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BS: Bereavement

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
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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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