Much has happened lately that has kept me away from writing my blogs. A couple of weeks ago my 86 year old dad contracted a very serious pneumonia. It was touch and go there for a while. It was stressful, painful and transformative.
First, let me just say that as of a couple of days ago, he is stable. Yesterday he sat up for the first time in three weeks and today he has made his first sounds.
While at his age, contemplating the end of a relationship is not out of the ordinary, when the situation does present itself it brings about much fear, acceptance and contemplation.
Grief has been very much on my mind lately. I’m not doom and gloom, but I believe I’m coming full circle in understanding the structure of grief, and most importantly how grief can be turned into healing.
As we go through life we lose friends, relatives, parents, looks, youth, wealth, health, jobs, reputation, possibilities, opportunities, love and at the end of it all, life itself. Wanting or not, loss is part of the human experience. Denying it leaves us in limbo.
Great grief takes away the ground from under our feet. We falter and look for support. It hurts and often feels like it’s going to swallow us whole. It also announces a period of mourning, introspection and the possibility of growth.
I have just read the below article in the Chicago Tribune. It’s a story of love and courage of a 32 year old woman falling in love and marrying a 31 year old man suffering from a very aggressive cancer.
When Bahar Mallah met Nick Schmidt at a bar in Chicago, he told her he wasn’t drinking because he had cancer. Instead of being thrown off she replied by asking him if that was his best line. By staying there Bahar made the decision to live in the moment and see where it led. Bahar and Nick fell in love and married. And 51 days after their wedding he passed away. Bahar is in a lot of pain now. She misses Nick. But, she is also quick to share she is okay with all the decisions she’s made. She got to deeply experience love and to discover the door within her that was opened by meeting Nick will stay forever open.
Below is a beautifully written and touching post by Dan Gottlieb on the Huffington Post. Dan discusses how when we open ourselves up to the love that already exists within us, life changes. When we finally realize that loving someone is not about changing them into the people we would like them to be, we are ready to embrace the love that lives within us. We often spend so much of our time and energy trying to prove who we are to others and ourselves that we end up running over what would actually make our lives in what we keep searching for; a more profound and transformative experience.
His observations come as a result of the loss of his mother and of a friend’s loss of his son. Unfortunately sometimes it takes a tragedy for life to come into focus again.
Don’t wait to experience a great loss in your life to peel away the layers of anger and discontent to find what already lives within you. In love there is compassion and warmth. Love yourself and others today.
By Dan Gottlieb
As much as I hate to say it, the Beatles were wrong when they said, “Love is all you need.” It’s just not that simple.
Love nurtures life, but we need much more. I think Andrew Lloyd Webber got it right when he wrote the lyric, “Love changes everything,” for the musical “Aspects of Love.” Love changes our lives, whether it’s the openhearted, head-over-heels kind of love that makes us obsessed with our lover, or the kind of love we feel for a child. But love also changes our lives when it slowly begins to die in a marriage, or when it’s betrayed by broken promises.
And the nature of love is forever altered when death visits the relationship…Continued
In the post the writer, Piper Weiss, describes the different ways people have coped with loss. Michelle Williams (who lost Heath Ledger) found solace in gardening. Gwyneth Paltrow who couldn’t cut her hair when her father died because that was the hair he knew, then one day she had to get it cut right then and there because her moment of letting go had arrived.
I am on my way to Miami, Florida to work on a film. I brought with me for the four and a half hours of flying, a memoir a woman who reads my posts sent me. I’ve had the manuscript for a few weeks but knowing it was a story of loss, I was giving myself time to prepare to make the descent back into my own history which undoubtedly her account would take me to.
The woman’s husband was diagnosed with brain cancer after months of irrational behavior which had everyone thinking he was either on drugs, having an affair or a nervous breakdown. As I read her painful and touching words, my hands slide down the ropes of my past. I’m going down.
I put the pages on the empty seat next to me and think; all of us go through life loosing pieces of ourselves. It is as if we are all born with leprosy. Each new loss another part of us is left behind.
Today is my fourth wedding anniversary. I am here but my husband isn’t. We actually only got to commemorate our first wedding anniversary. Chris passed away nine days before our second.
I wrote this letter to my husband late last night. All the emotions in the words came pouring out and I was reminded how complex we all are.
That I can miss my husband but have the love and respect for life to keep investing and looking forward to the future. That I can love him with all my heart but be open to give and receive love. There is no limitation in life or in feelings. When we feel there is one, it is us building the wall.