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BS: Bereavement

AllisonA(Animaterra) 27 Oct 03 - 08:34 AM
fiddler 27 Oct 03 - 08:45 AM
InOBU 27 Oct 03 - 08:51 AM
Charley Noble 27 Oct 03 - 09:11 AM
Amos 27 Oct 03 - 09:15 AM
jacqui.c 27 Oct 03 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,Kim C no cookie 27 Oct 03 - 10:20 AM
Stilly River Sage 27 Oct 03 - 10:37 AM
Deckman 27 Oct 03 - 10:46 AM
GUEST,pdc 27 Oct 03 - 10:54 AM
Bill D 27 Oct 03 - 11:03 AM
katlaughing 27 Oct 03 - 11:12 AM
SINSULL 27 Oct 03 - 11:16 AM
Liz the Squeak 27 Oct 03 - 11:18 AM
Peter T. 27 Oct 03 - 11:29 AM
Stilly River Sage 27 Oct 03 - 11:31 AM
Mooh 27 Oct 03 - 11:45 AM
Amos 27 Oct 03 - 11:57 AM
katlaughing 27 Oct 03 - 12:04 PM
Mickey191 27 Oct 03 - 12:27 PM
Desdemona 27 Oct 03 - 06:06 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 27 Oct 03 - 06:48 PM
Deckman 27 Oct 03 - 06:57 PM
Jeri 27 Oct 03 - 06:59 PM
Joybell 27 Oct 03 - 07:23 PM
kendall 27 Oct 03 - 07:28 PM
Mickey191 27 Oct 03 - 09:54 PM
GUEST,pdc 27 Oct 03 - 10:18 PM
Rich(bodhránai gan ciall) 27 Oct 03 - 10:41 PM
Joybell 28 Oct 03 - 12:06 AM
mouldy 28 Oct 03 - 03:48 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 28 Oct 03 - 04:57 AM
kendall 28 Oct 03 - 08:17 AM
Janie 28 Oct 03 - 08:42 AM
GUEST,Kim C no cookie 28 Oct 03 - 12:35 PM
Deckman 28 Oct 03 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,pdc 28 Oct 03 - 04:22 PM
katlaughing 28 Oct 03 - 04:42 PM
katlaughing 28 Oct 03 - 05:00 PM
Mr Red 28 Oct 03 - 06:28 PM
katlaughing 28 Oct 03 - 06:53 PM
jaze 28 Oct 03 - 08:02 PM
Amergin 28 Oct 03 - 08:32 PM
GUEST,pdc 28 Oct 03 - 09:13 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 29 Oct 03 - 05:33 AM
Joybell 29 Oct 03 - 06:12 AM
wysiwyg 29 Oct 03 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,pdc 29 Oct 03 - 06:01 PM
GUEST,Animaterra-at-work 30 Oct 03 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,pdc 30 Oct 03 - 12:32 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 30 Oct 03 - 12:50 PM
Mrs.Duck 30 Oct 03 - 12:57 PM
Wesley S 30 Oct 03 - 02:20 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 30 Oct 03 - 06:57 PM
GUEST,pdc 30 Oct 03 - 07:25 PM
GUEST,Jaze 30 Oct 03 - 07:49 PM
wysiwyg 30 Oct 03 - 10:00 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 31 Oct 03 - 01:07 PM
SINSULL 31 Oct 03 - 02:41 PM
Deda 31 Oct 03 - 10:11 PM
Ebbie 31 Oct 03 - 10:14 PM
mg 31 Oct 03 - 11:03 PM
open mike 31 Oct 03 - 11:51 PM
Menolly 01 Nov 03 - 03:53 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 01 Nov 03 - 06:57 AM
wysiwyg 01 Nov 03 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,pdc 01 Nov 03 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 01 Nov 03 - 03:59 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 01 Nov 03 - 04:48 PM
Deckman 01 Nov 03 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,pdc 01 Nov 03 - 05:51 PM
momnopp 01 Nov 03 - 08:58 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 02 Nov 03 - 06:32 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 02 Nov 03 - 06:37 AM
Jeri 02 Nov 03 - 07:23 AM
katlaughing 02 Nov 03 - 03:36 PM
bbc 02 Nov 03 - 06:47 PM
wysiwyg 02 Nov 03 - 07:03 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 03 Nov 03 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,pdc 03 Nov 03 - 11:36 AM
open mike 03 Nov 03 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,pdc 03 Nov 03 - 04:58 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 04 Nov 03 - 05:09 AM
wysiwyg 04 Nov 03 - 09:39 AM
Peter T. 04 Nov 03 - 10:37 AM
MMario 04 Nov 03 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,pdc 04 Nov 03 - 11:00 AM
Bardford 04 Nov 03 - 11:21 AM
kendall 04 Nov 03 - 12:12 PM
Raedwulf 04 Nov 03 - 08:04 PM
GUEST,pdc 04 Nov 03 - 09:14 PM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 05 Nov 03 - 11:47 AM
Amos 05 Nov 03 - 12:00 PM
Amos 05 Nov 03 - 12:03 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 05 Nov 03 - 02:20 PM
GUEST,pdc 05 Nov 03 - 03:34 PM
Raedwulf 05 Nov 03 - 06:22 PM
kendall 05 Nov 03 - 10:09 PM
GUEST,pdc 05 Nov 03 - 10:13 PM
GUEST,pdc 05 Nov 03 - 11:23 PM
katlaughing 05 Nov 03 - 11:41 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 06 Nov 03 - 06:14 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 06 Nov 03 - 06:17 AM
jaze 06 Nov 03 - 09:19 PM
GUEST,pdc 06 Nov 03 - 09:28 PM
katlaughing 06 Nov 03 - 09:53 PM
GUEST,pdc 07 Nov 03 - 11:56 AM
wysiwyg 07 Nov 03 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,pdc 07 Nov 03 - 04:16 PM
GUEST,Casual Observer 07 Nov 03 - 05:02 PM
Joybell 07 Nov 03 - 05:47 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 07 Nov 03 - 06:50 PM
Helen 08 Nov 03 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,Pistachio 08 Nov 03 - 10:56 AM
GUEST,pdc 08 Nov 03 - 11:40 AM
Joybell 08 Nov 03 - 05:22 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 08 Nov 03 - 06:02 PM
Joybell 08 Nov 03 - 06:31 PM
Helen 08 Nov 03 - 11:13 PM
bbc 09 Nov 03 - 04:51 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 10 Nov 03 - 05:30 AM
Cruiser 10 Nov 03 - 12:58 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 10 Nov 03 - 03:21 PM
Alba 10 Nov 03 - 03:32 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 11 Nov 03 - 01:33 PM
wysiwyg 11 Nov 03 - 02:03 PM
Helen 11 Nov 03 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,pdc 11 Nov 03 - 08:08 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 12 Nov 03 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,pdc 12 Nov 03 - 02:00 PM
Menolly 13 Nov 03 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,Jaze 13 Nov 03 - 08:48 PM
GUEST,pdc 13 Nov 03 - 09:55 PM
Deda 13 Nov 03 - 11:27 PM
Partridge 14 Nov 03 - 12:00 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 14 Nov 03 - 06:08 PM
jaze 15 Nov 03 - 05:38 PM
bbc 16 Nov 03 - 06:58 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 17 Nov 03 - 06:06 AM
Peg 17 Nov 03 - 04:19 PM
GUEST,pdc 18 Nov 03 - 07:56 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 19 Nov 03 - 05:36 AM
Menolly 19 Nov 03 - 10:00 AM
Amos 19 Nov 03 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,pdc 19 Nov 03 - 11:03 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 20 Nov 03 - 05:04 AM
GUEST,Guest. L 20 Nov 03 - 06:55 AM
Joybell 20 Nov 03 - 04:31 PM
GracieK 21 Nov 03 - 01:35 PM
YorkshireYankee 21 Nov 03 - 11:28 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 22 Nov 03 - 07:08 AM
YorkshireYankee 24 Nov 03 - 10:53 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 25 Nov 03 - 08:29 AM
Peg 25 Nov 03 - 09:03 AM
Joybell 25 Nov 03 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,pdc 25 Nov 03 - 04:28 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 25 Nov 03 - 05:26 PM
bbc 25 Nov 03 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,jaze 25 Nov 03 - 06:52 PM
YorkshireYankee 27 Nov 03 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,heather 27 Nov 03 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,pdc 27 Nov 03 - 06:43 PM
wysiwyg 27 Nov 03 - 07:02 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 27 Nov 03 - 07:43 PM
wysiwyg 02 Dec 03 - 09:10 AM
Raptor 02 Dec 03 - 10:38 PM
Jeri 03 Dec 03 - 02:56 PM
Menolly 03 Dec 03 - 04:23 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 03 Dec 03 - 07:10 PM
bbc 03 Dec 03 - 07:25 PM
GUEST,pdc 03 Dec 03 - 08:23 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 05 Dec 03 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,Mato Nupai 05 Dec 03 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,Mato Nupai 05 Dec 03 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,Mato Nupai 05 Dec 03 - 11:19 AM
Raptor 05 Dec 03 - 11:42 AM
wysiwyg 05 Dec 03 - 11:45 AM
Raptor 05 Dec 03 - 12:22 PM
jaze 05 Dec 03 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,Mato Nupai 05 Dec 03 - 08:06 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 06 Dec 03 - 01:29 PM
Little Hawk 06 Dec 03 - 06:46 PM
Escamillo 07 Dec 03 - 05:03 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 07 Dec 03 - 06:35 AM
jaze 11 Dec 03 - 10:23 PM
catspaw49 11 Dec 03 - 10:30 PM
Escamillo 12 Dec 03 - 05:04 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 12 Dec 03 - 06:05 AM
YorkshireYankee 14 Dec 03 - 10:47 PM
Two_bears 15 Dec 03 - 08:37 AM
*daylia* 15 Dec 03 - 09:14 AM
Helen 24 Dec 03 - 04:18 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 24 Dec 03 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,pdc 24 Dec 03 - 06:35 PM
GUEST,Pistachio 06 Jan 04 - 02:43 PM
Raptor 12 Jan 04 - 06:44 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 13 Jan 04 - 01:07 PM
Amergin 13 Jan 04 - 04:01 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 13 Jan 04 - 05:14 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 25 Jan 04 - 07:55 PM
Helen 25 Jan 04 - 10:22 PM
bbc 25 Jan 04 - 10:29 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 26 Jan 04 - 06:11 AM
Escamillo 27 Jan 04 - 03:37 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 27 Jan 04 - 06:16 AM
Pistachio 27 Jan 04 - 04:33 PM
kendall 27 Jan 04 - 07:06 PM
Amos 27 Jan 04 - 07:14 PM
jaze 27 Jan 04 - 09:22 PM
GUEST,pdc 27 Jan 04 - 11:54 PM
Raptor 28 Jan 04 - 10:18 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 28 Jan 04 - 01:04 PM
wysiwyg 28 Jan 04 - 11:30 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 29 Jan 04 - 06:03 AM
Raptor 29 Jan 04 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,Bereavement Store 12 Apr 04 - 10:08 AM
Amergin 12 Apr 04 - 02:17 PM
Helen 12 Apr 04 - 05:25 PM
wysiwyg 21 Apr 04 - 03:06 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 21 Apr 04 - 06:45 PM
wysiwyg 21 Apr 04 - 07:06 PM
Escamillo 22 Apr 04 - 03:39 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 22 Apr 04 - 06:38 AM
wysiwyg 08 Sep 04 - 09:07 AM
wysiwyg 08 Sep 04 - 09:32 AM
Kim C 08 Sep 04 - 10:59 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 08 Sep 04 - 11:56 AM
LilyFestre 08 Sep 04 - 04:21 PM
wysiwyg 08 Sep 04 - 04:53 PM
wysiwyg 13 Feb 11 - 09:51 AM
jacqui.c 13 Feb 11 - 11:28 AM
Ebbie 13 Feb 11 - 01:00 PM
Bill D 13 Feb 11 - 01:43 PM
wysiwyg 13 Feb 11 - 01:44 PM
mouldy 13 Feb 11 - 03:16 PM
wysiwyg 13 Feb 11 - 06:53 PM
jacqui.c 13 Feb 11 - 07:07 PM
mouldy 14 Feb 11 - 03:02 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 14 Feb 11 - 08:04 AM
wysiwyg 02 Apr 12 - 07:40 PM
gnu 02 Apr 12 - 07:47 PM
ranger1 02 Apr 12 - 09:43 PM
Janie 02 Apr 12 - 10:31 PM
VirginiaTam 03 Apr 12 - 12:17 PM
catspaw49 03 Apr 12 - 12:27 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 07 May 12 - 10:29 AM
mouldy 07 May 12 - 12:36 PM
wysiwyg 12 May 12 - 10:41 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 13 May 12 - 07:28 AM
wysiwyg 26 Nov 13 - 07:16 AM
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Subject: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 08:34 AM

Have you experienced it? How do you get through the first weeks? I need to hear from others since this is a completely new planet I'm living on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: fiddler
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 08:45 AM

Various levels! parent to friends and other family mebers - it never gets easier but that trite old saying - You can always remember the happy times!

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: InOBU
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 08:51 AM

More than remembering the happy times, there comes a time when all that the one you don't have near you, you realize is always with you. You know just what they would have said or done in any curcumstance, and you realize how much that person lives in you. For over a year after my father died I would reach for the phone to call him, then when I stopped doing that, I realized I was "calling" him inwardly and instead of the feeling that he was not answering the phone - there was his voice with his dry wit or wisdom, right there as part of me.
It gets more than better, having had that person in your life becomes comforting.
Holding you in the light
Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 09:11 AM

Animaterra-

We all find our ways of dealing with the loss of a loved one, sometimes more successfully than others. I try to keep very busy "tidying things up," sending out information to friends and relatives, planning a "Remembrance Event." I'm not sure how I'll feel when I run out of things to keep busy with, but I'm hoping that enough time will have passed to ease the pain.

I hope you have friends or relatives who are helpful.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Amos
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 09:15 AM

Communicate with him as though he were connected and hearing you, which he might well be, loving you as he did.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: jacqui.c
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 09:29 AM

Try and find people who won't be afraid of talking about the person. So many folk nowadays seem to be embarrassed by even mentioning the name, but, so I am told by friends in this situation, sometimes it's just nice to talk about the things they've said and done, to reminisce on good and bad times. They do live on in us - I still think about a friend's daughter who died of leukeamia four years ago and her memory brings a smile to my face. Her parents and I still swop stories about 'the little thug' and I don't feel that she will ever really go away. Don't worry about showing your feelings if you need to. Real friends will understand and accept.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Kim C no cookie
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 10:20 AM

I don't think I could say it any better than Larry did. That is exactly how I feel about my dad.

I also don't believe there's any cut-and-dried way to deal with it. Everyone has their own way. Psychologists will tell you this and that, but we are all different. You do what you have to do to take care of yourself, and don't worry about the rest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 10:37 AM

There were some helpful answers posted to this thread. This is a very generous group when it comes to helping others find just the right nuance in a song to help you through the grieving, so I hope you'll benefit from these earlier expressions of sad longing. Good luck.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Deckman
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 10:46 AM

Hold on tight and get ready for a ride. Try not to deny it. Give into it fully when the time and place is right. Above, don't over expect anything of yourself for a while. Lighten your load. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 10:54 AM

Deckman's advice is, I believe, exactly right. You can't prevent or delay grieving: it has to happen, and you really must give in to it. I made the error of trying to keep busy and distracted when I had a terrible loss, and all that did was repress what really had to come out. Give in to the awful sadness and let yourself cry -- tears honour the one you lost, and help ease the horrible ache, at least for a while.

Tears for the present ache, time for the permanent ache, which does become bearable, I promise.

And if you can, find someone willing to talk about the person you loved, talking helps to make the loss real.

I'm so sorry for your loss.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 11:03 AM

all I can do is ask myself "what would my loved one LIKE me to do if they could tell me?" ...and the answer keeps coming back, "always remember me, but go on living and do good & wonderful things"....and that is what I would tell THEM, if the situation were reversed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 11:12 AM

Call those friends, Allison, the ones who said they'd be available. Knowing you and your connection with them through music, I am sure they meant it. I know there is great difficulty in just doing it, but try baby steps for a little bit and count each one as a victory. Even one thing per day is to be counted. And, most of all don't be embarrassed by your need to really grieve, tears, wailing and all. And, know there is no time limit...our society needs to allow time to grieve and to honour it.

If you have a little bit of rose quartz, I would keep it near, if I were you. It's a good stone to protect a wounded heart, imo.

My mom passed on four years ago and I still cry out to her and talk to her quite often. Sometimes she answers.:-)

Be gentle with yourself, darlin'....

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: SINSULL
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 11:16 AM

Disbelief, Sorrow, Anger, Guilt, etc. Feel them all. Work them through. And get on with living. Scream and cry when you need to, love. You can only hold it in for so long and it will prolong the agony.
Talk about it to friends and family. Some will tire of listening. Stick with the ones who don't. You are a beautiful, generous, loving woman. I was happy for you when you found the love you deserve. I am so sorry you didn't get to share it longer. But treasure it and don't allow your loss to make you bitter.
When you are ready, get away for a while. There is always a place for you and your family in Maine.
Mary


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 11:18 AM

I've had a couple in my life - the first when I was 9, the latest only a few months ago, all at varying stages of distance, but at least 3 were family members. There have also been a few partings, which, although the person has not died, the relationship we shared previously, has. That's an even harder parting to come to terms with.

It definately helped to have someone around to whom I could talk about the person, they didn't have to know them, and in fact, in a couple of cases, it was better that they didn't.

It is alright to remember the bad things as well. It's one of the things that remind us the absentee was human and to admit that to yourself is a great part of 'the healing process'. (That's a nasty, horrid, trite little phrase, but valid - I hate it because it implies a beginning and an end - there is an end eventually, sometimes it takes years to find that end, and some people never really do). That process has already been described by many people who've posted here already. Learning to manage the bad bits is very difficult, but rose tinted glasses only make the truth harder to cope with in the end. To paraphrase from, of all things, Flash Gordon - it won't make you forget, but it will make remembering more bearable.

It's very easy now, to bury yourself in something, to be very busy and to keep putting off the hard facts you have to deal with. One day, probably in about 6 months time, the average person who has been sympathetic and supportive now, will probably fade away and you'll be left alone. That's when it will hit hardest. When you no longer have anything to distance you from it, and when your supporters are thinking you've got over it. Remember that we are always here, and you should know by now that we're a pretty supportive bunch of loonies.

Take care, and look after yourself

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 11:29 AM

I lost both parents in the last two years, and it still hurts like an open wound. Nothing prepares you for it. Nothing.

I think the idea of a new planet is akin to my experience: it is a new landscape, darker, something like walking through the negative of a photo of a landscape, while everyone else is walking through the positive of the photo of the landscape. The hardest part is the primitive part, I think. It depends of course on how well you and your loved one handled living and dying, but in talking to other people, many of them still feel different kinds of guilt. It doesn't matter what your conscious brain thinks: but it helps to bring them out into the open, and look at them, and think about them. One of the guilts is the feeling that you killed the person who died. It is deeply primitive, and one fights it, but there it is. A related guilt is that you are alive and they are dead. How dare I be alive while they are dead? By what right do I see the sky and they don't? There are other guilts, but those are the most primitive. Another one is the endlessly replayed idea that I could have done something more, something else. Even now, I have to stop myself thinking, what can I do for them to help? That is I think why they invented praying for people in Purgatory -- to salve that feeling that I should still be doing something for them, even though they are beyond my help.

Something else that happens is a new kind of fear -- I liken it to the moment in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers when the man yells at everyone -- Don't you know what is happening!! You feel in possession of a new truth, and that is that people die (in spite of the fact that everyone says they know it) and it is very frightening. As if you were a messenger from a different realm, bringing terrible news to everyone, news that they must hear, but that will kill them if they really hear it. You carry it around, like some poison vial: as if you would break open at any moment, and spread what you now know around.

Another strange thing is that things happen inside you that you have no ability to control. You simply start crying for no reason, out of the blue, in the middle of other things.

The worst, I think, is the dreams. Unless they are good dreams, they haunt you. They are true hauntings. They are not assimilateable like other dreams, they stop you cold, and I mean cold.

That may not resonate with you, but that is one person's report from the exploration of the new landscape you wander through, the valley of death.


yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 11:31 AM

Keeping a journal in which you write to the late loved one also helps a lot. So much left is always left unsaid, and you'll be surprised at the answers you discover in yourself and those you get back. Really. Like Kat said, you will hear back if you are listening.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Mooh
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 11:45 AM

I've never lost any family suddenly. In every case it wasn't a surprise. Nana, aunts, Dad, were all forseen and I accept their passing after lives well lived. However, when my sister died after suffering horribly from cancer, not yet fifty years old, I had to accept a different kind of loss. I loved her deeply and I wish I could turn that into acceptance but it still brings about all those involuntary responses to grief we wish we could control. But...

It IS diminishing, slowly the hurt and sadness is passing, and slowly it is replaced with the love and appreciation I always had for her. The bad things are forced slowly out of my mind by the good things, which were many. The same will happen for you.

For me the operative words are slowly, love, and acceptance. They are working for me and I believe they will work for you too.Trouble is that grief is extremely impatient, the days passing more slowly than otherwise. I beat this by paying tribute with good works, volunteerism, and FAITH that we will meet again.

It is cliche to say that death is a part of life, and not at all comforting I know. But, one doesn't become fully wise until one has experienced grief brought on this way. It is a test of personal strength and endurance, and you will pass the test like every generation before you.

The first few weeks I fought back by defying rather than denying, by contributing rather than surrendering, comforting rather than demanding comfort. It was hard, but it worked. These things were therapy themselves.

Be good to yourself and remember there are others to draw strength from, like your friends here.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Amos
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 11:57 AM

The most important thing is resolving the undelivered communications, and being willing to experience what comes up to be felt. Doing those two things well will see you though.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 12:04 PM

And, don't forget that it is okay to have a smile about something, even if it's just a flower which pops up in your path or some other little thing. Though grieving is so important, I think we have to allow some leavening by being open to small giggles/smiles once in awhile...without guilt. If you can allow a smile to come through it will remind your heart of the better times and help you turn towards morning as the song says.:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Mickey191
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 12:27 PM

Allison, I'm so sorry for the loss of your beloved Byron. My heart goes out to you and feels your loss.
My feeling is that each person must deal with grief in his own way. There is no universal remedy to ameliorate the pain. Tears and talking helped me.

My beloved husband Jim, will be dead 10 years in December.   There are times it feels as raw & hurtful as the first day. There are times when it feels as though I've been alone for a hundred years.

He was simply the best person I've ever known, with all that that encompasses. We had no children and were married 34 years. He went out one day to a Dr.'s app't. and never came back. He was killed in an auto accident. The single, most devastating event in my life. Between us, all of our family had passed -except his one brother. So I was on my own, with the exception of a few friends.

Those first few weeks brought nothing but tears-don't try to stop them. Someone said above Tears honor the dead. There were many things I did which were not applicable to your situation--I kept going to the car, The people who lived in the area-a construction crew nearby who came to his aid. All in an effort to findout who drove him off the road. I put a wreath up and it was stolen the next day. I ranted. I raved. I survived.

I kept a tape recorder diary from day 4, just talking about him & the every day things. When I hear it now--it sounds like someone else. I kept that going for 1 1/2 years. Week by week There was an almost imperceptable change. I was getting a bit stronger, more in control The hurt,the emptiness was ever present. I still had to force myself to get out of bed in the morning.

The one thing I did which I regret-I had too much alone time. I did cut myself off from friends. I did have one girlfriend who called me every single night for over two years. You must allow people to help you-they want to share & ease your burden.

You may find that your one source of comfort is just to speak about him--to share your memories. That is still true for me. Recalling something we'd shared, I said to someone the other day, Jim is still making me laugh. When I hear something funny, I can hear his laughter.

Allison, truly, the only thing that will help you deal with this tremendous loss is time. There is nothing else that I know of to ease the pain. You were given the gift and the burden, to be there when he passed. In times to come you will know that was truly a blessing. I wish I'd been with my husband - a million times I've had that thought.

There are still times when I awaken in the morning, and think for one instant- Jim's in the kitchen. Then I realize - and I have to bury him all over again. It doesn't happen as often as before. The passage of time is a healer, and the knowledge that you and Byron shared a most special love. Some people never have that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Desdemona
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 06:06 PM

Even though it might feel like a lot of work to get out and talk to people (or even to answer the telephone), don't allow yourself to become isolated in your grief. These are the times when the people who love and care for you want desperately to be there for you in whatever helpful way they can, and you should allow them to do so. Talk & talk & talk (or not, if that's not your style), don't stop doing things that you enjoyed together, and give yourself a break: the best (and hardest to follow) advice I ever got was to give yourself permission to have your feelings. They may be hideously painful and difficult but they are honest and they are yours...they won't go away by ignoring them, and there's no timetable for the human heart.

I'm thinking of you & sending a good thought in this hardest of times.

D.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 06:48 PM

Thanks, my friends. I am talking, and I am spending time with friends, although many of them are caught up in their own lives and are just plain busy. There's a small cadre of friends who loved Byron too and are shattered by his death; musicians who had just formed a group with him who are now without focus or vision. We cling to each other, spend as much time as we can together, cry together.

I am indeed learning that this isn't something I'll "get over"- ever. The thing that saddens me most is how cheated I feel- we finally had found each other, and in less than 2 years he's gone. What's the point of that?

I'm back to teaching music, and it's so hard, putting on my "teacher persona" for 7 hours a day, especially Halloween week. I'm not doing my usual "ghosts and graveyards" stuff, just some sweet minor tunes that I can tolerate. But by the end of the day I feel like one whose fingers are just barely clinging to the edge of the cliff.

So I just wanted to hear from you Wise Catters about your experiences, and it does help.
Thanks,

Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Deckman
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 06:57 PM

Please know this .... IT WILL GET BETTER! Bob


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Jeri
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 06:59 PM

My mom was in the hospital quite a while before she died. I then had the task of packing up all the stuff in the house. It took me forever. I opened photo albums and had to look at all the pictures and try to remember that time. I read her writings and the letters I'd sent to her and she'd kept. I think I was pushing the unpleasant recent memories into the past, and trying to make the older, happy ones stronger.

My dad died suddenly when I was 17. I just remember knowing I only had to get through life for a while and things would eventually start to look brighter, but it didn't make that horrible time any easier to bear. My best friend gave me a paint-by-numbers set. I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to be insulted - we both did real oil painting. One day, I got the set out and started painting and realized how wise my friend had been. It kept my hands busy and my mind had to concentrate on the simple task of staying withing the lines and using the correct tiny pot of color. While I painted, my thoughts became calmer.

I wasn't avoiding thinking about my dad. That's all I COULD think about most of the time. The painting just interrupted that cycle of thought I felt trapped in. Maybe with you it's sewing, knitting, cleaning, learning a new tune, or anything else that's easy but still requires concentration.

Love,
Jeri


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Joybell
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 07:23 PM

Allison, Just wanted to say that your new friend is here for you too. My heart goes out to you and my thoughts are with you. I wish there was more we could do to help ease the pain. The knitting song, with the angels, goes around in my head as I think of you. Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: kendall
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 07:28 PM

I wish I had some words of comfort, but, I have never learned to live with loss. The only comfort I find is in being quite sure we will all meet again in the spirit world on the other side of the veil. Byron is not dead, he has gone on ahead, and he's waiting for you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Mickey191
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 09:54 PM

Allison, The two years were God's Gift to each of you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 10:18 PM

May a stranger suggest that you talk about it here? When my daughter committed suicide 5 years ago, I was unable to talk to most people about it because the feelings I had were too horrible to express face to face. If I'd had an outlet like this one, it might have helped.

I hope I'm not out of line making suggestions -- although we are strangers, I truly, honestly know the pain you are going through.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Rich(bodhránai gan ciall)
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 10:41 PM

As has been said before, get ready for one hell of a ride. There'll be the song on the radio, the joke that your departed loved one would have loved, the perfect Christmas gift in a store window, the old movie you used to like to watch together...a million reminders blindsiding you from every direction.. At first they'll be heart-wrenching kicks in the chest.

With time I've come to think of them as visits from my relations and friends. I love to be reminded of my mother, grandparents and old friends. But it takes time.

If it's any comfort, remember that the loss is yours, not your loved one's. No matter what faith you may believe in, they're in a better place.

Most importantly, feel the pain and grow through it. Accept that feelings are just that, feelings. They're not right or wrong, they just are. And there are hundreds of them; anger, guilt, abandonment, remorse, shock, disbelief, loss; last of all, acceptance. You must feel them as they come.

Lastly, PLEASE don't bury them under a stiff upper lip or in a bottle. It only prolongs the grieving process.

I'm terribly sorry for your loss and hope you find peace soon. You'll be in my prayers

Rich


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Joybell
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 12:06 AM

Guest pdc, So well said. I'm rather new here too and I am sure you are quite right. I completely agree. Allison we are all here with you, old friends and new ones. Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: mouldy
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 03:48 AM

I still cry for my mum, after over 2 years, but now it's only occasionally, and only if something triggers it, or I'm overtired and feeling stressed. I realised after she'd gone (she died suddenly, too) that I was also grieving for my father who died 18 years ago. A month after he died we moved from a flat to a house. A month after that, I found I was pregnant with #3. I don't think I allowed myself time to deal with it properly then. I suppose I feel a bit guilty about that now, but it is getting better all the time. (I have apologised to him!)

My eldest niece died rather nastily from alcoholism about 5 years ago, at the age of 31, leaving a husband and 5 year old daughter. Her mother admits that she hasn't been able to grieve properly because the strain of Sarah's illness made my diabetic brother-in-law ill long-term with all sorts of complications (he's starting to get right again now, and seems very positive), and Janet had to be strong for both of them. She used to sneak off into the cellar on her own to weep, so that he didn't see her and get depressed himself.

Everything that has been said already holds true. Don't be ashamed to cry. Or shout. Or kick the furniture. Friends understand, sometimes better than family, who may be trying to cope themselves, because they are that one step removed from the raw grief. Everybody copes in their own way. I have seen some people get very low about 6 months after the event, mainly after the loss of a partner, and when all the fuss and open sympathy seems to fall away. Life has supposedly started to return to normal. This may be when friends can play their part. If you get low - phone a friend!

All sorts of silly things will set you off, often when you least expect it. Just go with it, and tick off each milestone as you pass it.

You are in the lucky position of having many, many people who you can talk to, either privately, or in the open, as here. Some know what you are feeling, and how the process will probably run, because they are or have been there themselves. Others will provide a sympathetic ear, just because it is their nature. We all have to deal with loss in our lives. Sometimes it is a bit easier because it follows the "natural order" - parents before children, partners after a long life together and at a ripe old age; likewise with siblings and friends. When this natural order is upset by premature death, then your mind has a bit more work to do to accept things as they are. With that acceptance as part of the process, things have a good chance of getting better gradually. But allow things to go at their own pace, and let each issue resolve at its own rate.

Go well

Andrea


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 04:57 AM

All of this is so helpful. Yes, I know I need to face my feelings and talk about them (no one's ever been able to shut me up before, so why start now?). And I'm aware that this is going to take time, and it's so new and raw I can't imagine getting through day after day.

I used to weep in Byron's arms about my difficult, draining work. I would wail, "how can I get through the next 13 years (till retirement)???. He would hold me, and let me cry, then he would say, "You don't have to get through the next 13 years. You only have to get through this moment now."


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: kendall
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 08:17 AM

A wise man indeed!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Janie
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 08:42 AM

After our sister died there were times when the pain felt absolutely overwhelming--those were scary times. But as many here have already said, somehow I survived it and eventually it eased. Realizing that I was going through a universal experience helped, as did talking and crying with others who loved her. At those times when the pain and reality of her death were just too much to bear, I very consciously redirected my thoughts to something else, especially when I was alone.

Many of us hold you in our hearts, and many who love you are there to hold you up when you feel like you can't go on by yourself.

Peace and compassion,

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Kim C no cookie
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 12:35 PM

My dad lived a long life, and he was one of the most real people I have ever known. In the last few years he'd had several health issues, and some previous brushes with death, so everytime the phone rang, I had that little streak of panic go through me. Then when it rang that morning at 3:30, I knew. He had died by the time we got to the hospital, 90 minutes away, but I wasn't broken up about that. I had talked to him the week before, we had a good conversation, and the last thing we said was I love you. There was no unfinished business between us, and I took comfort in that. I was sad that he was gone, but I was at peace with it.

Rich mentioned those triggers.... three weeks after my father died, it was my birthday. I came home from work that day, all gloomy, and when Mister asked me what was wrong, I just started to bawl. My daddy's not going to call me on my birthday. He's not going to call me, he's not going to send me a card. Ever again.

It was the Ever Again that got to me. I went up to take a nap and didn't wake until after 10pm. But after that, I started to feel less bad.

Three years later, though, I still find myself flipping through catalogs and thinking, wow, Dad would really like this. Or I'll catch myself thinking, I need to call Dad and tell him about this.

There are always lots of things I want to tell him about. But somehow, I think he knows.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Deckman
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 01:04 PM

I would like to echo what Kim C has just posted. Both my parents passed on last year. I was very close to my Father, who died at 94. I visited him in the nursing home daily. I was holding his hand when he went. I actually saw his spirit leave.

As there was NOTHING left unsaid between us, my grieving was comfotable. Today, almost one year later, I miss him terribly and I am overcome at times.

I expect that your loss and bereavement will be difficult, because it was so sudden and unexpected, I gather. You might consider a special, and private, ceremony where you can deal with, and state, all those unsaid things.

Hope this helps. Bob


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 04:22 PM

Let's keep this thread going, to do some good if possible.

I found that grief came in waves, a great overwhelming rush of feeling that left me sobbing helplessly, and eventually receded to the usual hollow ache. It turned out that these waves of feeling were necessary to help me cope with just getting through the day. I hope you have a place where you can let go privately. And while I don't want to presume to offer advice, I can say from experience - don't fight it, let it happen.

Having been through the terrible pain of loss and survived, I find this thread bringing tears to my eyes, and wishing I could bear your pain for you, knowing that it eventually eases.

My heart, and many others, are with you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 04:42 PM

AT some point, Allison, a guided imagery tape may help. I have been working with one for my heart and the woman who does it warns at the beginning that it may bring up some deep emotions. She goes on to reassure that it is good and to let them come forth.

I've always been pretty good at that, so was very surprised one day. I was lying on my bed listening to the tape, going into a meditative state when the narrator got to a particular part where one is to envision all of the love they have ever received in life, to remember all those who have loved them, love them now and may love them in the future. The love is to be visualised as a cushion, enveloping the person. I was zipping right along when it suddenly hit me...my mother's love. I began to sob uncontrollably, crying out, "Oh, Mama," over and over. It was as though she'd just passed, when it had really been four years. I realised I was not done, and never will be done, missing her, but I did feel a lot better after releasing that.

pdc, I agree, this si a good one to keep going. What is that saying, I know Big Mick has posted it before, something about joy shared is doubled, sorrow shared is halved? Something like that. Together we have some pretty broad shoulders for one another.

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 05:00 PM

Here's one version of it, said to be a Swedish proverb:

Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.

I think Mick put it better, though, I can't find it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Mr Red
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 06:28 PM

As out dear departed Queen mother said "It doesn't necesarilly get better - you get better at it"

I lived with bereavement for 26 years - my father died when I was 9 months old and for maybe 12 of theose years I never knew what it was - mothers grieving. I have lived with two widows (mother and more recently another) and I have to say it is better out and discussed than in and left to cannonise. The old adage about "not having feet of clay" is relevant.
To grieve you must have had something worth having - and that is a memory that should never fade. OK PAL - get better at it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 06:53 PM

From Nov. 2000, comes this beautiful posting of Night Owl's:

GRIEF

A cut finger
Is numb before it bleeds
Bleeds before it hurts
Hurts before it begins to heal
Forms a scab and itches
Until finally........
The scab is gone
And a small scar is left
Where once there was a wound

Grief is the deepest wound
You have ever had

Like a cut finger
It goes through stages
And leaves a scar.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: jaze
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 08:02 PM

Allison, so much good advice above. Mickey 191 had a good point. Talk to us whenever you need to . We'll be here for you. When my daughter died 3 years ago I was just beginning to post here(as a guest). I shared my sorrow with this group and beleive me, you all helped more than you'll ever know. The human contact of knowing there are people who genuinely care,even people you may have never met, will soothe your soul. Someone gave me a "Pocket Angel"- alittle pewter medal with and angel on it. I have kept that in my pocket these 3 years. Whenever I think of Julia, I reach in my pocket and touch it. I'm very attached to it and it is comforting. It does get better, it really does. I can now think of her without my throat and chest tightening or automatic tears. I can think of her and smile and laugh at things she did. Hang in there. We're all here for you. James


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Amergin
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 08:32 PM

Allison...

i don't have much to add....as everything has always been done...just find the comfort in music...and in poetry...it has always helped me....try writing out your grief in ways...write about the things you remember...the things you loved...in poetry or various essays...even in songs...

i wrote this after my cousin Sue suddenly died of a heart attaack...

empty chair


A voice gone quiet an empty chair
Sunlight filters through the curtains
Tears slowly drips down the cheeks
As eyes stare at the empty chair...


A silvery form shines in the sunlight
Sitting in the vacant cushions
Forever watching over those
She had to leave behind


Hands clasp with the shimmering shade
As paths entwine once more
Feet dancing in the roads
As hearts beat together in remembrance

nt


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 09:13 PM

Another thing that my surviving daughter found useful was to write a letter to her sister. That didn't help me at all, only my daughter - but it might also help you a bit. I hope so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 29 Oct 03 - 05:33 AM

Such warmth and love from you all, such good advice. Thank you so much!
Yes, I'm talking and weeping daily. Yes, I'm writing to him in a journal that I've almost filled in the 24 days since he died (getting a new one today!). My friends don't check in as much, as they are back in their busy lives, but I'm trying to call when I need to.
Jaze, I have a pocket angel, too, and a story to go with it. Last weekend I found myself at an estate jewelry counter, looking at a garnet ring I'd been eyeing for some time (garnet is his birthstone). I had been waiting for the right moment to tell Byron about it, in hopes that I might wear it as a sign of our commitment to each other, but I never brought it up. This time I found myself buying it for myself- it fits perfectly.
The sales clerk was cheery and trying to banter with me, but I wasn't biting. As I turned to leave after paying for the ring, she suddenly reached into a basket next to the register and handed me a pocket angel, saying, "Here- you need this!"
(Later that evening Byron's music partner paid me the amount owned Byron for his last gig. Thanks for the ring, Byron!)
I don't leave the house without my angel.
Blessings, everyone,
Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Joybell
Date: 29 Oct 03 - 06:12 AM

I found a little glittery silver angel lying on the path outside the hospital where I had just had the operation that will prevent me dying of the cancer that killed my mother 30 years ago. I keep my angel to remind me of my mother and as a good luck sign.
So good you have your own angel Allison.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 Oct 03 - 11:24 AM

Native American flute music played by Elaine Belsley of Morton, Illinois. Beautiful, healing. Hear it at VOICES ACROSS AMERICA.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 29 Oct 03 - 06:01 PM

I would still like to keep this thread from sliding away. Allison will be in shock and mourning right now, and may not be able to post often, but I would like to see the thread available to her when she can, so let's keep it up.

I find that even five years later (next January 28th), I want to sit and mourn my daughter because it is the only way I can feel close to her now. Sometimes I look at pictures of her, but that doesn't work as well as just bringing her into my mind, as the pictures are now frozen in time. Grieving, which brings me close to her again, is so important, because I miss her desperately, and am going through life with a huge ache.

That's not every day, of course, and I don't want Allison to think that the grief doesn't lessen. I laugh, dance, sing (badly), and take all that life offers. But sometimes I have to stop and be close to her again for a while.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Animaterra-at-work
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 12:02 PM

Well, yesterday I was wearing dress pants with those stupid "girl pockets" that aren't worth anything, and I've lost my pocket angel. Funnily, I'm not as shattered by it as I would have been even a week ago. But I do miss it.
My son drove off today forgetting something important I'd asked him to bring into school for someone. I went sprinting down the driveway after him, waving and shouting. But he drove off, not hearing or seeing me. I burst into tears, realizing as I did that here was yet another man, taking off without me, leaving me in the dust. My dad left when I was young, my marriage crumbled several years ago, and my soul mate has died, although if he could have stayed he would have. It's hard not to feel abandoned.

Thanks to all for your love and care. I'm grateful for this place of safety.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 12:32 PM

Allison, of course you feel abandoned -- how perfectly understandable that is, especially when you have no choices to make (for now) that will make you feel less alone. For a while, you will see all sorts of issues in terms of being alone, even though you still have people in your life who matter, like your son.

If you don't mind me asking, are you driving a car? I didn't know until quite a lot later that I shouldn't have been driving when the shock and grief were new. I honestly don't know how I drove without an accident, because I couldn't focus at all, and didn't realize that I couldn't. So please be careful --

The hearts and minds of many people are with you; you are much less alone than you feel.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 12:50 PM

Yes, I am driving, since I'm a single mom who lives 12 miles from the town where I work. I'm very aware while driving of the effort it takes to focus, but I have no choice.

Thanks for your kind thoughts and words.

Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 12:57 PM

My father died when I was 14, my first husband died just nine weeks after the birth of our third child (Little Duckling)and I lost my mother 2 years later. Mouldy is right when she said that on each occasion something of the grief for the loss of the others also resurfaced. There are no right or wrong ways to deal with bereavement. When Steve died I had a young baby to care for and soon after a sick parent so I really didn't have time to grieve properly. I met Geoff only weeks before my mothers death and having him around made it so much easier to just let go and let all the accumulated grief pour out. I'm not sure if it ever goes away just sits in the background waiting for some little thing to spark it off again - a movie, a song a chance remark. But there is also a warmth in the memories and you will find that you will be able to smile through the tears. Events and anniversaries are hard to deal with. On my birthday after Steve died I went out and bought myself a present - a gold locket in which I put a photo of him and told myself it was his gift to me. After a friends husband died last year I told her what I'd done when her birthday arrived and she did the same and agreed that it gave her some comfort.
You obviously have a lot of friends that love you so take comfort from then and it WILL get easier.
Jane


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Wesley S
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 02:20 PM

Allison - I've sorry I haven't checked in earlier - and I hope you're doing as well as can be expected. After my son and mother died 6 weeks apart from each other I know I was a wreck. I found emotional land mines waiting weeks and months and years later. It's been almost three years now and I still look at my son Brendan and wonder what he {they} would be like if his twin had survived.

We're both lucky in that we have friends both here and in the 3-D world that will talk to us when we need it and be silent with us when we need that too. Please feel free to PM me anytime you need to talk {or rant} to someone outside of your normal circle.

It helped me to have a project to work on - it sounds like you have some too. Something long term that may never really be finished. One of the last charitable contributions my mother made was some cash so that my wife and I could buy books for a Christmas party our church gives to some kids from the local "projects". We continue that tradition today. And I always think of my mom when we're at the local Barnes and Nobel buying boxes of books. There are other but that will give you the idea.

Take care of both your mind and your body and contact me whenever you need to. Wesley


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 06:57 PM

(Just home from the grocery-store-from-hell)
It's true- every little thing sets me off.
Someone's cell phone rings? He'll never call me again.
Turkey bacon on sale? We'll never have our leisurely weekend breakfasts again.
Some local issue in the news that always drove him crazy? I'll never hear his soapbox speech again (to an audience of one- me).
Weird noise in the car? Faucet dripping? Household handy chore undone? Where's my dear handyman?

It's said that God never gives us what we cannot bear. I don't believe it any more.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 07:25 PM

I understand exactly, Allison. It's like a thousand individual cuts a day, each of them drawing blood. Believe it or not, these awful little incidents and thoughts are necessary, to make your loss real. You "know" about your loss in your mind, but in your heart it still doesn't feel final, does it? Every repetition of those horrid little cuts reinforces what you need to accept. But it's hard, damn it's hard to go through it.

If you want to e-mail me privately at any time, I have an account set up as "trypdc@hotmail.com" I would welcome you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Jaze
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 07:49 PM

Hang in there Allison. It's hard in the beginning. Wondering why everyone is going around acting like there's nothing differnt when your world has completely changed. Why can't they see it? I know that feeling. I too questioned God and that whole thing of not giving you more than you can bear. He's got some serious explaining to do when we meet! I once lost my ppcket angel in the couch. It had fallen out of my pocket. I nearly tore that thing apart until I found it. Keep posting here and talking to us. We'll go through this with you. At my daughter's funeral, the "hippie priest" said that this is a burden we would not have to carry alone- there are others who will walk with you and remember with you. Those were very wise words and also true. James


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 10:00 PM

I don't think it's true either, Allison. What I think IS true is that He doesn't give it to us, but that He stands with us in everything, and offers his unending strength to help bear what we cannot bear alone... and that each time we draw on that strength, we receive blessings so rich that they are what we keep forever from the experience, not the hurt.

I've PMed you about my own loss... well, I came to a day in my own immature faith when I heard someone going on about giving ourselves to God. (It was a preacher I had come to grudgingly respect.) I wanted to respond wiht a gift, I really did, even though I felt like doing the opposite. All I had to give was pain... it was all I HAD at that time, and I had.... so much. So I said rather defiantly one day, "OK, if you want me to give You all of myself, I give you my pain." I thought, what a shitty gift to give. So I was thoroughly surprised when the answer came. It was, "Thank you, so much. It's very precious to me. It is exacly what I most wanted from you and I treasure it." I'm still thinking about that one, but I became a new person by giving that gift, and now I have joy to give instead, most of the time, and tasks he sets me, I give those too.

Sometimes I think what I gave was my willingness to FEEL, my being in pain because I had not chosen to just numb out... and that this willingness to feel led me to be open to Him from then on.

I don't know where you are in your spiritual journey right now-- wouldn't presume to know. But you asked us what has helped us in our own times, and that's what I can share. I want you to know I have been admiring your loud protest about this loss, your heaven-wide scream that it hurts, that it's awful, that he was who he was and should not be gone. That's how I "hear" you in my heart. I admire it. A man such as you describe could not pass from our world without someone who knew him well making a Very Big Deal about it. The stars should scream, it's such a loss. I admire you giving it voice.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 01:07 PM

Thanks againk everyone. This is keeping me going for now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: SINSULL
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 02:41 PM

Everything you are feeling is right, Allison.I wish I could make it all go away but I can't. I do know that I am not the only one crying with you. You have friends who love you. Hang on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Deda
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 10:11 PM

Dear Allison,

Give yourself permission to be a basket case. Try not to pass judgment on yourself or your process. Let the grief, sorrow, abandonment, anger, whatever it is, flow right through you without resisting it, when you can (not when you're driving or teaching, because this requires that you have no distractions). When you have some quiet time, let it in, let it be as big and bad as it can, let it give you its worst -- and it will flow through you, and it will hurt, and then, if you really don't fight it, it will diminish, and diminish, and diminish.

Here is a poem I wrote after my mother's death in '87. She had emphyzema, and had been on oxygen, and going in and out of hospitals for so long that I somehow thought she was never going to die, she was just going to by "dying" forever.

After Death

Since you died, I have woken every day.
That has been the hardest part, that instant
When you have to be deadened again --
Not killed, but given back to death.
I smother that hopeful sense
That clings to me from sleep.
I send you back across, or I cross, myself,
The swirling black that swims around the dream.

This is only a matter of seconds.
Then the day proceeds.
This is the real work of the day.
The rest, routine.

Blessings,
Rebecca


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Ebbie
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 10:14 PM

Allison, I too am glad you are reaching out. I think it's so much healthier than the instinct for isolation and rumination. Eventually you will discover a strong network of support that will stay with you for life. I wish I had wise words for loss and grief, but it seems like sometimes things are just what they are and must be dealt with as they are.

Susan, thank you for your moving anecdote.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: mg
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 11:03 PM

I am so sorry for your loss and hope you feel better with time. If you are inclined, I wonder if massage would be good now...also aromatherapy..rose in particular is supposed to be good for grief..there is someone I know via internet who runs a company called Anatolian Treasures and his rose oil from Turkey is said to be very fine..he sells in very small quantities..I wish I could get some for you but I can't right now...but take care...mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: open mike
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 11:51 PM

I think your pocket angel may be a gift to someone else
who might find it and be cheered!

I do not know if i have said this bbefore,
but as i spent time with my mother as she
lay dying, i read the tibetan book of the
living and dying, and also Ram Dass' book
Still Here. I received some vewry helpful
info from both.
one thing i learned is that leaving the
body can bring a feeling of relief, like
taking off a tight shoe.

when cleaning out mom's desk i found this
poem which seemed quite cosmic to me, as
the image of bare feet came up again...

THEY SOFTLY WALK
They are not gone who pass
Beyond the clasp of the hand,
Out from the strong embrace.
They are but come so close
We need not grope with hands,
Nor look to see, nor try
To catch the sound of feet.
Tehy have put off their shoes
Softly to walk by day
Within our thoughts, to tread
At night our dream-led paths
Of sleep.

They are not lost who find
The sunset gate, the goal
Of all their faithful years.
Not lost are they who reach
The summit of their climb,
The peak above the clouds
And storms. They are not lost
Who find the light of sun
And stars..and God!

The are not dead who live In
hearts they leave behind.
In those whom they have blessed
They live again,
And shall live throught the years
Of eternal live, and grow
Each day more beautifuyl
As time declares theur good,
Forgets the rest and proves
Their immortality.
      -Hugh Robert Orr

A counsellor I once went to gave me a
graph to illustrate the "grief cycle"
I think it might have been based on
something from elizabeth Kubler Ross
D.A.B.N.A.
denial, anger, b....i can't remember
what they all sdtand for, but in the
chart this is what emotions you may
feel during these three stages:
Impact, Recoil, Recovery

Loss->Shock->Protest->
Detachment->disorganization->
reorganization->recovery-> growth

be on the lookout for angels...
they are all around and come
in many shapes, and flavors!!

you may find images that help you in
movies about angels..such as Michael,
(with John Travolta)
and What Dreams May Come
(with Robin Williams)

MY COUSIN, who lost his daughter to cancer
3 years ago, finds it comforting to ask
friends and family to donate to a charity;
in Rachel's name, in this case, a Childhood
Cancer organization.

in the day of the dead celebrations in mexico,
the way to remember loved ones who are no longer
with us is to have their favorite foods and think
of them. see happy samhain thread...

the hospice organization is quite helpful
and may hold workshops or get togethers
so others who are going thru similar
feelings can share their experiences.

in any case, give yourself permission to
respond in your own unique ways.

http://www.hospicefoundation.org/grief/

http://www.hospicenet.org/

http://www.americanhospice.org/

though some of these groups are strictly christian,
and their ideas may be too narrow to be of help if you
have different beliefs, and much of what they are built
around is long-involved death, not the sudden one which
your loved one experienced, but their is truth and help
and caring people in all of the hospice movement.

i found great peace and relief in the zen way
of looking at life and death--and this group
focusses on that point of view...
http://www.zenhospice.org/

you may find that you have gained some insight
from your situation and may be able to help
comfort someone else who is in the same boat.
I found myself thinking that I might be able
to volunteer to help in hospice groups and
provide sympathy and empathy to others.

since my parents who recently passed on had
lived long lives and were expected to pass,
the concept had been with me for some time,
and i had been finding songs (or had they been
finding me>?) for a year which had death in
them--so i had been processing it in song..

here are a couple of other organizations and
resources i found while looking thru my Hospice
folders:
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Center, S. route 616,
Head Waters, Virginia, 24442, 703-396-3441

and an on-line forum at griefnet@rivendell.org

the organization which helped me is here:
http://www.nhpco.org/templates/1/homepage.cfm
though i think they are preetty much focussed
on folks who have a long illness, and mostly
for elderly, but not necessarily..

it is possible that if there was a hospital
which offered care they may have a program designed
to give you support,

one of the ways to process what you are going through is to write
it in a journal. this can be very cathartic.

do not let anyone take away your grieving, or
be judgemental about it, as it is a gift which
symbolizes the loving relationship which you shared!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Menolly
Date: 01 Nov 03 - 03:53 AM

My husband dies 21 months agoof cancer. We were married for 27 years.
Much wize advise has been given. All I would like to add is - make some new memeories.
We had been preparing to buy a campervan, I went ahead and bought a smaller one. We had hoped to take a friend on holiday to Malta, instead I took her in the camper to Cornwall. Coming out of a small village up a 1 in 4 hill I was forced to stop to let a car past. I did not know if the van could do a 1 in 4 hill start and I had a serious panic. Then I calmed myself down and I am here to tell the tale. I felt afterwards that if I could get through that I could get through anything.
In the early days I could not always talk to friends, they had their own memories and feelings. One night I talked on the phone to the Samaritans for 3 hours. That helped.
I did a few things we would never have done together. I joined a gym and when I could not stand to be in the house in the evening on my own, I went there. I got slimmer and fitter.
I got more involved in folk music and did more festivals. Folkies were better friends to me than the people who lived near by. Some who I had known for years, I came to know much better and this helped the feeling of moving forward.
The past 21 months have been the most eventful of my life, my friend and husband is no use for doing all the practical things he used to and has gone quiet about giving advise on them, but the warmth of his companionship is always near by.
I wish you the very best getting though it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 01 Nov 03 - 06:57 AM

Open mike and Deda, those are incredible poems. Thanks so much for all the love and advice.
It feels a little funny to let this thread go on and on, but it's helping me so much so I hope no one minds...


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Nov 03 - 10:05 AM

Allison, this thread will be a comfort to any who have lost or will lose someone dear.

Menolly-- I'm so sorry.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 01 Nov 03 - 12:15 PM

WYSIWYG is correct -- I find that by posting to you in your loss, I am helping myself as well. Everyone is different: I found when I lost my daughter that there were times when I just had to be alone, to let the truth seep into me, without trying to manage it, or "get through" it for a little while. It was simply necessary to realize the truth, feel the despair, immerse myself in the pain of it.

Although I hope this doesn't happen to you, I want to let you know that you may lose some friends, perhaps only for a while. So many people are utterly inept at expressing themselves, or are so awkward about dealing with death, that they may avoid you as they simply don't know what to say or do. I had a lot of resentment about that fact for a while, but them remembered how I had treated people who had suffered a loss to death, and realized that until it happened to me, I had had no idea of how to deal with it either.

Please know that you are going through the worst part of the pain now, and that it will ease.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 01 Nov 03 - 03:59 PM

Allison, don't ever worry about letting a thread go on. People will continue to post as long as they are interested, and as Susan and pdc have pointed out, it may be helping others as well. Another thing is that it allows those of us who have been wishing there was something we could do to help you, to do just that -- even if in a very small way.

At the FSGW Getaway recently, Sheila Thorpe, who is a hospice nurse, sang a song she had written for an elderly couple when the husband was dying. Of course their situation was different from yours (they were elderly, the death was anticipated, etc.), but I have no doubt the wife felt the pain of loss just as you are doing. The chorus of Sheila's song included the words, "The earth will have your body, but I'll keep all the love." I found that a beautiful thought. I'm sure I could get the whole song for you -- or anyone else -- if you want it.

Byron sounds like a wonderful man, and your relationship was clearly very special. May you take comfort in your memories.

Nancy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 01 Nov 03 - 04:48 PM

Nancy, I would love it if you could get me the words.
My goodness, I'm spending more time here again! For two years I barely "lurked", since my time and energy was occupied with Byron. Now, at least on weekends, I'm hanging here much more.
Went to Brattleboro VT to see the Green Mountain Mummers do their annual mummer's play. It's fun and funny and features a long and wonderful sword dance, two very funny fools, and a "plant", someone different every year, who dies and is resurrected. I didn't know how it would be for me to witness death and resurrection, even in such a slapstick way, but except for one or two tough moments, I really enjoyed myself- laughed out loud several times.
Went to lunch with a dear friend, ran a bunch of errands, finally headed home. Was hit broadside 2 miles from home by torrential sobbing- I almost had to stop the car (yes, pdc, I probably should have stopped the car.!) In about 2 minutes it was over. It wasn't until just now that I realize that the sobbing lasted the time it took me to approach and pass by the road to Byron's house.
Tonight I'm going to a concert of Cape Breton music at the local town hall. A friend is coming here to share a dinner that another friend dropped off; we'll go to the concert together.
Tomorrow, All Soul's Day, my closest women friends are going to gather and offer me healing and love. I am truly blessed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Deckman
Date: 01 Nov 03 - 05:34 PM

I'd like to add another respectful thought.

All of us are "teachers," each in our own way. By sharing your situation with us, you are exposing yourself at the same time.

As I have mentioned to far too many of my friends lately, when you suffer a death, others are watching you ... especially your children.

We are all learning something from you.

Hang in there kid ... IT WILL GET BETTER!

And perhaps in time to come, you will be able to share with us, and others, what helped you.

CHEERS and HUGS to you. Bob


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 01 Nov 03 - 05:51 PM

Allison, you said you are truly blessed. From what I have been reading, so was Byron. Know that you gave him that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: momnopp
Date: 01 Nov 03 - 08:58 PM

Allison,

I just want to say, as I sit here reading and weeping and wondering where the hell that box of tissues that's supposed to be down here has gotten to...your open sharing of your grief process is a gift to all of us who are open to receive it.

My mother died 5 years ago Oct. 22 and grieving her has been very difficult. She was mentally ill and it was very scary to care for or about her in life. It is only after her death that I've felt safe enough to have compassion for her and begin to understand the personal hell she must have lived with in her illness. My middle sister's grief and inability to cope somehow has displaced itself so that she stopped talking to me a few months after our mother's death. I miss my sister more than I miss my mother -- I suppose, at least in part, because she's alive but refuses to be in my life.

Grief takes its own strange twists and turns; for each of us a little different. Thank you for allowing me to share vicariously in your journey and thereby further my own.

Peace,

JudyO


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 06:32 AM

An amazing thing happened last evening. I had been invited to attend 2 separate concerts, one local and one 12 miles away. I opted for the local one, because I knew that more of my "tribe" was likely to be there. I hadn't counted on all the memories to hit me (duh!) as I entered the town hall without him- we always went to these concerts; the last one we attended was 2 days before he died and we sat in the very front row. Both of us are "terminally prompt" so we usually sat close to the front at least.

So there I was with my "late again as usual" friend, sitting near the back, close to the exit in case I couldn't stay. It was a concert of Cape Breton music (can I remember the musicians? nah). It's an annual concert; Byron had gone once before and didn't feel the need to go again.

The music began- fiddle, guitar and piano. I closed my eyes and let the music wash over me. At first I was aware of why Byron wouldn't have liked the music- not his kind of fiddling, bad pickup on the fiddle, etc. Then I listened more deeply and just let the music carry me.

Suddenly I felt Byron inside my heart- just exactly as it always felt when he was close to me and speaking from his heart. I felt his love and assurance. I felt the conviction that Byron goes on, and he still loves me. His love for me didn't die. I tried to respond and just felt caressed and loved.

I wept uncontrollably for awhile; bathed in his love.
Once or twice through the rest of the evening I got flashes, like the brush of angel wings. I don't "feel" the assurance today, but the memory of last night is strong.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 06:37 AM

And it's the Day of the Dead, All Soul's Day. My wonderful women are gathering a "healing circle" for me this afternoon.
Blessings this day on all of us whose beloved ones are "in the next room". May today bring peaceful and loving contemplation of them, and healing tears.
Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Jeri
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 07:23 AM

So maybe you didn't need that pocket angel.
Sometimes the pain of separating can prevent you from feeling the love that remains for a time. That love's a gift. Even the tears are a gift.
And there's power in the gifts you give
Of laugher love and song
And tears that fall like gentle rain
When the wheel of time rolls on
We can kick ourselves because of how strongly we loved someone because when they leave, we're a royal mess. It hurts like nothing else because there's now something awake in us that maybe had been sleeping. The ability to feel that pain, though, means we feel the love just as strongly, and it's the love that will last.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 03:36 PM

Allison, I am humbled by your sharing and that of everyone else. I count it as a precious and lasting gift; a treasure I know I will surely turn to when in need. My heart is singing for you, right now, for the wonderful love and presence you felt through the music.

love & peace,

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: bbc
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 06:47 PM

Allison, no need to apologize for this thread. It blesses not only you, but all who love & all who read it. I suspect many, like me, have been keeping up with your life in this way & giving what support we can, each is his/her own way. This thread helps us remember that you hurt & your sharing lets us see the triumphs each day brings, as well as the sorrows. Know that you are loved by us & by God. May He hold you close in His arms!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 07:03 PM

Allison, your unique and personal way of sharing in this thread and in our emails has given me many new starting-points of thought that I know will be useful to me and to others I encounter. OK, I'll admit it, I was in the hot tub, but I was thinking of you and Byron today, with a new angle on the Communion of Saints. (So as you can see, no suffering here, dear.) I'll send it along when it's fully cooked!

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 11:07 AM

Back to work today. It's a little better, but so hard to connect with the kids. I feel like I'm acting the part.
It's been 29 days; I'm coming to acceptance but not peace about Byron's death. And the tears continue to flow, more than I've ever wept before.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 11:36 AM

I remember clearly that feeling of acting the part -- going through the motions of life while "I" was really elsewhere. Occasionally something would demand my attention to the point where it felt "real," but the day-to-day aspects of life seemed mechanical and without meaning.

That feeling passes, but in the meantime, "acting the part" allows you to focus on Byron's death, which occupies virtually your entire self.

Strange, when I woke up this morning, I had been dreaming about Jenn, as I so often do, and realized that although Jenn is gone, both the love and the bond remain. That may be difficult to understand, but is nevertheless true, and it's a comfort.

Can you tell a bit about Byron -- how old he was, how long you had known him, how he died?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: open mike
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 12:21 PM

rather than requiring Allison to go thru all the details again,
you can refer to this thread for her announcement :
beloved byron


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 04:58 PM

Thank you, open mike. I didn't want to put Allison through any more pain: sometimes the more you tell your story, the more it helps.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 05:09 AM

One month ago today, Oct. 4, 2003, was a weekend with my beloved. We went to a lovely harp concert the night before, one that Byron had helped organize. We were buzzing from the concert and didn't sleep well, so got up early and enjoyed the lovely sunrise over the mountains. We drank our coffee and tea, packed up the car, and by mid-morning we were driving north to Vermont to play for the Strafford Ball (traditional English country dance). On the way we stopped at our favorite roadside store for gas, sandwiches, apples, and for fun, some wildly shaped gourds (I can still see Byron waving a particularly goose-necked one at me through the store window!).
        The afternoon practice session for the ball glowed with the music of Morning Star, the duo of Byron and Carol on concertina, recorder, guitar and piano. The dancers all agreed that the music had never sounded as lovely as it did this day. Once in awhile I would catch Byron watching me, with a small sweet smile on his face.
        After the practice session we took a little walk, then sat on the stage with Carol and a few others, resting and chatting. Supper was a community event in the basement of the hall. We sat with good friends, told stories, exclaimed over the terrible food, agreed that we'd all go out for dinner next year.
        We dressed for the ball, danced as usual only a few dances, but we glowed with the joy of being together. We drove home early, got home before midnight. Within 30 minutes he was dead.
        It's been a strange new planet for me, with him not here in earthly presence,. I have to learn a whole new way of being. This past month has lasted years. I still get vivid flashes of memory, overwhelming waves of grief, wrenching sobs every day. But I also have spells of almost calm. I guess I'm "adjusting".
        In "A Grief Observed" C. S. Lewis compares it to the healing of an amputation. The wound will heal in time, you will get used to crutches, you may even get a prosthesis in time, but every day and every moment you will have before you the reminder that you are no longer a biped. Simple things will no longer be simple; you have to learn a whole new way of being. And many people will react towards you differently, you have to learn to adjust to them as well. And all the time you're just struggling to live your life, moment by moment, day by day.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 09:39 AM

Allison said, It's been a strange new planet for me, with him not here in earthly presence. I have to learn a whole new way of being. This past month has lasted years. I still get vivid flashes of memory, overwhelming waves of grief, wrenching sobs every day. But I also have spells of almost calm. I guess I'm "adjusting".


In our own way, each of us posting here has become a resident of that planet. My own early loss brought me to it far too soon; I suppose we all feel that way. In our parish life, people leave us all the time; one week there were six funerals, all unrelated. The strange planet grows more and more crowded. Many of us have had frequent opportunities to renew our residency.

At a certain point I realized how many people are living on that planet and yet appearing to live on the Normal Planet too, at the same time. It's a planet of which we all eventually claim citizenship, and find how crowded it really is. This discovery is a bit like another shock people have described to me: going to their first AA meeting, and looking around to see all the folks they've been hiding their disease from, who they thought had been sitting in judgment of all their little lies and failures.... they felt the same about you! Suddenly you smell a herd of elephants, more than a living room can hold, and you start to see the larger scene, an epic migration pattern.

A turning point came for me one day, looking out at all the empty pews, every one of them holding several prayerbooks with nameplates commemorating some member who has "graduated." Old parishioners so often fret about the emptiness; "Will the church survivce with so few?" But now, I started to see not the loss but the graduations. I started to think of how many in the great Fraternity/Sorority House came to that place via our historic, oldstone highschool of a parish. I realized I had tended to see parish work as an end in itself. Now I began to see our parish as prep school for that land where the chief business of the inhabitants is praise. "Some of these dour, crabby folks aren't doing their homework for that job," I realized.

But over time, I learned that what we're calling now "The Strange Planet" is part of prep school, in a way..... once you "adjust" to the climate you choose whether to turn outward in praise and joy or inward in gnarled bitterness. Left in our pews I see heroes, now, not crabby negativizers. Each has survived many trips to the Strange Planet, arriving there anew over and over; the crabbiness I'd chafed over is just a moment in the process of acclimatization-- adjustment. If you ask them about those nameplates in the prayerbooks and hymnals, the joy breaks out like the smell of a baking apple pie, when the heat first gets deep inside and the bubbling begins to break through the crisping crust.

The language we use on the streets of the Strange Planet is replete with layers of meaning and experience; densely packed into our small phrases are mountains of experience, oceans of salt tears; enormous fields of carefully tended gardens; vast storehouses of harvest.... a word from that planet can touch off rich meditations.

What Allison has given me, already, from her Strange Planet, is yet another view of this life, by describing her sudden awareness of Byron's presence with her, several posts ago. Her phrase resounded with Truth: He still loves me. As I took a fresh look at my own experiences through the clear lens of her words, I thought again of the Graduates. Now I see them as individuals, each one still loving the pewholders left below. Being in a hot tub at the time I thought about it, there were few distractions to stop the flow of thought. ;~)

That ongoing, personal love is what I thought about. There they are, where praise is the order of business, where sorrow and pain are no more; neither sighing, but life everlasting.... free of any needs they had down below... able now to love with total selflessness. (No wonder Allison felt it so powerfully; Byron seems to have been doing his love homework right up till the moment he graduated.) We refer to the family of the departed as the "Loved Ones." I'm starting to understand that now, finally. We are still loved, by people now able to love from within All Love, bonded in that love to the love of all time. Perfect love: love we once knew tangibly, now perfected.

We pray for their Immortal Souls, but I think they're praying for US, seeing us now, with and through the Father's eyes, seeing our deepest hearts, everything we were afraid to show, everything we had in us that we didn't even know was there..... and all they have left is perfect love, as they regard us.

We call that collection of individuals (in our denomination), "The Communion of Saints," the heavenly congregation of the departed, in the same sense we talk about "The Anglican Communion" as a collection of various country's denominations that recognize the same sacraments and authorities and apostolic succession-- a Communion being sort of a confederation.

From Allison's post onwards, I will always think of it also as a commuhnion between saints. The communion of saints with one another. Not ghostly visits, but an ongoing with-one-another-ness.... communion.... as we sometimes see enough light to see through the thin scrim veil separating Heaven from this Strange Planet.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Peter T.
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 10:37 AM

I do think "A Grief Observed" is about the best book on the subject, because it is so harsh -- nothing else Lewis wrote is in the same league. You can tell that he thought that all his earlier stuff was theology, not life.

The best poem about this experience, I think, is Wordsworth's sonnet "Surprised by Joy". (Funny Lewis picked it for a title).

The best play about mourning, surprisingly, for me, is Hamlet. I had seen it a hundred times and never connected with the mourning for the dead father, the reappearances, the hauntings, the slightly berserk quality of life, the way he spreads death around him from the earlier death. I am convinced Shakespeare wrote it from personal experience.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: MMario
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 10:55 AM

Allison - you say above "I felt the conviction that Byron goes on, and he still loves me. His love for me didn't die"


Bingo! No more than your love for him has died.

Hugs to you!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 11:00 AM

Thank you for sharing your story, Allison.

The analogy with an amputation is extremely good -- I've read that some amputees continue to feel the "phantom limb" long after it's gone. I feel my daughter's presence sometimes to the point where I want to turn to say something to her. Sometimes that's a blessing and a comfort; sometimes it's a painful renewal of loss. But it also means that in a way, she's still here.

There is so much that we do not understand.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Bardford
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 11:21 AM

A tune in one of my fiddle books is prefaced with a quote by Ossian (who he?) - "There is a joy in grief."
This is a notion I would have disputed in the weeks and months following the senseless death of my brother a number of years ago, but as time goes by, and the nature of my pain changes, I am more inclined to believe it true.

It's hard to concieve of joy when you're in the early days of grief - when your nerve endings extend to the outside of your skin, and the universe is seemingly indifferent to your pain, and you still have to deal with the "normal' business of life, as well as the unimportant, mundane and absurd - but the experience at the concert when you felt Byron in your heart is part of it.

This may sound goofy, but my grief became my ally, and I learned to embrace it instead of turn it away. It slowly became clear to me that there was a gift wrapped up in all that pain, like the little white dot on the black side of the yin/yang symbol. I am still learning about the meaning of that gift, and the pain still shows up, unannounced, at the strangest times, but you know, I don't think I'd want to change that.

I am sorry for your loss, Animaterra, but I thank you for this thread.

Peace,
Bardford


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: kendall
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 12:12 PM

If you want to shrink something,
you must first let it expand.
If you want to be rid of something,
You must first let it flourish

(TAO te CHING)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Raedwulf
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 08:04 PM

I have a lousy attitude to death in the first place. We all gotta go - why the fuss? I talk to me dad (& g/parents) from time to time, just the same as if they were still around (even if it is a bit one-sided - treat it like a letter!).

I never bothered much when they went. They had a good run for their money, they did the best they could before they did, there are people still that knew them & regret their passing. Can you ask for more than that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 09:14 PM

Raedwulf, it appears to me that your only experience with death has been people who died at an appropriate age. If you were to lose your wife or child (if you are married with children) you would understand better what this thread is about. I was sad, but not devastated, when my parents died. When my daughter died, that was very different. I'm sure you can understand that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 11:47 AM

Allison, I have e-mailed Sheila Thorpe about the words to the song I quoted, but as yet have received no reply. Stay tuned...

Nancy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Amos
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 12:00 PM

Bardford:

Ossian is a medieval lyricist and epic poet from (I believe) Wales, but I could have that last bit wrong.

For a description of his role in medieval literture see this page.

Regards,


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Amos
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 12:03 PM

(osh´en) or Oisin , legendary Gaelic poet, supposedly the son of Finn mac Cumhail , hero of a cycle of tales and poems that place his deeds of valor in the 3d cent. AD These traditional tales were preserved in Ireland and in the Scottish Highlands, with Ossian as the bard who sang of the exploits of Finn and his Fenian cohorts. A later cycle of Ossianic poetry centered on Cuchulain, another traditional hero. Ossian is generally represented as an old, blind man who had outlived both his father and his son. The name is remembered by most people in connection with James Macpherson , who published translations of two poems that he said had been written by Ossian; scholars subsequently proved that they were actually a combination of traditional Gaelic poems and original verses by Macpherson himself.


From www.encyclopedia.com


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 02:20 PM

Tonight the morris community is gathering at my home to sing our hearts out around the bonfire. This is the first loss of a contemporary for our circle of friends, and I have to remember that I'm not the only one grieving. I'm the one cut most closely to the bone, but we all miss him and it will be good to be surrounded by this community.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 03:34 PM

Allison, that's not only a good thing, it's also really, really healthy. Good for you for dealing with your grief instead of just letting it deal with you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Raedwulf
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 06:22 PM

pdc - Actually, no. I've had friends who've died young, etc. Admittedly, I have no children, nor even a partner. Nevertheless, I think I would take the same basic attitude, because it's the way I am.

We all gotta go. The two certain things in life are birth & death. If you're really unlucky, that comes out in the wrong order (no, I'm not being tongue in cheek). If people think well of you after you've gone, your time wasn't wasted. If you can think well of someone after they've left, why mourn? It's sad they're not here, but would they want you to make yourself bloody miserable about their absence?! Doubt it.

I ain't saying I'm right. I'm right for me only. But it's a point of view worth considering, I hope...


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: kendall
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 10:09 PM

Raedwulf, you show signs of Asburger's syndrome. Is that possible?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 10:13 PM

I take your point Raedwulf, and that's a good intellectual approach to death. Unfortunately, death involves the heart.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 11:23 PM

Allison, I've been thinking about your last post -- the friends who also lost Byron coming over and being with you -- and I realize how much I envy you that. When my daughter died, it was by suicide, and other than my husband (who was not her father), my remaining daughter, and one good friend who is more like a sister, I had no one, and went through mourning virtually alone. Some people blamed me because my daughter had killed herself. Some people were church-goers who couldn't get past the fact that in their eyes, suicide is a sin. One neighbour told me that God never gives us more than we can bear, so my daughter was a coward who lacked enough strength. Mostly people were just too uncomfortable to ever call.

It was hard, although I didn't know it at the time -- I'm just realizing it now, reading of your circle of friends. Please know how much you have, and probably deserve, and let them help you, and you help them as much as possible. You are fortunate in your friendships.

This was difficult to write.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 11:41 PM

{{{{{{{{{{{{pdc}}}}}}}}}}}}}}


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 06 Nov 03 - 06:14 AM

Add my hugs, too, dear pdc. You are giving me more than you know.

It was an incredible evening. Too wet for a bonfire, so we crowded into my little home and sang our hearts out. I didn't try to do more than join in occasionally, but the harmonies did their work on me. Lots of tears, some laughter (I startled myself with a real belly laugh at one point!)
One friend sang, For all of life is like a tune,
                   It sounds so sweet, and it ends too soon,
                   You'd better rosin up your bow,
                   Until it's time to go.


Another sang,, Row on, row on, another day
                  there shines a brighter light.
                  Ply, ply the oars and pull away,
                  There's dawn beyond the night.


Sometimes I'm beginning to believe that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 06 Nov 03 - 06:17 AM

Another beautiful thing was getting a phone call the other night from occasional Catter Jacob Bloom. There really are blessings in all this. It made me glad I updated my personal info recently (thanks kat for alerting me that it was old info!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: jaze
Date: 06 Nov 03 - 09:19 PM

There will be light again, Allison, hang on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 06 Nov 03 - 09:28 PM

Yes, eventually there is light again. But it's never quite the same --kind of a loss of innocence, I guess, now that you know the worst can happen. At the same time, since the worst has happened, and you've survived it, you don't have the same fears.

The best description I ever heard about regaining your life after losing a child is that it's like going through the rest of your life with a stomachache. You can laugh, have a good time, enjoy things, but all the time there is that faint, nagging stomachache.

I don't know if that applies to other deaths, or just the death of a child. I do know that any close death changes your values, philosophy of life, and perspective. Sometimes that can be a good thing -- experience teaches wisdom.

And having said all that, what choice do we have? We do our best.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Nov 03 - 09:53 PM

pdc, if you can find a copy of it, you might find this book to be of help: From My World to Yours by Jasper Swain. It's out of print. It's written by a very practical South African lawyer whose son and his friend were killed in a head-on collision. The son came back to basically dictate the book about what happened as he died, etc. It's fascinating and the father was such a skeptic, at first, that it took quite a bit to convince him to pay attention.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 11:56 AM

Thanks, Kat - I'll look for it. The sense of still being in touch with the person you've lost is so common that it makes me wonder: there is so much that we don't know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 02:46 PM

!(((( pdc ))))!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 04:16 PM

Thank you all, now send some hugs to Allison, whose grief is so recent. I find that reading the messages you send to her is a good thing, and probably anyone else who has lost someone is finding some comfort in the incredibly warm messages and wisdom being posted. What nice people you all are -- and how wonderful Allison must be to warrant all your loving thoughts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Casual Observer
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 05:02 PM

Not so very long ago, I grieved the loss of a live person - a friend who moved very far away. Having been in the military all his adult life, it was nothing to him to make friends and then leave them and never see them again. His defense mechanism was simply to move on and forget it. And that was very hard for me, because on my planet, friendship is a permanent state. I felt hurt, and abandoned, almost as if he had died. I realized I was going through the same sort of grieving process, because I had lost someone I cared for very much, someone I would never see again.

It was an extremely difficult process. I finally made it through but it took a long time. And it's only just now that I am understanding the lessons from it. In a strange way, I am grateful for the experience, because I grew from it. But that growth is painful, and you can't see it until after the fact.

You have a great support system, both virtual and 3-D. That counts for a lot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 05:47 PM

We have recently lost two women, both in their 50s, from our folkie circle here in Victoria, Australia. We are a somewhat loose group spread over hundreds of miles but we behave like family when we meet. We share our pain in many ways - sometimes with just a hug or a word. I still sing my sad songs, my songs about death, because that's my way. We talk and laugh about happy times.
The love and comfort expressed here within the Mudcat family, for you Alison, and for each other is so inspiring. I feel very humble in being welcomed into it.
Thinking of you Alison and sending my thoughts your way from down here at the bottom of the world. From and with - Joy

My life goes on in endless song
Above Earth's lamentation.
I hear the real though far off hymn
That hails a new creation.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I'm clinging
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 06:50 PM

Joybell, I'm beginning to have hope that someday I'm going to be able to sing that song again.

Dear friends, you are amazing. I was going to let this thread drop below the bottom by now, but you keep it alive. I have seen how it's helping more than just me, and I'm grateful for the respect and love that are shining through. I've also gotten some beautiful PMs and emails, and even phone calls. This isn't just a "cyber-community", it's a true community in every sense of the word.
Thanks to you all.
Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Helen
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 09:03 AM

Allison,

I have been reading this thread regularly and it is helping me in the way that I think and feel about my mother's sudden death early last year.

I know, because I have experienced it so many times, that the people we love who have passed over do come back to visit and share their love.

My Mum took a lot longer to come and visit than many other people I have known, but now I do feel her presence around me at times.

Your experience at the concert when Byron visited you is beautiful. He will probably start showing up fairly regularly, but it often happens that there is an early visit and then a gap of three or more months before the visits become more regular. I believe that this is the "recovery" time when they lose their earthly and physical troubles and recover to the spiritual state we all started with. "Shuffling off the mortal coil" perhaps.

It is now, after the initial period of shock and grief is wearing off, that you need support. I agree about what pdc said:

"So many people are utterly inept at expressing themselves, or are so awkward about dealing with death, that they may avoid you as they simply don't know what to say or do. I had a lot of resentment about that fact for a while, but them remembered how I had treated people who had suffered a loss to death, and realized that until it happened to me, I had had no idea of how to deal with it either."

I was the same. I had never experienced the unexpected death of someone close until my Mum died, so I felt inept in relating to other people who were grieving. But I also discovered that it is the time months after when the full impact hits of the loss of day-to-day contact that I really needed more support. By then, most people had put it into the past and I did not want to "burden" them with my grief.

Please, whenever you need to talk about Byron, and your feelings about his passing, and also your feelings of joy about your life together, always know that we are here to listen and share with you.

This is one of the songs we sang at Mum's funeral, and it says so much for me about how I feel. I know I post this a lot but it helped me to feel that hope.

Helen


Whispering Hope
(Septimus Winner a.k.a. Alice Hawthorne)

Soft as the voice of an Angel
Breathing a lesson unheard
Hope with a gentle persuasion
Whispers her comforting word

Wait, till the darkness is over
Wait, till the tempest is done
Hope for the sunshine tomorrow
After the shower is gone

Whispering hope
Oh, how welcome thy voice
Making my heart
In its sorrow rejoice

If in the dusk of the twilight
Dim be the region afar
Will not the deepening darkness
Brighten the glimmering star
Then, when the night is upon us
Why should the heart sink away
When the dark midnight is over
Watch for the breaking of day

Whispering hope
Oh, how welcome thy voice
Making my heart
In its sorrow rejoice


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Pistachio
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 10:56 AM

I offer you hugs and you are in my thoughts.
It is such a hard time to muddle through just now. Keep clicking on, I believe this therapeutic thread is doing good for more people than you might imagine.

For Allison:

A month without your Byron, New days of tears and grief
You held him gently in your arms, To him, 'what a relief'
You were together when he left and now you feel alone
…Just don't forget 'we're' here to help. You are not on your own.

Grief is such a fickle beast you'll have your up's and down's
There's always something out there to remind you He's not around
With thoughts so overwhelming you'll muddle through the days
And always beg the question why couldn't he have stayed?

The answer will not satisfy. The pain will not recede.
The times you had were precious, re-live them as you need.
Remember all the fun you had, your time with friends and song
And though' you feel quite lost now Happy memories will live on.

Pick up the pieces slowly and return oft' to this thread
Your sadness is being shared now. The pages that I've read
Have brought a lump to my throat, and yes, tears to my eyes
It's such a necessary thing to have those tears and cry.

Whenever you feel lonely, turn on the old machine
And check in with this universe of silent friends on screen
The words are all so thoughtful so helpful and sincere
It's really therapeutic to deliver thoughts through here
This amazing world of silence, the keyboard shares the pain
Of so many of us over many years,

I'll be in touch again,
Hazel.

P.S.
I struggled with grief for over 18 months after my father died back in 1984 and still I find myself reduced to tears at the strangest times.
It's something we're all going to go through and words can make such a difference. I offer you my thoughts in rhyme because they come out better that way! I found a verse 'in my head' when my friends' baby daughter died at birth and again I put pen to paper when another friends' son died age 15 months. I hope all this support helps you. Sadly I know I'll be 'finding another verse' soon as my pal loses her battle… why oh why? Hope your Sun starts to shine again before too long. H


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 11:40 AM

Allison, Helen is absolutely right: although you are going through the sharpest part of the pain now, you will need support just as much in the coming months, when the "day-to-day" loss of Byron leaves you with a constant, hollow ache. Unfortunately, that's when the support of friends diminishes (no blame attached), so please keep this thread going, or renew it as needed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Joybell
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 05:22 PM

I know what you mean Allison. It's so hard to sing at the darkest times. The songs seem to go away and it's an effort to recall them. For those of us with songs in our heads all the time the hollow feeling seems more intense when sadness and pain drive the songs away. I hope you will be able to sing all the time again very soon.                                             Peace from Joy
(I can't help making these puns on my name - My Dad's fault. I mean them all the same.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 06:02 PM

Helen, thanks for your thoughts. and for the lovely song. I haven't thought of that one in a long time!
Pistachio, your verses brought tears and joy. I love them! Why don't you join so I can PM you?
Joybell, I'm learning the song Row On. It seems to express what I need to know right now. I haven't exactly sung it out loud yet, but I've gotten through the first 3 lines of the refrain before breaking down!

I had an EMDR session this afternoon. It really seemed to help with some of the intense emotions stemming from the trauma of the night Byron died. For now I can "go there" in my thoughts without panic or fear; we'll see what the next days will bring. It's supposed to help me sleep better, which would be a miracle indeed!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Joybell
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 06:31 PM

A lovely song, Allison. My Mum was very keen on sea songs with life-advice metaphores. Songs like "Throw out the Life-line" It reminded me of this thread. It feels as though we all have these life-lines stretching over the seas.
When I was very little I was taken to the docks to farewell a relative who was returning to England. We held streamers between the passengers and the people on the dock - hundreds of people all holding tight to our coloured paper streamers. As the ship pulled away the streamers broke one by one. I hardly knew the relative and I haven't thought about this scene for years but I still feel the sadness in the hearts of all those people. I still see the tears.
I don't quite know why I've come up with that image, but there you go! Our life-lines are stronger than paper streamers, there is no sign of them breaking. Happiness and Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Helen
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 11:13 PM

I looked up the stages of grief and found this page.

Helen

Title:
The stages of dealing with grief

Description: There are common stages an individual may experience during grief. Grief is the pain of not having the person who is gone. There is no right way or wrong way to grieve.

Here are the stages and then there are more insights into the very individual nature of grieving and how to cope with it:

"There are certain stages of grief.

"1) Shock – Immediately following the death of a loved one it is difficult to accept the loss. A feeling of unreality occurs. During those first days and through any religious rituals or memorials there is a feeling of being-out-of-touch.

"2) Emotional Release – the awareness of just how dreadful the loss is accompanied by intense pangs of grief. In this stage a grieving individuals sleeps badly and weeps uncontrollably

"3) Panic - For some time a grieving person can feel in the grip of mental instability. They can find themselves wandering around aimlessly, forgetting things, and not being able to finish what they started. Physical symptoms also can appear -- tightness in the throat, heaviness in the chest, an empty feeling in the stomach, tiredness and fatigue, headaches, migraine headaches, gastric and bowel upsets.

"4) Guilt – At this stage an individual can begin to feel guilty about failures to do enough for the deceased, guilt over what happened or what didn't happen.

"5) Hostility – Some individuals feel anger at what "caused" the loss of the loved one.

"6) Inability to Resume Business-as-Usual Activities - the ability to concentrate on day-to-day activities may be severely limited. It is important to know and recognize that this is a normal phenomenon. A grieving person's entire being – emotional, physical and spiritual, is focused on the loss that just occurred. Grief is a 100% experience. No one does it at 50%.

"7) Reconciliation of Grief – balance in life returns little by little, much like healing from a severe physical wound. There are no set timeframes for healing. Each individual is different.

"8) Hope - the sharp, ever present pain of grief will lessen and hope for a continued, yet different life emerges. Plans are made for the future and the individual is able to move forward in life with good feelings knowing they will always remember and have memories of the loved one."

Copyright 2002 by PageWise, Inc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: bbc
Date: 09 Nov 03 - 04:51 PM

Allison,

Just wanted to let you know I am following this thread on a daily basis & continue to lift you & your family. I'll give you a call now & then. Let me know if I don't call soon enough!

love & hugs from NY,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 05:30 AM

Thanks, all. It was a very emotional weekend. I'm not able ot let my guard down so much during the week. Also, the EMDR seems to have dealt with a lot of layers of fear adn trauma, opening the floodgates for an even deeper sorrow than before. But I had friends with me.

I helped friends move into their new house; they built it over a year; Byron couldn't wait for them to move in, he was so excited watching the progress of the house. We used to go over and walk around the frame and imagine the finished product. Now it's done, and he's not here in flesh to enjoy it. That was very hard.

But I found my pocket angel!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Cruiser
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 12:58 PM

Animaterra:

Your composition 'Byron's Waltz' is beautiful. What a tribute it would be to him (and you) for you to sing it at NOMAD 2003 and/or future venue's.

I visited your web site and the NHPR site (for your interview) for the first time. Your music is inspiring and I admire you and your music.

What a gift to the world, music teachers like yourself are!

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 03:21 PM

Thanks, Ron. I won't be at NOMAD after all this year.
"Byron's Waltz" is making the rounds. Bob MacQuillen and Old New England are learning it; it's slated to be in the next CDSS newsletter; so it's getting around. Someday I may be up to putting words to it but I'm still too raw.

One example: it had to happen. I was in Walgreens this morning and the music that was playing was "My heart will go on and on." I always thought of it as such a drippy song, but there I stood among the kitchen cleansers, tears pouring down my face. I hate to admit it, but the song puts into words exactly how I feel about Byron right now. But I could never sing it!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Alba
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 03:32 PM

You are still very much in my Thoughts Allison
Blessings and Love
Jude


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 01:33 PM

It's being a very low, sad day. Somehow, now that the EMDR has helped remove the horror of the memories of that night, there's a lot more room for deep sorrow. I was already sad, but this is a new depth. I never knew how deep grief could get.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 02:03 PM

Allison, I'm just heading out the door-- but please look at the tools for healing at www.rc.org. I can tell you how they have benefited me, in email.... but you have sort of seen the results. :~) Also, don't forget to keep leaning on what you know has helped so far.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Helen
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 03:04 PM

Allison,

There will be candles burning for you and Byron here again today. Just hang in there, huh? Allow yourself to feel when you can, and barricade your feelings for a while if it gets too overwhelming.

Do you have a copy of Musicman's CD called Farewell? It is very healing, I think. I played it a lot after Mum died.

{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}
Helen


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 08:08 PM

I think part of the reason that grief seems to get worse after the initial shock has worn off a bit, is that we seem to think there will be an end, as though it's an episode. When we realize that it's not something that we get through until it ends, that realization makes things worse.

It will end, of course, by becoming bearable. But not yet.

Just let it happen, dear Allison, and do what you can when it isn't overwhelming.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 12 Nov 03 - 11:20 AM

Well, Animaterra Women's chorus rehearsal brought me back up again for a little while last night. A group of "alumni" got together and surprised me at a before-rehearsal-potluck by showing up and singing Hallowell , one of our favorite songs from several years ago. Once again I had to get through what I call a "threshold moment" of uncontrollable tears, but the love in their voices and faces lifted me up and carried me to the point where I was able to lead the rehearsal with strength and something vaguely resembling joy.
I woke up this morning in tears again but I'm beginning to see that there are occasional patches of sunlight that will shine through my clouds.

Allison

there's dawn beyond the night


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 12 Nov 03 - 02:00 PM

Allison, treasure those patches of sunlight as much as you can -- use them to accomplish what you can't when your grief overwhelms you. I remember those days, going from blackest impossibility to occasional bits of grey that allowed me to cope with the responsibilities I had.
I used to think that those little patches of light were gifs from my daughter, who couldn't bear to see me suffering so much. Possibly Byron is sending them to you, lightening the burden just a bit at times. They are truly blessed little intervals.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Menolly
Date: 13 Nov 03 - 12:37 PM

My daughter recently got a house but it was in a bad state and we have now been working on it for nearly 4 weeks to get it fit to move into. During that time we have been using many of the tools my husband collected over the 40 of his adult life. He has beenin our thoughts even more that usual and sometimes we have cursed him for not beeing there to give advise, and others we have felt very strongly that he was there (but he still wasn't giving advise) He looked on and commended us for the effort we were putting, sometimes disapproved, because he would not have done it that way, but always as a friendly, loving presence. I am luckier than many, the pain has gone for me, not that I don't miss him, I do and I am sure I always will, but I have moved in another direction now and there is no going back.
Life is now more eventful than ever before. This is not always good, but the bad passes. I just keep trying to look forward.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Jaze
Date: 13 Nov 03 - 08:48 PM

Allison, My daughter and her friends were into the whole "Titanic" thing. I think she went to see it at least 10 times. A week after her funeral, I was driving home from work late at night and that song came on the radio. I cried all the way home. I use to cry driving home at night for a long time. I think between being tired, being alone in the car and hearing lines in songs that reminded me of her caused this. I think the toll collectors must have thought I was nuts because I would come thru their booths crying every night. When I was 11, my father died. I decided to pick out something beautiful in nature that would remind me of him every time I saw it. I chose sunbeams shining thru the forest. I always thought that was beautiful. When Julia died, I did the same thing. For her I chose sunlight spakling on the surface of water- sun diamonds. Every morning I have to cross the James River and say good morning to her when I see the "sun diamonds" on the surface. It's comforting, and my own special connection to her. Take care, and hang in there. James


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 13 Nov 03 - 09:55 PM

Oh Jaze, what a wonderful idea. I can't express how good an idea that is -- even five years later, I can do that. I will choose something that will remind me of my daughter in a positive way, which is very, very hard to do yet.

Thank you for a really marvellous post! You have blessed all of us who have lost someone.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Deda
Date: 13 Nov 03 - 11:27 PM

I think this is a very valuable thread for many of us.

This song by Tim O'Brien and P. Alger packs such an intense grief-releasing wallop, for me, that it had me in tears the first time I heard it, which was surely at least 8 years after my mother's death. At first I studiously avoided listening to it, feeling too vulnerable, and then I would turn it up when it came on the radio, and finally I went out and bought the CD (Tim O'Brien and the O'Boys, "Oh Boy!", on Sugar Hill Records). (Info here.)


Time to Learn

The hand is cold
That once held mine
I can't believe
You've really left this world behind
I can't wait
And I can't hope
I'll get over this in time.

It takes time to learn
When someone's gone for good
That you're not coming back
Like you wish they would
In the empty hours
When you miss them so
Then it's time to learn
To let them go

Your last hours
We never knew
We never had a chance
To say goodbye to you
Words unsaid and things undone
We'd just begun and now
We'll never see them through

It takes time to learn
When someone's gone for good
They're not coming back
Like you wish they would
In the empty hours
When you miss them so
It takes time to learn
To let them go

It takes time to learn
That you're gone for good
You're not coming back
Like I wish you would
In the empty hours
When I miss you so
Then it's time to learn
To let you go

The hand is cold
That once held mine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Partridge
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 12:00 PM

Dear Allison, Just a short note to say I'm thinking about you and wishing you more sunshine and less clouds.
I know when I lost a dear friend in may this year, my initial reaction was "how can the world keep going on" I know it sounds silly but I think it has something to do with shock or something. But the world did go on and after a while so did I. I often talk to my friend and have a feeling he is near me.
I wasn't going to post to this thread because everytime I opened it I ended up in tears, but I remembered the support I got and how important that was. So here I am from a long way away trying to help you feel better.

love

Pat x


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 06:08 PM

Jaze, that is a beautiful thought. I wonder what I will use to remind me of Byron. The view from his home was of lovely hills overlooking a wide valley; there are many such views around here, that may be a good one. But the sunlight ones are more readily available wherever I go. Hmmm, I'll think on this.

Deda, what an incredible song. I don't think I dare listen to it yet, but in time I may go looking for it. Thanks.

Partridge, you don't sound in the least bit silly. Thanks for your messages!

Sometimes the pain is so intense I don't think I can bear another moment, but sometimes I feel so close to Byron and feel his love.
This present moment is a good one. I'm learning to just live in the moments I'm given, most of the time.
I just wish I could sleep better and longer. And I'm still losing weight (not yet a bad thing, unless this trend continues much longer...) even though I'm eating 3 pretty decent meals a day.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: jaze
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 05:38 PM

That's the best thing to do, Allison. Live one day at a time. Keep in touch with old friends and let them be there for you. Staying busy helps too. I know this may sound dumb, but these things do help. Take care.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: bbc
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 06:58 PM

Hi, Allison,

Just back from NOMAD. Wish you could have been there to soak up some love, but I know it would have been very difficult for you. Next year--ok? Take a look at the thread.

love you,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 06:06 AM

Thanks, Barbara. I thought of NOMAD often, and of Carol, Byron's music partner who kept their commitment and played for the Saturday night 9 pm English dance. I'll look at the thread.
After 6 weeks, there are definitely longer moments of peace. But then a memory will come rushing in, or a bad dream (I woke up Sunday am reliving his death). But even that memory has been softened by the EMDR work I did.
I'm not "better". But I'm learning to live the life of an amputee.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Peg
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 04:19 PM

My thoughts are with you Allison. I hope the sage advice of the Catters who love you has been helpful. I know your loss was sudden and this can be so hard to cope with.

I lost a dear young friend to cancer earlier this year, and just this morning my best friend and companion of 16 years, Ziggy the cat. Pets are our unconditional loved ones; our grief for them is less complicated perhaps. This makes me think of all the people I have lost and will still lose. This is a part of being alive. I don't have any other   wise words to impart. But one friend wrote on email: "I am sure that he will carry the story of the love you have given him over the years to the great Gods." I found this sad but true, and comforting.

be well,
peg


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 07:56 PM

How are you, Allison? Are you still seeing friends, doing some singing, talking to your children? Please let us know how you are.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 05:36 AM

I had a few days of relative stability but this week has begun back in the valley of the shadow. I'm functioning, but that's all. Still losing weight, still not sleeping great.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Menolly
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 10:00 AM

My best wishes are with you Allison. I think about you every day. There are blue skies, just not every day but they come more frequently after a while. How long varies from person to person. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Amos
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 10:08 AM

Allison:

Remind yourself about breathing, okay? Deep and regular.

Love,


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 11:03 AM

The other recommendation I can make is to see a grief counsellor, which I have frequently and desperately wished I had done. It's difficult -- at the time I really needed to see someone I was not in a fit state to pursue it. If you have any opportunity at all (difficult when you're working full time), even a couple of visits might be helpful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 05:04 AM

I'm seeing one. But I still have to get through each day (and each night).


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Guest. L
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 06:55 AM

PDC seems to have a handle on it. Don't beatup on yourself if you don't feel your behaviour is socially acceptable. It will take as long as it takes. I recovered from losing a husband and my children's father, in 3 years. It was a lot more difficult 20 years down the track, to bear the loss of my daughter. It took 6 or 7 years to laugh again. Now 13yrs on I am bawling away as I type this for you, and miss her every single day. I now have new interests that help but for a long time I could not find any enjoyment in new interests or people. So it just takes as long as it takes to cut a swathe through your existance.
Be kind to yourself.
L


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 04:31 PM

Allison, Still sending you thoughts from down here. Still thinking of you. Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GracieK
Date: 21 Nov 03 - 01:35 PM

Hello everyone;

Like many of you I suffered from the loss of loved ones -- both inside and outside the folkie community. Just less than 2 years ago I lost both my younger brother and mother within a period of 1 month. Things have gotten better over time. Truthfully, aside from grief, the settlement of the estates was a nightmare. Now that this is done, things are more peaceful. I was fortunate to have family and friends with whom I could share my feelings. A song that came to mind at that difficult time was a Steelye Span song which goes something like the following:

If I were a singer
I'd sing you a song
A song that would remain in your heart forever
I'd sing it loud and strong
every single word.
When my life is over
and I'll not see you again
The singer may die
but the song will remain.

Keep Singing !!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 21 Nov 03 - 11:28 PM

I have been lucky so far, and not experienced the kind of loss you are dealing with, but my heart goes out to you.

One song that comes to mind is Stuart Stott's "Music in my Mother's House" (not in the DT but can be found in a thread) -- one verse in particular:

Those days come back so clearly, although I'm far away
She gave me the kind of gift I love to give away
When my mother died, she'd sung her last song
We sat in the living room singing all night long.

Singing la-la; la-la
Singing the front porch songs
Singing the old torch songs
La-la; la-la
Singing the hymns to send her home.


The other song that comes to mind is Bob Franke's Thanksgiving Eve (in the DT [0.7742]:

It's so easy to dream of the days gone by
It's a hard thing to think of the times to come
But the grace to accept every moment as a gift
Is a gift that is given to some

What can you do with your days
But work and hope
Let your dreams bind your work to your play
What can you do with each moment of your life
But love 'till you've loved it away
Love 'till you've loved it away.

There are sorrows enough for the whole world's end
There are no guarantees but the grave
But the life that I live and the times that I spend
Are a treasure too precious to save.

As it was, so it is, as it is shall it be,
And it shall be while lips that kiss have breath;
Many waters indeed only nurture Love's seed
And its flower overshadows the power of death.


Perhaps you already have come up with these songs yourself, but thought I'd mention them. Hope they may offer some small comfort.

Hugs,

YY


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 07:08 AM

I am just amazed at the love and support radiating from you all. I can't believe how you're keeping this thread alive. Know that all the good wishes and hugs and love are having an affect- my head is still above water, I haven't drowned and I have glimmers of hope of survival.
Guest L, thanks for the insight. I'm learning that I'm not just visiting this new planet, I'm a permanent resident.
Joybell, it blows my mind that there are loving hearts caring for me all over this planet.
GracieK, I thought I knew most of Steeleye Span. What recording has that song? I'd love to hear it!
Yorkshire Yankee, you've mentioned two songs that mean so much to me. Bob Franke has put so many things into words for me that I have struggled to say. "Thanksgiving eve" got me through the pain of the tragedy of 9/11, and it's been echoing back in my heart lately. The other Franke song that keeps coming back has the refrain,
"There's a hole in the middle of the prettiest life,
So the lawyers and the prophets say.
Not your father nor your mother nor your lover's gonna ever make it go away.
Now there's too much darkness in an endless night
To be afraid of the way we feel
Let's be kind to each other
Not forever, but for real"


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 24 Nov 03 - 10:53 PM

Animaterra,

It's good to hear that your suffering has begun to subside (even just a little bit), and that the flood of care and support directed your way have managed to provide some comfort. Because many of us have been fortunate enough not to have suffered such a terrible loss ourselves, it can be hard to know "the right thing" to say (actually, it is not so much trying to say "the right thing" as being very afraid of saying "the *wrong* thing...). In my case, I feel the best I can offer is the words, wisdom and eloquence of writers whose work has meant so much to me over the years (*decades* actually...).

So here are a couple more things that came to mind last night as I was thinking of you/your situation (again, you are probably already quite familiar with these, but perhaps you have not thought of them recently...):

From "The Velveteen Rabbit" (by Margery Williams)

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."

====================================

From "The Little Prince" (by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near---

"Ah," said the fox, "I shall cry."

"It is your own fault," said the little prince."I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you. . ."

"Yes that is so", said the fox.

"But now you are going to cry!" said the little prince.

"Yes that is so" said the fox.

"Then it has done you no good at all!"

"It has done me good," said the fox, "because of the color of the wheat fields."
And then he added: "go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret."

. . .

And he went back to meet the fox. "Goodbye" he said.

"Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

"It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.

"It is the time I have wasted for my rose--" said the little prince so he would be sure to remember.

"Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose. . ."

"I am responsible for my rose," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

. . .

One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets himself be tamed . . .

. . .

"All men have the stars," he answered, "but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You--you alone--will have the stars as no one else has them--"

"What are you trying to say?"

"In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night . . . You--only you--will have stars that can laugh!"

And he laughed again.

"And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure . . . And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, 'Yes, the stars always make me laugh!' And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you . . ."
And he laughed again.

"It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh . . ."

====================================

Wishing you peace,

YY


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 08:29 AM

Thanks, YY- those are some of my favorite stories from long ago.

I'm learning that this New Planet has some paths that are fairly smooth and straight, but also land mines, ambushes, booby traps. Just when I think I'm getting "better" I get assaulted by a torrent of tears. Yesterday driving home from work there was no obvious trigger- I had to pull the car over, as I was wracked by sobs.
Those episodes are exhausting and take hours to recover from.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Peg
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 09:03 AM

I hope a little advice on a more physiological level might be helpful. I am sure all the advice on breathing etc. is something you've thought of. You haven't said if you have much appetitie, and I would guess sleep is either hard to get or hard to emerge from.

May I recommend some things that are good for stress and may help even out your mood? These are all very subtle with no side effects or radical change. They are nice holistic ways to take care of yourself.

Calcium supplements. Take them an hour before bed and they'll help sleep come, and will help the physical symptoms of stress immensely. Most of them now come with magnesium and zinc added, which are also good. They absorb better with vitamin C, so taking a nice chewable or a bit of juice will help.

Herbal teas to help digestion (drink after a meal) and to calm your nerves. Chamomile, St. John's Wort, Peppermint, Red Clover, Lavender. I would be happy to make you up a batch and send you some (I have some of these herbs in bulk) if you PM me your address.

Consider St. John's wort capsules. It takes several weeks to kick in sometimes, but does have an effect on mild depression. It does not work like an anti-depressant but it might make your daily struggle a bit easier to bear. I find it helps me find the good parts of the day more easily.

Essential oils: in the bath, the shower, a diffuser, or mixed into your body lotion. All the citrus oils are very uplifting. Lemon, orange, grapefruit, bergamot, mandarin, etc. I can get these wholesale and also have lots of them around, so I could make up a blend for you of these, too if you like.

I hope it gets better for you but of course it will take time. The death of a beloved partner is, they say, the very worst event we can go through in terms of stress. Know that we all love you and are thinking of you here at the Mudcat. Maybe we need to plan a Northeast get-together for music and food and drink this holiday season?

peg


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Joybell
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 03:31 PM

Count me in for that get-together - in spirit because I'm too far away. Sending the sunshine that's outside our window to you Allison. Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 04:28 PM

May a non-musical stranger show up? I can't play an instrument, and can no longer sing (now denied permission by those around me), but I'm the most important person in the industry -- I love music, and buy it in whatever form I can, all the time!

Today my daughter would have been 33. How thin and paltry to light a candle under her photograph instead of putting candles on a cake for her.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 05:26 PM

A Northeast Get together! Consider it done! Peg, do you want to start another thread, or is it just for the grievers among us?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: bbc
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 05:49 PM

I would certainly see if I can attend.

love,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,jaze
Date: 25 Nov 03 - 06:52 PM

pdc: You light the candle because your care-better than any cake!

Allison, if there is a local support group for the bereaved, it may be helpful. People in similar situations who can lend an understanding ear. Sometimes people are afraid of "burdening" their frieds or relatives, but a support group may be helpful. Take care.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 27 Nov 03 - 01:28 PM

Animaterra wrote:
I'm learning that this New Planet has some paths that are fairly smooth and straight, but also land mines, ambushes, booby traps. Just when I think I'm getting "better" I get assaulted by a torrent of tears. Yesterday driving home from work there was no obvious trigger- I had to pull the car over, as I was wracked by sobs.
Those episodes are exhausting and take hours to recover from.

For what it's worth... I know that this is not unusual(from talks with a dear friend who lost her husband very suddenly a couple of years ago). This is *not* to belittle what's happening to you -- rather to reassure you that your reactions are not "over-reactions". You are attempting to "tolerate" the intolerable. We are complex creatures; the event which turns a life upside down may take only moments, but it takes too bloody many of those moments to regain some small semblance of equilibrium. Life would be so much easier if it didn't... what can I say?

Just know that you are not alone -- in more senses than one.

Hugs,

YY


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,heather
Date: 27 Nov 03 - 05:20 PM

I lost someone very dear to me almost 30 years ago. It took me 20 years to get to a stage where I felt I had come to terms with it. I should probably have gone to therapy as a child, but that was not the done thing in the Uk all those years ago.

However, I was given one piece of advice that I believe helped me. I was told that one day I would wake up and it wouldn't be the first thing on my mind. That happened. To be honest it probably took a year for that to happen. But it did.

And I was told that the time would come when I would pass one whole day without thinking about the person I lost. That took a long, long, time to happen. But it did.

Bereavement can be a hellish thing. But it does hurt less as time goes by. I am amazed at how us humans DO heal and and how life DOES go on. Cry it all out. And cry some more. One day it will feel a little better. And another day it will feel a whole load better.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 27 Nov 03 - 06:43 PM

Heather's statements are the truest ones you will hear, Allison. I remember the first time I didn't think about my daughter for a day, that I felt guilty when I realized it. Felt guilty the first time I laughed after her death. Felt guilty when I didn't dream about her, didn't think of her first thing in the morning -- all these things happen, and they are a sign of human resilience and health and healing.

The tears help more than anything else.

Good post, Heather.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Nov 03 - 07:02 PM

Just thought y'all might like to know, Allison is with people today.

Also, she has been sharing with me how much all of you mean to her, individually and collectively.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 27 Nov 03 - 07:43 PM

Yes, I was with a good crowd of folks from the village church. Before the feast, I baked pies with my daughter (last year Byron helped me because Maggie was at her dad's; this year she was right by my side).
Dinner was busy and crowded, lots of good hugs and yes, laughter. Stayed after dinner and played a silly game. Came home and absolutely collapsed, but I'm getting to recognize these spells and I'm more or less over this one.
And I've given thanks over and over again for my planetary circle of loving hands that are lifting me up and holding me close. And I give thanks for the nearly 2 years Byron was the heart of my heart, and for all he gave me and all he taught me. For emails, phone calls, notes in the mail, and the amazing strength and that shines through each one of you. Thank you all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 09:10 AM

We're thinking of you, Allison. First Christmas season. Joys and heartaches. Memories and strange planet celebrations.

Ready to walk through it, with you.

love,

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Raptor
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 10:38 PM

If you want to talk I know where you're comming from my wife died suddenly on friday night!

David


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 02:56 PM

I don't contribute more because I just don't feel like I can say anything or do anything that might help. I read every word that gets posted in this thread though, and I think of you. Now, it's both of you.

I honestly have no idea what you both must have gone and be going through, other than what's posted here. If internet hugs aren't too cheap, you both have them. I give 'em in real life and you've got all you want in whatever form I can give 'em.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Menolly
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 04:23 PM

Jeri - I feel so like you! I have been in the situation but every one is so individual and my ways of coping do not suit everybody, but I keep praying for you both and wish you the very best possible.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 07:10 PM

Oh, David,
I'm so sorry to welcome you to this New Planet. Read through this whole thread if you can (I printed it out, but I must warn you that it's over 50 pages long!). I have PMd you and hope you'll take me up on my offer to talk.

WYSYWYG is right; it isn't getting easier in this "season-to-be-jolly". The black pit opens up unexpectedly in all kinds of ways and places. David, when it happens, try to picture all the candles burning for you and your wife. Come here when you can, tell us stories about her, or just come here to rant. We love you.

Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: bbc
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 07:25 PM

Oh, David, we are all so sorry. I hope you can find some comfort in knowing that others care about your pain.

best,

Barbara in NY


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 08:23 PM

And any of you who know Alison or David personally, please don't make the mistake of avoiding the subject. To Alison, Byron's name is "music to her ears/tears to her eyes," and that's a good thing. David's loss is so new that he will be in shock for a while -- but please, please, don't forget to talk about his wife to him when he can function. There's nothing worse than acting as though the person had never existed.

I'm so sorry for both Alison and David -- sometimes life is just too hard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 06:34 AM

Refresh for David.
He called me last night- I'm so glad you did, David!
He's numb and still in shock- keep those candles and prayers coming, and also PM him, or phone him if you live nearby!
Hang in there, my friend.
Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Mato Nupai
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 10:44 AM

I wish I had some words of comfort, but, I have never learned to live with loss. The only comfort I find is in being quite sure we will all meet again in the spirit world on the other side of the veil. Byron is not dead, he has gone on ahead, and he's waiting for you.
-----

You are exactly correct. Your friend and family members are not dead. they have just transitioned from the physical world to the spirit world.

You do need yo remember there in the spirit world; there is no time. You may stay here another 60 years or more; but when you cross into the Sp[irit world; to your friend it will seem as is they were just waiting for you a minute or two.

Two Bears.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Mato Nupai
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 10:58 AM

Well, yesterday I was wearing dress pants with those stupid "girl pockets" that aren't worth anything, and I've lost my pocket angel. Funnily, I'm not as shattered by it as I would have been even a week ago. But I do miss it

----

Do not worry about it. Someone else needed that angel more than you do.

I read in another message that your friends to not call often, E-mail me two_bears@mindspring.com and I will be in touch with you via E-Mail. If you are comfortable in sending your phone number in E-Mail; send me your phone number, and I will call you occasionaly to check how you are doing, and lend a shoulder to cry on.

Little Hawk and Daylia both know me, and they can tell you about me.

Aloha nui loa

Two Bears.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Mato Nupai
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 11:19 AM

I don't contribute more because I just don't feel like I can say anything or do anything that might help. I read every word that gets posted in this thread though, and I think of you. Now, it's both of you.
----

You should never put yourself down.

There are many things you can do yo help Allison and David.

A simple message that tells them you are thinking of them. This way they do not feel alone.

Tell a joke to lift their mood.

A simple smile will lift their mood, etc.

Two Bears.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Raptor
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 11:42 AM

Two Bears acquire my e-mail addy from Little Hawk

David


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 11:45 AM

Two Bears my friend, welcome to Mudcat. There is a diversity of beliefs and solid experience in this community; I think you will find that you will be welcomed to be part of that and to offer any wisdom you feel you have gained in life, to share.

I see that you have a particular gift of compassionate helpfulness. I write in the hope that such a spirit desires to grow in helpfulness and I offer some background experience in such matters, to enlarge your view of Mudcat just slightly, so that your gifts might be used most effectively.

I would like to encourage you to be very restrained about commenting on the appropriateness of individuals' advice/sharing in threads such as these. In a forum like Mudcat, a comment can become the spark for a debate, and debates have (too often) devolved into division and acrimony. Many Mudcat threads are fine examples of this, when topics seem to invite this. It's not unusual to see broad and energetic debate and the tools of rhetoric or exhortation employed freely and with great relish. But that kind of communication distracts from the spirit of open supportiveness that should characterize a topic like this one, and Raptor's, started with such personal intensity. Those of us who have been here for some time have learned to avoid debating what might be most helpful, because some of us have learned the hard way, at great cost, the result of preaching any particular view.

On the other hand, this is a community woven in diversity, by people who have the luxury of being able to know one another well for some time, in an atmosphere where we trust people to use what is helpful to them and simply discard the rest.... there is an atmosphere of expecting people to think well for themselves about what they need, and also of expecting people to share openly whatever they think might be helpful when support is asked.

What has usually proved most helpful is that folks have simply offered their own perspective, and I encourage you to do that. People for whom your perspective resonates as personally applicable will tune in; you can trust that in such circumstances, people will be in communication with you privately.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Raptor
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 12:22 PM

I would like to thank all for thier support, advice, and kind words!

Raptor

Between Little Hawk, Daylia, and family I will be OK.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: jaze
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 12:53 PM

My deepest sympathies, David.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Mato Nupai
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 08:06 PM

I would like to thank all for thier support, advice, and kind words!
--

Aloha nui loa David; my brother.

Of course I will be glad to help any way I can.

Two Bears


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 01:29 PM

Let's keep this thread alive for David's sake. (I'm benefiting, too!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 06:46 PM

Allison, I would like to add my own voice to those many here who are sending you support and concern in your time of grieving. I've been kind of busy with David's situation, but have gotten around to reading most of this thread now. I don't think anyone truly dies, but they certainly leave this physical realm, and not necessarily when we expect it, that's for sure.

I believe all those we loved are just a heartbeat away, and we shall see them again in good time.

I don't know if you would see it that way, but I am sending my love and condolences. Blessed be.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Escamillo
Date: 07 Dec 03 - 05:03 AM

I've posted some words at David's thread, but I have to confess I entirely missed the threads on Allison's loss. Since I lost my dear wife Graciela on Dec 02, 2002 (incredibly, one year ago), I retired from musical activities and regrettably reduced contacts with many friends like those of the Mudcat. I lost the words to say, and the thoughts to share, and the light of my mind. After one year I still don't say that I want things to go better, because I don't feel the need for anything to go better, I consider my life was well done, and I was incredibly fortunate, and I still am fortunate by living and working for my sons and one grandson (hope to see more little critters).

Last October I participated in a chamber concert, and sung "Lazy Bones" and "Sometimes I Feel" (those who know me, will remember how I love Southern old songs) and felt again the emotional feedback of people. Next Friday I'll sing as tenor in the mass (organ and large choir) for her anniversary at the same church we married in 1972.

As unbeleivable as it may sound, a woman appeared very recently, she is lovely, is an artist of folk dance, she respects my wife's memory as if she was a friend of her. She got her divorce many years ago after many years of suffering (victim of some domestic violence). I've welcome her, as my wife told me to do, as myself would have told her to do. No celebration, no fireworks, just acceptance of this extra time I'm allowed to live, and try to be something good for someone, love and respect her, and be a father for my sons. How long? I don't know, nothing counts, everything was already done, the concert is over and the audience claims for some extra song. We can't be more grateful.

Hope this experience helps a little, Allison and David. My thoughts are with you. Un abrazo,
Andrés (Buenos Aires, Argentina)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 07 Dec 03 - 06:35 AM

Thanks, Little Hawk, I absolutely agree with you about "those who have gone before".
Andres, I am so happy for you. I know Byron would want me to find love but for now I can't imagine there being another man of his calibre on this planet.
I'm learning that we are put here to love, but that love takes many forms. So I'm trying to learn to live without Byron's presence, but to live a life that's as loving as possible.
That doesn't mean there aren't moments approaching despair. They come daily. But the love of friends and of God and, yes, of Byron, is getting me through.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: jaze
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 10:23 PM

Allison and David--I just came across something someone said to me that I think is important to keep in mind. "Don't cry because they're gone--smile because they were here." Happy holidays to you both. Please try to smile. James


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 10:30 PM

ANDRES!!!!!! No one could be happier for you than I am!!! I remember that sad and almost inconsolate man I talked with by phone last Christmas and hoping that he would find reason for his life again. I am sorry we didn't meet those days in Florida.....

BUT----You have made my day and I am going to run down to the den right now and tell Karen!!!

Many Blessings My Friend

(And Allison you know I love you too)

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Escamillo
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 05:04 AM

Thanks Spaw, you know what I mean when I talk about making someone a little happier, and how important is that for ourselves and our children, even when our grief will not find an end. I'll send you a PM. For David and Allison, all my wishes for them to find a reason to give themselves to someone or to many people, or to their faith.

Un abrazo,
Andrés


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 06:05 AM

Andres, I'm so happy for you.
Spaw, back atcha!
Jaze, it's early for us to smile, but I do, occasionally. One of the things that helps is how much Byron was loved by so many of our mutual friends. We can joke and tell stories and remember him.
But right now I can't imagine ever finding another man of his calibre. Maybe some day my heart will be ready but for now, it seems impossible.
Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 14 Dec 03 - 10:47 PM

I have been trying to remember the name/author of a book which a bereaved friend found of great comfort (quite a few years ago)... without success. I went to Amazon and did a search -- hoping that if I saw the name I would recognize it, but no such luck.

However, I did happen across a few lists of "best" books on the subject (compiled by people who appear to have some knowledge of such things) which I thought might be worth posting here. (Not surprisingly, there's a certain amount of overlap -- several books appear on every list.)

Animaterra and Raptor -- I realize I don't know either of you well enough to know whether you are likely to find some solace in a book, so I would not be so presumptuous as to "recommend" that you read one of these books. But I figured it couldn't hurt to let you know about some of the books that are out there (a number of them written by people who have themselves been through the anguish of losing the love of their life), so that -- IF you are so inclined -- it's that little bit easier to check it out... I've looked over titles & reviews, and have posted as well a little bit of info on those books I thought looked most promising (again, not that I think I know what's best for you, but just to give you a taste of what's available without making you spend time & effort to check it out).


Top books on Grief - by Sarah W (nurse)
includes:

I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One
- by Brook Noel, Pamela D., PH.D. Blair
a couple of reviews:

"The death of a loved one is always an emotionally difficult experience. When it comes suddenly and unexpectedly it is even more difficult. In "I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye" the authors take you through the grieving process as well as learning how to deal with such a tragic loss. The first part of the book deals with issues from how to survive the first few weeks to understanding the emotional and physical aspects of grief to dispelling myths about the grieving process.

The second part is mainly the sharing of the stories of various people who have experienced the sudden loss of a loved one. The stories include the loss of a friend, a parent, a child, a partner, and a sibling. This section examines the various related problems that sometimes exist as a result of a loss. For example, losing a partner but having surviving children, dealing with a suicide, and the difficulties of couples surviving the loss of a child are all discussed.

The third section discusses some of the pathways that people take through grief. Of particular importance is that is clearly dispels the myth that we all have a particular pathway that we use to move on past a loss. Each one of us is different and we all have our ways of dealing with grief. What may take one person six months to recover from may take another ten years, some may cry, some may not, some may experience forgetfulness, some may not, we are all different.

Throughout the book the authors discuss how to be a helpful friend for those who are going through the grieving process. The book finishes with a listing of support and resource contacts. For those dealing with the loss of a loved one, or for those who want to help someone who is, this is a highly recommended read."
_____

"I have never been so touched by a book as I was I WASN'T READY TO SAY GOODBYE. After I loss my son I felt like I was walking in a cloud or a haze. Everything seemed surreal. No one anywhere seemed to understand what I was going through. A friend who had lost a sister gave me this book. I didn't think i would be able to read with all the pain I was facing but I opened it and started reading. I found so much comfort and wisdom in the words of these two women. The experiences they each went through were incredible and shared with such caring. They covered every aspect of the grieving process and included many exercises and ideas for getting back on track with life at our OWN pace--not the pace of someone else. I can't imagine a more helpful book. Everyone who is grieving, or knows someone who is, should have a copy."

Conquering the Mysteries and Lies of Grief - by Sherry Russell
from one of the reviews:
"..told me that this might be a very interesting little book. She was right on both counts. It was packed with information and ideas and at only 105 pages it was a quick read.

The author blends her personal insight with quotes from the interviews she conducted. She pinpoints the differences between men and women and how they deal with grief.

Early on she states that your grief is like a bridge that you must cross from what used to be to what now exists. That trip isn't fast or easy, but it must be taken in order to feel like you have regained some control in your life. Her references to the stepping-stones or stumbling blocks, rather than the phases of grief, are easy to visualize. She offers information on stress and how it can affect us emotionally and physically, along with some suggestions for dealing with it.

Chapter Eight is her Exercise in Truth. It offers a list of questions to analyze your relationship with the one who died as well as those around you. She also touches on family dynamics and the need to work together on the new reality you face.

And the last chapter of Sherry Russell's book offers some Pain Relievers and hope - two things I know we all long for. This is definitely a book I would recommend."

====================================

Excellent books on Grief and Loss - by Kathy Bosworth, Author/Reviewer
includes:

How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies - by Therese A. Rando
A couple of reviews:
"After our son died I was devastated. I needed to understand the feelings that I was now experiencing and how to cope with them. This book was the clearest and most compassionate resource on grief that I've found. Dr. Rando discusses every unique type of loss a person could face and then goes on to explain why you will feel as you do. The last part of her book is dedicated to helping you understand how to resolve grief and heal from such loss. So far I have given away 4 copies of this book to friends and family. I even gave one to my sons psychiatrist. They have all had high praises for the book. Personally, I don't know how I would have survived this past year without it!"
_____

"I have read numerous grief books, but this is one of my favorites. I underlined some passages in the section about how to keep the loved one "alive" appropriately. Seven months after losing someone I dearly loved, I'm still working through my grief. I pick up this book from time to time. For other situations, I also recommend Carol Staudacher's book on "Men and Grief." If I'd had that book several years ago when my late friend suddenly lost his daughter, I might have been able to help him more."

and:

I'm Grieving As Fast As I Can: How Young Widows and Widowers Can Cope and Heal - by Linda Sones Feinberg
One review:
" Being a young widower only 7 months into this hell I found that this book was very helpful in explaining that I was not alone in this world and there are many others like me. The many quotes used in the book have been said over and over in my mind a thousand times. It covers topics that no other books I have found does like dating, personal and family stresses, and many of the guilts we place on ourself and how other place their guilt onto us to ease their own. If you are not a widow or widower it is still a wonderful book to help you understand us and how we think.

This book is a must for any young person who has lost a spouse or someone who is close to them. If you know of someone buy it for them Don't make them find it on their own like I had to. It is noted in this book and I must agree that it is not for the newly widowed...wait a couple months before giving it to them."

====================================

The best bereavement books - by Sherry Russell (grief specialist)

includes:
Tear Soup - by Pat Schweibert, et al
one of the reviews:
"I am a Marriage and Family Therapist who recently lost my beloved Mother. Her death was sudden and unexpected. I received this book as a gift to help me through my first birthday without my Mother. This book is absolutely tremendous in it's ability to address the truth of grief. This is a must have for both the bereaved and any professional who works with clients both young and old. I particularly enjoyed the way the book addressed the responses of the people around the bereaved--it was very healing and I will be purchasing several copies to give to people who have suffered a great loss."

and (not surprisingly) her own book (see above).

====================================

A list of Grief Resources (also by Sherry Russell)
includes:

Awakening from Grief: Finding the Road Back to Joy - by John E. Welshons
Excerpts of reviews:

"If you are grieving, this book will comfort you. If not, it will prepare you for that which is not small stuff."
_____

"This book is exactly what you need to heal your aching heart . . . it will feel like a warm shower running inside of you where coldness previously lived . . ."
_____

"In my house I have a box in which I reverentially keep those few precious writings and items that most help me heal from the death of my daughter last year.
"Awakening From Grief" is in that box. Believe me, I've read a whole lot of grief books and this is one of the best."

====================================

Hope this "info dump" is not overwhelming -- just thought one (or both) of you might find something in there that might offer some degree of comfort and/or help you adjust to this "new planet" on which you -- so very unwillingly -- now find yourselves.

Wishing you peace,

YY


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Two_bears
Date: 15 Dec 03 - 08:37 AM

>But right now I can't imagine ever finding another man of his
>calibre. Maybe some day my heart will be ready but for now, it seems
>impossible.

Aloha nui loa Allison; my sister.

Never say never because life has a way of making one eat their words.

All the best to your and yours in theis holliday season.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: *daylia*
Date: 15 Dec 03 - 09:14 AM

Yorkshire Yankee, thanks for posting all that helpful info and those links too. I'm sure many people will find help and comfort in what you've offered here.

Two Bears, you're absolutely right about " Never say never because life has a way of making one eat their words. For this reason, I refrain from saying things like "Me hug an Octopus? NEVER!!!"   ;-)

Allison, how are you doing? Just checkin in ...

Love and blessings,

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Helen
Date: 24 Dec 03 - 04:18 PM

A Christmas wish for Animaterra, Raptor, and anyone else who is faced with the conflicting emotions, and emotional roller coaster of Christmas season.

Lots of love and hugs, from Oz, where it is 8.16 am Christmas Day. I'm thinking of all of you and I know how difficult this time can be, so remember the good times as much as possible, and allow yourself to grieve for the fact that your loved one is not here with you today.

Lots of love and hugs
Helen


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 24 Dec 03 - 05:16 PM

I missed your post, daylia, thanks for checking in. Thanks for the hugs from the "future", Helen!

It's a bittersweet time, I miss my beloved so keenly, but I just had a blessing in the form of my dear friend and neighbor who has been in Arizona since August to be with her new grandson; she came home early and stopped to see me before anyone else. The night Byron died, when the EMT asked who to call to meet me at the hospital, she was the first one I thought of, even though she was 3000 miles away (so he called 2 other dear friends).
I've had a healing visit and can now face the candlelight service for the first year without my beloved. I don't promise not to cry, though.

Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 24 Dec 03 - 06:35 PM

Allison, of course you will cry, and of course you should -- it honors Byron and the relationship that mattered so much to both of you.

I hope the tears bring some relief, even if short-lived, and that your family and friends bring some comfort. Have a good Christmas.

-- pdc


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Pistachio
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 02:43 PM

It's nineteen years since my Dad died on his birthday, Dec 27th, and we held his funeral on Hogmanay...ready to start the new Year afresh. You can't forget your loved one and it's not easy to get over the 'first (or any) Christmas, birthday, anniversary without them there. Reminders are around everywhere...but SO ARE FRIENDS - Mudcatters too - who have filled these pages with such love and help. I hoped to meet an old pal next week after 14 years but sadly his Father died on Christmas Eve..and he's got a lot of sorting out to do. I felt able to talk to him about his grief and thanks to many comments made 'here' I was able to give helpful suggestions along with my heartfelt wishes. David was one who was 'there' for me after my Fathers death and when I sat night after night crying to him and Elaine about my Dad I always apologised for ruining their evenings. They always replied that though they hadn't been through the grief of losing a parent they'd be likely to experience it in the future and helping me through my grief might help them when 'their time 'came. Now it has! I shall get on the phone and maybe call in when I'm down their part of the country. All too soon we forget how much that message/call/thought/ really counted. KEEP IN TOUCH. The griever may not react to every call or offer of help. Remember they cannot be expected to think too clearly while still in shock. I believe Allison, through her sadness, still recognises just how much love is generating towards her and I hope David (Raptor) can gain from that same love. David, I offer you my hugs and thoughts. Take the time to keep in touch, give yourself time to grieve and don't be afraid to cry. It is allowed! Take care.
Hazel.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Raptor
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 06:44 PM

How are you making out now Allison?

David


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 01:07 PM

Oh, David, how kind you are to ask. I've been thinking of you, too.

It's been 101 days since Byron died. I promised myself I'd stop counting after 100. I still cry every single day, I still can't really believe he's dead. I still miss him like I'd miss an arm or a leg. I am still so much in love with him.

I've lost nearly 20 lbs, but that seems to be stabilizing.

Most of my friends don't bring him up much in conversation anymore. He's part of their past, though he's still so much a part of my present.

But the daily existance part of this is easier. I can also laugh, joke, get through each day. I'm having the hardest time with getting ready for a new chorus concert season- just finding the time and collecting the music feels more like a chore. And Byron used to record my "teaching tape" for me, and I have to do it on my own with the lowest possible technology this year. That feels like more work than I feel up to.
But I sing with friends, and I'm learning to play the concertina, which feels like the instrument I've been lookng for all my life!

So, I'm surviving, despite my expectations. And I'm grateful for good friends.

Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Amergin
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 04:01 PM

Last February my Opa died from cancer...we were with him when he went...we knew it was coming....but it didn't make it any easier when it happened...Growing up he was always coming up the hill from his barn where he stored all of the tools...always holding something in his hand...always telling my dad to take a look at it...so we would go down to the barn and play with the tools and talk a bit...then we would go back up to the house and have some coffee...after he died...it was like the house was half empty...I would look towards the barn half expecting him to be coming up the hill...but he never would...Oma felt so lonesome there too....she would sit on the couch with her husband's favourite cat in her lap...and just cry...last summer me and my brother, Brady, were cleaning up the place to get ready for Oma to move...she was happy that we were there, for then she would have the company....she would always come down to give us water...and then fix lovely lunches for us...it was hard work....but we enjoyed doing it....it was for oma...

I still remember the day Opa died....the word was out the weekend previous to his passing that he didn't have long...just a few days...so we were waiting for the word that he had gone...

I was taking a bath and reading...but apparently the phone kept ringing...with my hearing problem I never heard it...but they called mom's cell phone...just as she was coming back...and she came back to the house and told me...i hurriedly got my jammies on (that was what i was wearing before the bath)..and ran out to the car...hopeing we would be able to make it in time....we got to the house and sat there holding his hand....talking to him...weeping for him...watching the breathing become less and less frequent....then finally it stopped altogether...he was gone...I held my tears back....seeing everyone else cry....and went downstairs...my mom was in there consoling my brother...and i went to them and broke down...sobbing and wailing...as I could not hold the pressure of the pain back...an hour later the mortician came for him...and I remember kissing Opa's forehead...and feeling how cold it was....an empty cold...lifeless...

At his memorial service I read a poem I wrote after he died...my voice breaking at each line...then during the reception people were coming up to me saying that they liked it...and how it made them cry too...and I went to my Oma and told her something I never have told her before I ehld her and whispered into her ear, I love you. She held my face and said Oh Nathan I love you too...I always have...I tell her that more often now...I only told opa that once...after he got sick...on his birthday...never hesitate to tell the ones you love that you love them...those three simple words can mean the world...My best to you both.

there are no goobyes

there are no goodbyes
I think as I see you lying there
Gasping, struggling for breath
Ruminating over things unsaid
Little things that mean the world
"I love you" "Thank you for the years"
"I always thought of you as my grandpa"
but there are no goodbyes

There are no goodbyes
I think as we hold each other
Wiping our tears from our eyes
Bodies shaking in deep sorrow
Rubbish bins filling with spent tissue
Quivering voices whispering their loss
Whispering farewell to your vacant shell
But there are no goodbyes

There are no goodbyes
I think as I softly kiss your forehead
Feeling the cold lifeless skin upon my lips
My heart trembling at the touch
But I know that was not you
The gods had already called you home.
So many things I wanted to say
But there are no goodbyes.

nt


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 05:14 PM

Nathan, that's beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I do know I'm learning so much about living and loving and cherishing each moment. I'm grateful to know that Byron and I did not take each other for granted, but I still wish for more moments with him.

Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 25 Jan 04 - 07:55 PM

Byron's birthday is this Wednesday, Jan. 28. I have a good group of friends to come over and sing our hearts out, maybe have a bonfire.

Yesterday I went to a family wedding. Cried copiously all through the vows and through the homily which was about finding love later in life, accepting it as a gift. Byron and I never got the chance to stand up and affirm our commitment to our community.

So it's been a bump in the process. But I'm also finding peace and healing along the way. The sorrow is like a lump of pain that never goes away, but I'm learning to live with it and around it, not to let it rule me all the time.

Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Helen
Date: 25 Jan 04 - 10:22 PM

I've been thinking about you this week, Allison, because I had been looking at the Mudcat birthdays page and saw that Byron's birthday is coming up. Anniversaries and birthdays are usually pretty traumatic, one way or another, so making arrangements for people you care about, and who care about you, to be with you on that day is a very good idea.

Singing is also a wonderful therapeutic activity..

My thoughts are with you, and with David in his loss.

Helen


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: bbc
Date: 25 Jan 04 - 10:29 PM

I'm glad to know you, Allison; you are a beautiful woman, through & through.

Sending you love,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 26 Jan 04 - 06:11 AM

Gee, thanks Barbara!

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Escamillo
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 03:37 AM

I keep looking for this thread because I know what you feel. You may remember that after one year, I am finding love and comprehension, and giving everything I can give, to a good woman who loves me and respects my wife's memory as if she was an old friend of her.

But the curious thing is that I don't care for life or death, I see them as the same, as a continuity in which I happen to be in this side. My age (57) could be a good reason, because I feel that my life was already very well done, and this is an extra time I'm allowed to stay. As such, I don't care for stupid things, I don't admire anybody except artists, I try to teach everything I know, to my sons, to my new loved one and her son, to other people. I try to be kind to everyone, and I write a lot, because I don't want to leave without a word for those whom I love. This lady is an amateur dancer in a group of mature people, and loves to put her soul on the stage. Following her path I am singing again, a little now, may be more in the future.
We have already talked abouth our own farewell, and all the pain, and have accepted that we can't live in the fear of death. We are just learning to do our best, and not worry about the end.

Un abrazo,
Andrés


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 06:16 AM

Andres, I am deeply moved - thank you so much for your words. You are the same age as Byron, and I know he too had reached a point where he recognized every day given to him as a gift. He too had narrowed his priorities about what was important in life, and he too wanted his loved ones to love and learn and be loved by him.


You are a very wise man, and your beloved is blessed indeed.

Love,

Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Pistachio
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 04:33 PM

I'm flit between this thread and 'Raptors and the love for you both is ringing clear. I hope tomorrow you have a great time singing and the bonfire burns brightly for Byron. I just love looking in to the flames, watching the logs as they glow. You take care, take a deep breath,enjoy the celebration and sing out. Hugs, from Hazel.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: kendall
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 07:06 PM

My youngest daughter is 32 on January 28. You may remember that the Challenger blew up on this date, and my good friend Marshall Dodge (Bert & I) died in this date.

You are still in my thoughts dear.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 07:14 PM

Andres, Kendall, Animaterra --

Man, thoughts like these are why this place is inimitable. Thanks to all of you for being here and saying it.

Andres, congratulations on rebuilding your life. It is heart-warming.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: jaze
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 09:22 PM

Thinking of you tomorrow, Allison. Remember, be thankful he was here with you-you'll always have that beautiful memory.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 11:54 PM

Allison, tomorrow is Byron's birthday. It is also the 5th anniversary of my daughter's suicide. I'll be thinking of your pain while experiencing (again) my own.

And we'll both manage, and go on, and live our lives well.

Sending you good thoughts.

pdc


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Raptor
Date: 28 Jan 04 - 10:18 AM

Allison I'm here if you want to talk

It was exactly Two months today since Heide passed!

pdc I here for you too.

Or anyone else that needs to talk with someone who can sympathise!




Happy Birthday Byron!!! Say hi to Heide for me!

David


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 28 Jan 04 - 01:04 PM

Thanks, everyone. I'm having a sad day, after many stable ones. Yes, I'm grateful Byron was born, and I'm grateful for the gift he was to me-
but I miss him so much

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Jan 04 - 11:30 PM

Congratulations to all of you for whom today was a tough day, and who made it through it. Well, it's ALMOST the end of the day, anyhow.

You've been in my thoughts all day. I know I am not the only one who refrained from posting, just to leave you each in the company of one another and the understanding you can offer each other, without well-meant distraction.

I wish you:
<> peaceful rest,
<> a deeper sense of the good memories,
<> a solid connection to all the love you have ever known,
<> a circle of close friends who can STILL make you laugh, and
<> more love in your life, as you look resolutely forward, than even the best love you have ever known.


One more deep breath-- let it go.... let it go... let it all go...

And on to tomorrow, with all of us cheering you on and making soft places for you to land along the way.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 29 Jan 04 - 06:03 AM

Well, if music sung in glorious harmony can reach to the stars, the universe was smiling last night! I made it through the day, thanks to friends and your good thoughts, and was able to sing and bask in the company of good friends last night. At one point I caught a glimpse of Byron's photo smiling at me and couldn't keep back the tears, but I'm learning to recognize a certain type of sorrow for the intense recognition of the love that still goes on- coupled with the grief that it's taken a form I find very hard to accept.

But I made it through the day, and I'll make it through today. And tomorrow. And the rest of the days that are given to me.

Blessings on you all.

Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Raptor
Date: 29 Jan 04 - 06:55 AM

Susan You are a beautifull person!

Raptor


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: GUEST,Bereavement Store
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 10:08 AM

Send a gift that offers comfort in a time of sorrow.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Amergin
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 02:17 PM

and that would be whiskey or chocolate....


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Helen
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 05:25 PM

No, Amergin, that would be a special MMario hand made shawl. :-)

Helen


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 03:06 PM

Refreshing for anyone who needs this thread, and to let those who have posted before that you are often in my thoughts and prayers.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 06:45 PM

Thanks, Susan. It's been a very rough month, at 6 months plus. He's still so much a part of every fiber of my being. I feel his absence every minute- yet I feel his "presence" too, some times. But I miss him with a howling ache, always.

Spring seems so strange this year. We loved watching it unfold. I'm noticing every crocus, every daffodil, every bud on the trees- but it's just noticing, it lacks the joy I have felt about spring before.

I guess I'm surviving. Everyone tells me I'm doing so well.

Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 07:06 PM

Aw, hon. Of course you're not doing well. Just doing well under the circumstances, which ain't the same thing at ALL.

Have there been any safe places to howl, out loud?

Step out back. I'll throw the window open and I bet I'll hear you from here. Let 'er rip. Best way I know to keep the joy is to let the rest out.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Escamillo
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 03:39 AM

A stupid and interesting thought comes to my mind after 18 months. My Graciela will never die again. She came to this world, suffered very few things and she was very happy. I made my part. And when my turn comes, I'll be throughly satisfied.

Un abrazo,
Andrés


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 06:38 AM

Yes, Andres, I'm unshaken in my certainty that he was spared a lot of pain, having suffered in other ways so much in his life. I'm grateful for that.
And yes, Susan, I have great "howling companions" who love me and help me through. I am indeed blessed.

Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 09:07 AM

Thinking of you all.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 09:32 AM

Yahrzeit: A Thread for a Calendar of Mudcatters' Losses

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Kim C
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 10:59 AM

I still miss my dad after four years. My birthday was yesterday and while it was a good day, I was still bummed knowing he wasn't going to call me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 11:56 AM

I've been doing so much better. I've even been on a few dates. But now that school has started there's a whole new set of associations and threshholds to cross. I miss him, miss him, miss him.

And in some ways he seems closer than ever.

Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: LilyFestre
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 04:21 PM

I haven't read all the posts here....but the initial post of being on a new planet sounds about like my life at the moment. We have been parents to an 11 year old for the last year and a half only to have her birth mother decide that she wanted her back. The loss is overwhelming and I hate this new planet that I find myself on. HATE IT.

I WANT MY LIFE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Michelle


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 04:53 PM

LF,

Welcome. ;~) Welcome to the club you never want to join, from those of us who don't really want to welcome anyone else to it. But welcome also to the fellowship of we gray-hairs who've arrived before you. A rich treasure of experience and compassion, here. Now, for a little whle, let us care for you. In your turn you will welcome and care for others. The marching of generations, on the strange planet.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Feb 11 - 09:51 AM

Friend and classmate Katie delivered this stunning example of living through the "strange planet" of bereavement, at class yesterday, and kindly gave me permission to post it so others can benefit from her view.

SCS: Exploring Your Ministry
Homily, 12 February 2011
Katie P.

2 Corinthians 1: 3-4
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."

There are many things I learned when my mother died. I learned that life is not fair. I learned that people go away when you are least prepared, because you can never be fully prepared to lose someone you love. I learned that believing you have time to tell your loved ones everything you want to tell them is wrong thinking; never pass up a chance to speak your heart.

I learned that sending flowers isn't really a great thing to do: they need their water changed and stems snipped to stay fresh; the ones that die first need to be weeded out before they look awful and get smelly; they take up a lot of space (really, whose home has ready-made display space for 15+ arrangements?); and what do you do with all of the vases afterward? Having all of those flowers that needed care (and ended up dying and being thrown away) was almost too much for me to bear. Some people may love them and find comfort in the distraction of caring for them, but I found it overwhelming.

I have a policy never to give someone a gift I wouldn't want to receive… I do not send flowers upon the death of a loved one.

I learned that you should never ask someone who is hurting what you can do for them. They'll never answer-- they can't. They have no idea what they need. I learned that the simplest tasks can seem insurmountable.

The people who eased my pain the greatest were the ones who took over: they dropped by, often unannounced or within a few minutes' call so that I could not discourage them, and they told me plainly what they were going to do for me:

            
  • They took my small children to the playground.

  •         
  • They checked in my refrigerator to see what we needed and then grocery shopped.

  •         
  • They did my laundry.

  •         
  • They mowed my grass.

  •         
  • They dropped dinner off.

  •         
  • They booked my flight to the funeral.

  •         
  • They just sat with me and let me talk, cry or be silent.


I did not know I needed all of these things; they are such simple tasks when your heart is intact; they are nearly impossible when your heart has exploded.
I learned that there is a secret club of people who have suffered loss. I had no idea this club existed; I had, until this point, led a life untouched by excruciating loss. Suddenly, people came up to me, held my hand and shared with me a loss they, too, had suffered. They were not 'toppers' and they were not trying to downplay my pain, they were saying to me in the most kind and loving way: 'I know. I've been there. You are not alone.' I looked at these people, some I didn't even know that well, and saw a depth and a level of compassion in them that I had never seen before.

For days after she died, I couldn't believe the mail still came, people still went to work, or even that traffic lights continued to operate. But,here were people, coming alongside me and showing me that they had survived.

You can live when you feel like you can barely breathe. You can go on with life, and even laugh and have joy and fullness of life when you also have pain as part of your experience of being.

I also learned to trust that God is in the middle of everything. His mercy is great and His comfort even greater.

We moved a month after my mother died, and I lost all of that support. No one knew me. Introducing yourself, and in the next breath relating that you've just lost a parent, is a bit off-putting. I had no one. It was the desert. No one knew me and my pain.

God knew. He embraced me, rocked me as I sobbed, and whispered to me in my prayers. She was his. She was safe. She was loved and cared for… and so was I.

I learned that God wasn't just present now when I was alone, he was present in all of those people who knew how to love and comfort me. They had been comforted through their pain and were well equipped to share what they had learned.

I found an incredible and unexpected gift through the experience of losing my mother; I am able to share with others what was so selflessly shared with me: comfort, compassion, kindness, patience, and presence. I learned how to comfort at the feet of Christ and at the feet of Christ-filled and Christ-comforted people.

What does this experience have to do with my discernment [of call to the priesthood]? It is part of my personal history with God. I had first-hand experience of seeing and feeling God's hand in my life guiding me and forming me. I trusted Him and He taught me. I listened and He led me out of the desert to a place of peace and comfort. He restored me to wholeness.

I look for God in places I didn't, before this experience. I listen in a way I had not, prior to this. I trust in a way I never could have, before God so faithfully led me through this pain. So, now I pay a little more attention when I feel God's repeated urgings. I am listening and trusting his leading right now, today, at this time of discernment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: jacqui.c
Date: 13 Feb 11 - 11:28 AM

It's good to hear one person's own feelings about bereavement.

Of course, th1s is such a personal event that another person will probably have a totally different take on it. One size does not fit all and, IMHO, one needs to be aware of the person to whom this is happening and to deduce what their own individual needs are, rather than going in taking over without permission. To some that would be like taking control away from them at a time when they most need to have that control.

I would also be very careful about bringing God into the conversation. For a lot on non Christians this might not be welcome. Keep your religious platitudes to yourself unless you are sure that they will be welcomed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Feb 11 - 01:00 PM

"For a lot on non Christians this might not be welcome. Keep your religious platitudes to yourself unless you are sure that they will be welcomed."

Jacqui, love, in this thread entitled 'Bereavement' you may notice that there are many references to God and how their faith helped various people. Other posters in turn presented what helped them, oftne just not commenting on the religious/spiritual ones.

As you said, there are many individual ways of coping and to my mind we can all honor that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Feb 11 - 01:43 PM

If I read it correctly, the entire post after the italics was a quote from 'Katie'. I think it was only one person's musings, and as such, I don't worry about the religious portions.

It might be well, Susan, to clarify it all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Feb 11 - 01:44 PM

I doubt Jacqui was commenting on whether the post was approriate, but I assumed that she was pointing out how some of Katie's experience (of course) might not be appropriate for a particular, specific application. And I certainly agree that, taking Katie's experience as an example of the obverse, people who tend to take over in a controlling way are not actually helping.

But lest there be any question about the post itself or my reason for sharing it as I did-- it was Katie's own example. That is ALL it was. And I for one would not have considered taking out (censoring) any of her words, because Not only are they her words but I saw just yesterday how they impacted a group more diverse than Mudcat on a good day.

Nor would I recommend intruding on another person's spirituality, unasked. But people are often surprised to learn how often a word about spirituality IS asked, and when it is, sometimes it is natural to respond... Mudcat also abounds in examples of THAT-- sometimes out in the threads as we can all see, and sometimes in PMs only the two parties involved can see.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: mouldy
Date: 13 Feb 11 - 03:16 PM

Looking back on this thread, it has been a poignant journey.

In March 2007 I found myself walking the same path, and I can recognise so much - from many of the postings. A few weeks ago I found myself in a bit of an unexpected emotional dip for a few days. It's probably down to having uprooted myself recently, (and I am okay again now). It just goes to show that there will be ripples on my pond for a while yet, especially if I go and drop another little stone in it (like moving 160 miles away)!

In effect, I have distanced myself from my physical support network, and have in effect decided to take the stabilisers off my bike and go for a long ride on my own! I daresay I will wobble and scrape my knees a bit, but I hope there is every chance I will find my balance.

Andrea


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Feb 11 - 06:53 PM

(Bill, we cross-posted, and thanks.)

===

(((Mouldy))) Keep on keepin' on!

===

If I might indulge for a moment-- this is always a very hard time of year for me. In addition to SAD issues, this is the time of year my [dead] identical twin was dissolving in utero, up close and personal, making a close relationship... physically toxic. Each year it hits me differently, for which I guess I'm grateful, tho it means I am never quite "set" for what will hit. This year, it hits while new meds take my own heartrate down to nil-- so I am cold, lacking any stamina, and physically always-overwhelmed.

;~) About the time present friends (or I myself, LOL) learn how I am THIS year, I'll be into however I will be, that I/they do NOT understand, NEXT year. So Katie's piece yesterday was just a marvelously cathartic moment for me.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: jacqui.c
Date: 13 Feb 11 - 07:07 PM

Andrea - you're thought of often. It's good to keep up with your news. Keep going lady.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: mouldy
Date: 14 Feb 11 - 03:02 AM

Thanks Jacqui.

I try to adopt my godmother's attitude: I grieve, but I don't mourn. There is a big difference. Grief can be a gentle poignant thing that is light and easy to carry. Mourning indicates a state of mind (exhibit A - Queen Victoria, m'lud).
I don't wear my wedding ring now, either. Probably for nearly 3 years. I like it, but it is an outward symbol of something earthly that does not exist now ("till death, etc"). I may wear it again if the mood takes me, but I don't feel the guilt I thought I would. (Logically, I am not married - terms and conditions no longer apply!) It sounds very hard-nosed, but Ian's always going to be part of my life, just internally.
I suppose one of the main reasons for moving to a new area is to have people take me for who I am now, not as someone they know as one part of a couple. I met Ian while I was still at school, and I was thus one part of a twosome, and "Ian's other half" for just over 40 years now.
Because of this, I am wondering if there is a part me that hasn't seen the light yet. I don't know, but it may be fun finding out. It gives me a future to focus on, and although I have a mountain to climb in getting my little house renovated, it's something that will, once I eventually get work started, keep me interested and busy. My children are all fully independent, and it would be easy to slip into boredom and self-pity, which I could perhaps have done back at my old place. Here, if I want to clear my mind, or just go scream into the wind, I have a 10 minute drive and, if I choose the right time, I can have a huge beach almost to myself (at this time of year, anyway).

Andrea (apologies for going on a bit!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 14 Feb 11 - 08:04 AM

Oh, my. Strange and poignant to see this thread revived. I agree with much of Katie's musings, although my own journey has moved me into such different and unexpected directions in nearly 7 1/2 years (goodness, how time marches on!).

Mouldy, Susan, and all whose own grief is still more fresh than mine, blessings on you for the courage to keep breathing, keep moving forward, and keep living!

And love and thanks to all of you dear Catters who kept me sane those years ago!

love,
Allison


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 07:40 PM

The strange planet seems (today) to be one that passes by and sucks me over onto it, in its gravitational pull, as it passes. It passes me now and pulls powerfully.... because my mother died yesterday, and I find my feet in two worlds simultaneously.

It was sudden but not unexpected, and she died peacefully in her sleep, just as she had always said she wanted.

There is nothing left unsaid with her that does not more properly belong in a counseling session, and I am grateful for so much about how, and when, and why she went. We had just spoken on Saturday, and looking back now I see the restlessness she was having, to go.

I know much more about all that than I am at liberty to share, because she enrolled me in some secrets that are not mine to break. But from that vantage point I see so much about her passing that gives me hope and comfort-- not only for myself but for my siblings, among whom there is quite a bit of "brokenness of relationship" (a pastoral care term) in need of healing.

I've been reflecting all day (between bouts of boohoos) that for so many people, we do not really know the Parent until we ourselves are old enough to have just begun to know who the heck s/he actually was as a person-- independent of our childhood view-- and how just as we are old enough to start seeing the REAL person, that person feels released to depart this life for another one.

So all the times Mom and I shared in adult life make me SO GLAD for every risk I took to speak my heart and encourage her to speak hers, and for every phone call that ended with a mutual "Love you," which was quite a feat for a lady raised NOT to say it at all.

Another reflection has been that to really know who they were after they are not accessible to conversation, we can cut through the confusions of semantics and frames-of-reference to look at what they created-- and in that case my mother's main creation was each of "her" children, by her vigorous choice. This creativity extended well into the lives of the grandchildren she co-parented with we "sibling offspring" who she brought into the world personally.

Thus it seems clear to me (prematurely I am sure) that to get to know the real people she built, beyond the fantasy people we created in our fears and hurts, would be to know HER differently than the single view each of us has had of her could allow.

And I suspect that she knew I would be thinking that way, and taking action to encourage that process. I took the first step today in a somewhat challenging phone call with sibs. I had no desire to do it. I felt her pushing me to it, from where she is now. I felt her pointing to what the real priorities are, each time I declined a battle and reached towards peace.


And all day it's been one opportunity after another to see myself acting well and wisely-- as the daughter it turns out she raised me to be. I see the person she told me she was proud of, who I have not been able to see until now when I must see it for myself.

It brings another round of healing tears of gratitude-- she equipped me SO WELL for this time, and she was so darn sneaky I did not see how God was doing that with her in my life!

(Thanks, Mom.)

Finally, it is PERFECTLY who she was that she left us on April Fool's Day, for reasons I could share but prefer not to, and for reasons I cannot share, but it is so PERFECTLY her.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: gnu
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 07:47 PM

My sincerest condolences. Stay well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: ranger1
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 09:43 PM

Condolences Susan.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: Janie
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 10:31 PM

Peace be with all of you, Susan.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 03 Apr 12 - 12:17 PM

@ Susan... hugs


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: catspaw49
Date: 03 Apr 12 - 12:27 PM

You have my best thoughts and I know your strength you got from her will take you through this time.

Pat


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 07 May 12 - 10:29 AM

Oh, dear one, I missed this. Love and peace and light and happy memories be yours, my dear. You know where to find me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: mouldy
Date: 07 May 12 - 12:36 PM

Same here, because I haven't been on for a while.

Deepest sympathy, Susan

Andrea x


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 May 12 - 10:41 PM

I looked here to see who had just lost someone and it's me.... I had missed a buncha posts while dealing with fam stuff. Thanks folks, and please know that my thoughts tomorrow will be with all the ones who have lost their Moms before I lost mine. I had no idea. I do now. I hope to be a better support to the newbies next year, in that club none of us wants to be in.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bereavement
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 13 May 12 - 07:28 AM

Oh, dear sweet one, much love to you today.


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Subject: Bereavement: terms around death and dying
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 07:16 AM

RE: terms around death and dying

"Cremains" is the term funeral directors settled on that they hope is accurate and not piling hurt upon hurt, that in their professional jargon among one another, clergy, and cemetery people simply means: "This specific funeral will involve a process that can and might helpfully take some time, as opposed to a quick embalming and burying."

That term often signals a professional who cares deeply about all aspects of what occurs at this difficult time. Most people I have known who are receiving the ashes of the person they have lost prefer to use the word "ashes," maybe because it has that sense of loss of so much more than the physical body that has passed.

You use the word that works for you. Whatever you say will truly be just the right thing to say. Whatever you find weird from others' words will truly be weird.

On this strange planet called "Bereavement" that Animaterra wrote so movingly about, I think nothing might feel really right-- it's all just what is, for now.

<3

~Susan


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