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Category Archives: Grief

 

Dabbling in what-ifs is an exercise in futility and yet there are times when my brain will not be still, and I find myself extrapolating your eight years on earth. Desperately trying to conjure the you that would be now. Sixteen; such a departure from your tender youth. And yet I’d like to believe some things would be the same –your kind heart, the sparkle in your eyes, your studious work ethic, the curve of your lips as you smile, the silkiness of your auburn hair, your ability to mitigate negativity with silliness, the warmth of your hand in mine.

Dashed hopes. Unconditional love poured into a now empty vessel. Unlimited potential turned to ash. What am I to do with such colossal emotion? Eternally eight years old; sixteen only in my dreams. The rage is unbearable. The sorrow pours forth like rain.

My one saving grace is your sister. And the similarities tear me apart the more she grows. Quaking moments of deja vu. I long to feel grateful, but she is not you.

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Up until now this has been an outlet for only my personal grief. And yet, the events of the last three weeks have me reeling, attempting to process such acts of hatred.

I feel like we are spinning out of control. But then my rationality kicks in and says “there is NO control”. As a person who has had to rebuild their entire moral structure and belief system, I simply cannot understand the hate that can be emotionally and physically perpetrated upon a fellow human being. And what for? Perceived differences? Generational implanted racism? Power plays? Any and all of those “answers” are disgusting and deplorable.

Humanity is an amalgam: we are each capable of loving kindness and also of unspeakable cruelty. We are all connected. We laugh the same, cry the same, bleed the same, suffer the same. We all feel love, grief, joy and fear. Separateness is an illusion.

Fear is the birth place of suffering; it is where hate and insecurity begin. We fear change, we fear death, we fear being abandoned or not accepted; we give too much substance and power to fear and it’s eating us alive.

Labels and titles mean nothing. They only carry weight because we choose to allow it. They serve only to continuously divide us. Power is a dangerous ambition. History has shown that those in power will always use fear to control others. And, yet, control is an illusion. It too only works when we give our permission, in the form of apathy and compliance.

Media and government use fear as a means to herd us and to attempt to control us. But we are not puppets; we are powerful in our unity and by choosing kindness and compassion we can begin to heal, both ourselves and each other.

Collectively, our eyes are open — and now we must open our hearts and minds.

There is no enemy, there is only us. Every time one of us bears silent witness to violence perpetrated on others, we are the enemy. Every time we make derogatory comments about others, we are the enemy. Look in the mirror. You are the future. I am the future. We can make it better by choosing compassion. We must have empathy for not only our beloved, but also for those we fear and misunderstand.

FDR said it best: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

We must choose to act from love. We must treat each other compassionately. We must let go of fear. This is the only way forward.

6 Days
Numb, disbelieving.
Functioning solely on auto-pilot,
Depending greatly upon others.

6 Weeks
A raw nerve,
Suicidal longing.
Tears fall like rain.

6 Months
I am constantly and forcibly compelled to tell my story; her story.
Hoping desperately for it all to be only a dream,
Searching for understanding.

6 Years
Acceptance feels like betrayal.
So much time elapsed,
It feels like an impassable gap.
Everything changed and yet somehow still the same.

 

 

 

 

 

I.

Deep beneath what the eye can see

carried on the rhythm of blood,

etched into each each of these two-hundred-and-six bones,

there is a longing,

a yearning ache.

Desirous, ferocious, ever-present.

Within this cranium a perpetual battle is fought

yet never won.

Obliteration, sweet freedom of death

release me from the shackles of memory,

melancholy, contrition.

Sinking into dirt,

the cold comfort of home.

Ebb and flow; particles, stardust,

waves of pure energy.

 

II.

Dying to live or simply existing,

who can tell?

Within the deepest ancestral part of this being

lies the truth,

undisturbed, waiting.

Courage summoned, shored up;

the beast will not submit.

 

III.

How alone we feel,

disconnected, confined, solitary.

A sentence undeserved.

Yet it is all an illusion,

predicated on endless moments of egoistic thoughts.

This is grief,

this is sorrow.

There is no escape.

We are one,

in death as in life.

The emotions distort the truth,

suffering the end result.

But somehow,

I have found a will to live

which I never knew I possessed.

 

IV.

Bittersweet reflection;

wistful existence.

At last a measure of solace

reached.

Sunshine etched in stone.

 

 

 

Shifting of the seasons
takes the breath from my lungs,
hard and swift.
assaulted, I surrender.

Cold, bright mornings;
biting wind
brings the promise of
long, dark nights
and frozen earth underfoot.

Choked with longing,
my blood quickens;
the urge to bury oneself
intensely appealing.

Fifteen years young;
so different, and yet the same.
she, my collective best
gone to dust,
reminiscence.

Autumn colors resurrect
joys long past.
then quickly,
awaken a beastly rage
longing to tear
worlds limb from limb.

My Dearest Zev,

I miss you with the same ferocity as the day you departed this world. Through the years, even as the intensity wanes, it sends echoes rippling back; muscle memory crippling my forward motion. Rage is ever present; an uninvited passenger.

And sorrow sits beside me; keeping me company in the empty hours of the dark, caressing my cheek, reminding me that I am not alone. And yet, that alone is no comfort. The brightest star in my universe no longer shines for my eyes to see; your love is but a trail of vapor, a whisper on the wind. Memories are mine to cherish, yet the solace they bring is bitter. All time stopped for me the moment you died. The emptiness follows like a black cloud.

Your Dad wrote that he feels an intense desire to scream as loud and as long as he can, yet he does not, for fear that he will be unable to stop. I think that perfectly sums up the ferocious appetite that eats away at our insides every minute the clock ticks past.

I am forever angry at the chaos of the universe for allowing you to be pulled away from us after only eight years. I am well aware that the time any of us has here is not guaranteed, and fleeting at best, but that does not stop the overwhelming sense of injustice I feel.

I love you with every cell of which I exist.; from this body holding me,

Mama

Anguished, primal scream
Rage like fire, burns out and through
Squelch then suffocate

Tumultuous tears
Sorrow cascading down cheeks
Gently pelts the earth

Feels like drowning
This place of fear; dark and hot
Resistance futile

Not merely crying
Wracked, full body sobbing
Exhaustion, release

Eyes cast down, cheeks wet
An outsider on strange turf
Seeking compassion

Looking to the future through lenses of the past is like trying to see a clear reflection in a shattered mirror…

A kaleidescope of dreams, some distant, half remembered, others vivid and achingly palpable.

My mind overlays past memory fragments onto the present moment, creating a crystalline, multilayered tapestry which distorts my view and chokes forth sorrow previously swallowed which I had thought long since buried. It’s as if in an attempt to reconcile what has changed, what is broken. A desperate appeal to the universe to right the wrongs, fill in the cracks, render a new reality.

I feel left with little choice but to abandon the past and forge ahead. Creating new memories and traditions. But that is easier said than done. For honor through memory is vitally important. So, how to carry the memory of what was into to the tomorrow of what will be? Without the shadowy weight of the pain, the longing, the deep ache. The rage.  The sense of injustice. The ever-present sorrow.

Objects can neither give nor receive love. We can ascribe meaning, but they are, still and always, only inanimate. Unfeeling, unimportant in this grand illusion.

And yet now that these objects are all that remain as the only tangible part of Zev, they seem to have taken on qualities of life. Once they were simply toys and books and clothes; today they signify a life — the legacy of my child. Each item meant so much to her …. What happens now that she is not here to care for them?

In the first year, sitting inside the space that was her refuge amongst all the craft and art supplies, the blankets she snuggled at night, the stuffed animals and dolls she lovingly named and conversed with, I felt comforted. Over time I began to feel burdened with the weight of these many things. I began purposefully avoiding her room and her beloved objects.

While there are moments I can not bear the thought of parting with the material objects she held so dear, I also know that I would be at peace without possession of these things. For no matter how many years pass, the love we shared remains unchanged. There is no distance between us. All of the memories live on, they form a symphony inside the deepest chamber of my mothering heart. A song that will play to my ears alone for eternity.

However tenuous it may feel, the connection is always there — to the space where she now exists — in the fog of cold winter mornings, beneath sea foam at dusk, within the whispers of a gentle breeze through the woods.

She came from stardust and to stardust she returned.
With every breath there was joy,
Each day a gift.
She who infused the mundane with magic,
Who wove words into song.

Do not speak of her in hushed tones.
She deserves nothing less than a roar.
Fill your heart with bold and daring,
Send sparks flying!
This is the only way to honor her spirit.

Happy fourteenth birthday, Zev. You are, and always will be, the great love of my life.

image

In this photo I see hints of the young woman she was to become. The future twinkling in her eyes.