with other people who were(are) close to dan. We're going through the same process, and it's nice not to have to go it alone. At the same time, it also really is nice, having people support me. people who are not directly connected to dan, and so are not feeling the visceral punch in the gut that his absence produces.

In the same way that being of service to the poor or sick is a really good thing, I understand how being of service to the grieving is in the same category.

It also gives me great respect for the idea of 'Family.'
Family meaning those that you love and are close to, not just blood relations, and probably not all blood relations are included. But it is a really, really good thing to have a strong family. You can't help everyone in the world, but if you've got a strong family, you can look out for each other, and that would be enough, if everyone did that.

Not sure this is coherent. thus goes it.

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