Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Where have I been?

I was recently queried to "where have you been?" And it's true I've been absent from all of my usual haunts. I haven't shown up on facebook except to express my dismay when someone backed into our car, damaging 2 doors and drove away. Not one of my better days. I haven't returned phone calls, text messages or emails. I've been in a dormant state. Truth is I've been grieving.
I'm trying to learn a new "normal" that doesn't include daily visits to check on and care for my mother. I'm not picking up the phone to call her and tell her about the cute thing her great grandson said. Grief is a wide chasm that can devour you whole if you are not careful.

Some of my days since my mother's passing have been better than others. The day my daughter fell from her bike during a triathalon and suffered a subdural hematoma, not so good. The day I held my new grandson for the first time and looked into the faces of his brothers that were so happy that "duchess" would fly all the way to Missouri to be with them, better.
The grief comes and goes, not everyday is painful. When someone dies and leaves you in charge of everything they ever owned on earth, you have occasion to open a box and wonder, "What on earth was she thinking?" My mom's treasures were her own. Some make me giggle and some make me ponder her sanity. I opened a box today and found a yellowed newspaper clipping with a photo and a caption announcing the success of a recent March of Dimes Walk-a-thon. Valueable? It's absolutely questionable. But there in the center of the photograph was a 12 year old me walking with her best friend. This clipping had value to my mother.
I've come to understand something about empathy. It's that emotion you have when you are truly listening to what someone else is saying. Being so involved in their "story" that you forget to prepare your response. As you grieve, you push people away. You don't know what to say. They don't know what to say and so everyone is just uncomfortable.
Recently, an 11 year old girl through her arms around me in a hug and told me she knew just how I felt. She had recently lost her new puppy. Before you judge, realize that her empathy was perfect. Her words a little flawed. Her puppy was probably the only thing that she had thus far in her life loved and lost. She is a shining example of not being afraid to say something stupid. She didn't keep me at arms length, she plowed right into my personal space and empathized. So my challenge to all of you out there that may know of someone grieving. Do that hard thing, get past the fear of possibly saying the wrong thing and at least say something. From experience, I can tell you that the silence is nearly as debilitating as the grief.

1 comment:

Georgia said...

I am truly guilty of allowing people to grieve unmolested, unbothered, uncomforted. I am so sorry, Lisa. I haven't tried to offer sympathy or empathy or whatever I should have been offering. I am sorry I haven't been where I should have been--with you.

I know where you've been, in my heart, in my thoughts, in my prayers; but I haven't been where I should have been. Please forgive my oversight and lack of compassion. Are you free for a late lunch one day next week?