Today was a bitter sweet day. I had breakfast with my dear friend Ruthie and the magic about Ruthie is that she talks about John more than I do.
She knew him before I did and watched our progress with loving eyes. She is a bereaved mother and has a heart bigger than the world with a mouth without a filter which I love. She asks questions. She challenges me……..are you really all right or are you hiding anything? I tell her the truth, as it would be pointless to do otherwise, and assure her that I speak openly on my mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. Added to her attributes, she is hilarious, which is what I need most of the time. We were together a couple of hours and then I had to leave.
This has been a challenging time for my family and I on both sides of the Atlantic, so I need the Ruthies in my life. People we adore are going through health issues which are awful, to say the least. Obviously, we all want to fly over there immediately, but with both of our beloveds being hospitalised at the same time it would be pointless. We stay in touch with phone and conversations with doctors and nurses so we know what is happening. There have been some painful errors which are being investigated. I received more information when I got home and was able to put in a phone call which was distressing to say the least. 3500 miles seem a lot farther. Suddenly it got to me. What could I do to calm myself? Of course. Peace Valley Park. I know I probably wasn’t supposed to, but I, in collusion with some of my family, placed a few of John’s ashes there so that is where I wanted to be. Whilst waiting to leave, the tears started. It takes time for me to cry and then I do it well. I made tea, of course and relaxed just for a short while. Then I grabbed an apple, a bottle of water, my phone and left.
As I have written before, Peace Valley Park is well named. I find it exquisite with the lake, the sky and of course……………..the Canada Geese with whom I am in love. At the risk of being repetitive, I think they should rule the world. Their way of life, their leadership qualities are pristine. They are monogamous, one partner for a lifetime. If one is ill or injured two will stay with that bird until it recovers or dies. The leadership is a V formation and when the leader tires, the next one takes over and it doesn’t cost a penny. There were hundreds there. I probably arrived at about 3p.m. and there was my favourite parking space where we sat for many a day together, watching those amazing birds. I know they are not approachable, nor are they potty trained, but those things are nothing to the gift they give of beauty, elegance and funny walking. I sat in my car, listening to glorious music of all genres and discovered that Phil Collins really calms me.
I saw all the people walking, riding bikes, walking their dogs (I was so jealous) and the weather was beautiful. As time went by, a slight dusk approached but with a breathtaking sunset. I ask people who question the spirit, what takes your breath away? So, I started making a list.
It started with a love I never expected that still sustains me – more about personal grief later. My children and their children. Friends who are reciprocal in all areas of life. Music. Certainly, this sunset. I saw an amazing sunset in Dun Loaghaire (Pronounced Dun Leary) in Ireland years ago and went back several evenings with my camera and it never returned. This one, on this strange yet ethereal day, was stunning. Animals – all kinds. Being welcomed. The people with whom I am privileged to work. Those in deep grief take my breath away, indeed they do.
What takes one’s breath away is different than gratitude lists. They too are valuable. Mine is very very long with everyday situations, health, love, joy, I list them and then read them every day lest I need to add something else. At this time, I feel serene and I put it down to something I listened to in my car. I have four CDs in a collection called Beauty, The Invisible Embrace read by John O’Donohue, an Irish poet philosopher and the historian of the Catholic Church. It is exquisite, his voice alone.
I listened to another one, Anam Cara, some time ago. He died very young, fifty-two and his Wikipedia report is excellent – worth reading. He said, “When you have resentment to a person, that person is living rent free in your brain”. I listened to that over and over. Since that time there has been a huge shift in my perception of life, the people in it and where I belong, what I believe. I still have arguments with God as I see Him/Her/It. I suppose I must believe in whatever or I wouldn’t bother to argue. To be truthful I do not argue, as that would necessitate a response, so I yell. What I know for sure is that the people who put me on track for my life and work were Humans; the ‘grown ups’ I saw, who cared for me when no one else did. They are my heroes and I base my life on what I saw from them as a child. I might be repeating myself but that is the strength of who they were and what they did. With that in mind I see it in the power of the Human Spirit.
Just recently I started watching The Young Pope on HBO and on demand. At first I viewed the screen wondering what this young American Pope would do, as he sounded rather bizarre and far too unkind and I wasn’t impressed with the first two episodes of the series. I thought, oh here we go again. Another scandalous presentation of the Catholic Church. I am about to watch episode Eight and I am totally hooked and completely addicted. Judd Law is nothing short of brilliant and it is a very deep presentation of something he never could deal with – his childhood. Some parts are chilling. He seems to be an agoraphobic. He is threatening and at times sounds more like the Mob than the Holy Father. As the story progresses I could see his struggle and what he had to do to get the people who were living rent free out of his head. I identified with him in some ways and though I am all grown up, childhood scars are deep. I highly recommend it. There are ten episodes and I don’t think there will be more. Really astonishing and I never thought I would be so dedicated to watch such a presentation. I will have watched those ten hours over two days.
I mentioned earlier about dealing with grief. Don’t forget that humour is vital. We all do it differently and certainly the rollercoaster is in residence for most of us. How long? Impossible to say. Whatever happened to me this week, the transition, has heightened the humour. Imagine that. Here’s an example.
I have only told two people and I thought they would choke. When all this happened about my family in the UK, my family here realised it was pointless to fly out at this juncture. We telephone and email. The Hospital staff are wonderful in giving information. I don’t know if they have HIPPA over there, which drives me round the twist at times, but they have been open and straightforward with all of us. My older son, the businessman, has been in touch with my brother in law’s medical team as has my older daughter, who is a nurse. She has the lingo and the knowledge. My younger son and I are on the grief and end of life expertise side, so we take care of that. My younger daughter, who has the special needs son, keeps her eye on me.
I am in contact with my sister in law’s health team, as is our nurse person. However, the other evening I was in the living room doing something mundane which is a valuable asset, when I looked at my mantelpiece which holds six photos of John. I looked at the photos and said, “Where are you? We really need you here. You love these two people and we want your input. I have written and spoken to you at times – not with you as you aren’t there. I have done automatic writing in case something would come up but nothing, nada. Don’t just float on a cloud – do something.”
I sat quietly musing on my next move. It came about an hour later. I went to the mantelpiece and turned every picture to the wall. I went around the house where his photos were and either turned them around or laid them flat on their face. That’ll tell him, I decided. That will teach him to make his presence known to the cats and some of my friends!!!!
I left them there for two days and would have done more but Valentine’s Day arrived and I know what a romantic he was so I turned him around again. Then I started to laugh and thought, what an excellent story to tell when people struggle with guilt on a single angry thought about their beloveds. People piss people off. I can’t imagine how any two people with any intelligence would live their lives agreeing with everything. This is a great example of ‘no two people grieve in the same way’. Some might thing this eccentric. Thank you very much. Others see it as hilarious and thank you very much for that too. What it does is give people the freedom to express, in any way they like, that hole in the heart. It gets smaller and then it grows larger again at any given time. It is so healthy to express oneself in the ways that their loved ones did in life. Were they funny? People feel they are being disloyal if they laugh. Wrong again. Our dearest ones would laugh with us. As I ripen, being called weird is such a compliment.
My very dear friend Robyn, who lives far too far away from me, is such an example. Her lovely daughter Megan died in an automobile accident. It was a true accident, no drugs, no alcohol. She was driving on a very familiar road and when she turned another car hit her head on and she died instantly. I believe Robyn to be one of the most loving people I know. She is hilarious yet admits to her grieving and in so doing helps others. She certainly helps me. She is eccentric and at times outrageous. Does that sound familiar? She can say absolutely anything to me and I to her. That kind of freedom isn’t sufficiently available to many people, which concerns me. However, there are excellent groups in person or on line to help support grieving people. There are a lot of them so one can Google. I am thinking of setting up such an online meeting and need to discuss it with my Website Mentor, Kim. I used to have a Prayer line on my previous site and I will ask her about that. It will be called the Spiritual Energy line. Just writing that I suddenly realised how many of my friends today are bereaved parents. Never thought of that before.
I mentioned in a former blog that I read Rune Stones most days. Whilst I was sitting at the computer I saw a box of cards by Doreen Virtue and as I was stuck in writing for the moment, I picked a card. SHANTI. She said “I am the angel of peace. I bring you tranquility and a smoother road ahead”. Then, “You have been through turmoil and your soul is tired. Your mind craves peace and quiet………………Like the angels you are able to hover within the eye of any hurricane that may swirl around you right now and you can stay centred no matter what is happening in your life. This inner foundation of peace has a powerful healing effect. Your outer life soon reflects your inner peacefulness and the worst is behind you”.
So beautiful indeed. Why does my humour check in when I read something like this? I mean I hope it is true but I couldn’t help laughing about being peaceful when driving home today a woman dangerously cut in front of me and I leaned on the hooter. On the back of my car I have KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!!! Honestly, am I really that irreverent?
This blog has no title as it is a stream of consciousness. Things happen and changes are made. I change all the time and cannot grasp how much I have since June 5, 2015. Those people all the years ago, who are my idols sowed the seed in me to be as they are. I have arrived. It is a wonderful feeling to get to the stage that I will take no crap from anyone at all. I have been like that for quite a while but now it seems to have exploded. One last thing.
I am sure my children do not read my blog. However, I feel I want to say that the love they have shown toward their Uncle and Aunt who are very ill in the UK, has overwhelmed me. They have created a team effort, not only to do what can be done from here to there, but accepting and compassionately realising that two of my lifelong friends are in jeopardy. They are doing what has to be done and are in contact with each other all the time. I am in awe of them rising to the occasion and crisis – it is heartwarming. They understand my grief which is different to theirs as I have John to contend with and now this. They are astonishing and of course I told them so.
I am so blessed.