Saturday, November 20, 2021

 

I have been a big fan of the TV series The Resident. I admit I love most medical dramas dating back to Dr. Kildare and Saint Elsewhere. It's in my blood. I'm a nurse.

So, I have watched every episode of The Resident and was anxious to see how they were going to script the departure of one of the main characters Nic, the wife of the title character Conrad. The actress who played her was leaving and so, in typical TV fashion, she had to die and her death had to be wrung out over an hour. I think it was well done - they used the episode to shed light on how organ donation can help other people.

The next episode dealt with Conrad's grief and his need to find out why and how she died [it was reported to be in a one car accident]. I thought that too was handled very well. Conrad was bereft and, as many of us who have lost someone ask, the burning question is Why - that need to make sense of something that will forever be senseless to us.

But then the producers and writers missed a golden opportunity in my opinion. They jumped ahead "three years and change", as they put it. As they explained it, dealing with grief "in real emotional time, would be dark. We didn’t want to have Conrad grief-stricken for an entire season of television.”

And that sums up how our society in general deals with death and grief. Let's put it in a box. Don't want those death cooties messing everyone else up. Let's smile, be happy, MOVE ON. How many times has a grieving person been told that? "She wouldn't want you to be sad." "You need to [fill in the blank]..."

I'm not advocating sitting on the sofa in your jammies among a pile of used tissues. But ignoring grief won't make it go away. And portraying that grief is messy and we need to jump ahead to avoid it is not a message I think is healthy. Maybe it makes for good television but that message isolates those who are mourning and makes them feel like pariahs.

So, while Conrad is now looking toward new romance in his life and Nic is now in the past, those of us in the real word need to know that there is no timeline for grief. Mourn as you feel you want to. Take the time that you need in whatever way that means for you. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. We don't get to jump forward in real life and make everything all better.

But we can move forward with our Loves in our heart and have meaningful lives while we are still here.

Namaste.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Hold on

All of us who mourn are at different stages of our grief. And sometimes those who are newly mourning look to those of us who have trod this path longer for advice.

I was speaking a couple of weeks ago with a very dear friend whose husband had died only 2 weeks prior and the first thing she asked me was "Does this get better?" I couldn't lie to her. I told her "No, I can't say it gets better. But it does get easier."

Now, I wonder if that's even true.
 
I say this because I have been going through a tough time myself these last few weeks. I can't pin it on anything in particular although I have been having some losses not related to death. Maybe those losses are bringing back feelings related to John's death. I can't say for sure. All I know is that I have been sad. Really sad. And it's been 11+ years since John died. According to the "experts" [who the heck are they anyway?], I should be "over" this, no?
 
The answer? NO!
 
If I sit here too long and think, I will start crying. I know that because it happened a few days ago. Scared the dog, too.
 
I am saying all this because I want to tell anyone who is thinking they are doing this mourning thing wrong and that they should be "better" to give yourself a break. Grief never really ends.
But luckily, love never ends too.
 
My plan is to finish this cup of coffee and go meditate and then connect with John and feel his love.
We're all here to help each other. To reassure ourselves that we are not alone. We have each other and we have the love of those who have gone to the next dimension - our spouses, our friends, our parents, our children, our pets.
 
It's ok to be sad. And it's okay to not be okay. Right now I'm not okay and admitting that is hard. I am always the one who is there for everyone else. But I know I'll be ok again. In the meantime, I will feel these feelings even though they're not good feelings. And I will search for the love that I know is there.
 
Namaste.


Thursday, October 14, 2021

One size grief does not fit all

Even though it has been several years since John has transitioned and I think, for the most part, I have come to terms with my new life and what it means for us that John and I are no longer on the same plane, I still read books about grief and coping because I am a firm believer in learning. Every little tidbit helps.
But I am seeing something else in all the books that I read (and I am referring here to those self-help books that speak to the every day issues of losing a loved one - not the spiritual/metaphysical ones).
Often it seems to me that even when these books are written by the grieving person themselves, they seem to feel that their experience can be translated to all grieving people and their advice is gospel.
Let me elaborate.
One of the books I read was about reclaiming life after the loss of a mate. The book was written by a widow who was married to the person she felt was the love of her life. They were married for 25 years, first marriage for both of them. She had been widowed for 10 years. And she was now in her early 50's, was in her early 40's obviously when she was widowed and was the mother of two teenagers at that time.
About 30% into the book she sneaked in the fact that she was now in a relationship with another man and had been for the past several years.
The plot thickens.......
Mind you, I am not critical of the fact that she was in a relationship. No one wants to be alone.
What I am critical of is that she assumes her situation can just be translated into all situations.
Yes, she had some good ideas that resonated with me. But overall she was speaking as a younger woman and what she was feeling did not necessarily apply to every other woman (or man, for that matter) in the same grief situation. She was still working, raising children, had her own home, a large support system, and was financially well-off.
Her philosophy was "get out there, seize the moment, remake yourself! You can do this! Rah! Rah! Rah!"
Compare that to an older woman whose children are grown, who might not have the same support network, who might be on a fixed income, facing deteriorating health and friends dying off, who has been with the love of her life for 60+ years.
Or a widow who was in her second marriage after having had a bad first marriage - and now has lost again.
Or the widower who has suffered other losses - maybe a job at the age of 50 and now is facing decreasing job opportunities because of his age and then loses the one person who meant the world to him and was the rock in his sea of sadness.
Or...
Or...
Or...
The examples are as endless as the people involved.
And that is just referring to widowhood.
What about someone who has lost a child?
A lifelong friend?
A parent?
My point is this. Yes, these self help books are useful. But those who write them need to step back for a moment and realize that what works for some does not work for all.
And I also know that the choices I make for me are not the choices another grieving person might make and that is also right - for them. It is not my place to criticize, judge, or preach.
Nor it is anyone else's.
Write the books. Give advice. Let your life be an example of possibilities.
Just not from your Mount Olympus on high as if you have all the answers.
Because you don't. You have one set of answers.
One size of healing does not fit all.
There are as many ways to move forward from loss as there are the people who move forward.
Namaste.


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Does grief make it hard to breathe?

 A friend of mine mentioned to me the other day that her asthma has gotten noticeably worse since her soul mate passed away and she wondered if there was a connection.

Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor or medical expert. I am a nurse by education and experience. But I have researched a lot about what grief does to the human body. It is that that I will share with you.

So, back to my friend’s question. The short answer is “yes”.

Here is a simplified long answer.

Think about what your lungs do for you. They are vital to your well being. Your breath sustains your body.

Inhale and you take in oxygen which nourishes all your organs by first going to your lungs. Once it reaches the innermost parts of your lung tissue, the oxygen interacts with your circulating blood and that oxygen goes everywhere on the highway of your circulatory system supporting kidneys and intestines, fortifying your immune system, and providing moisture to your skin – just to name a few structures.

That exchange also brings waste back to your lungs which is expelled on the exhale.

Now think about how you feel when you grieve. What do you do? You tighten up. You might clench your jaws, shoulders, back. This might tighten your diaphragm. All of this restricts the area need by your lungs to expand. If they can’t expand properly, they can’t do their job. Sure, you’re still getting oxygen but not the full amount. So, your body breathes differently. You feel short of breath, tired, drained. Your immune system is weakened which can lead to further problems. And on and on.

If you already have an underlying lung condition like asthma, it is exacerbated.

Ancient Chinese Medicine (TCM) looks at the body in a holistic way and in that modality, grief is the emotion of the lung. The lungs govern qi, the energy that is needed for all the bodily functions. Weaken qi and the body suffers.

Working through grief won’t cure asthma. But not working through grief can make asthma – or any lung disorder – potentially worsen.

Knowledge is power. Knowing how things work helps us to help ourselves.

Namaste.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

I dreamt about John last night. It wasn't a dream visit. It was "just a dream" but I got to be with him for a little while and I was happy.

I'll take it.


My Heart Will Go On

Every night in my dreams
I see you, I feel you
That is how I know you go on
Far across the distance
And spaces between us
You have come to show you go on
Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more, you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on
Love can touch us one time
And last for a lifetime
And never let go 'til we're gone
Love was when I loved you
One true time I'd hold to
In my life, we'll always go on
Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on (why does the heart go on?)
Once more, you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on
You're here, there's nothing I fear
And I know that my heart will go on
We'll stay forever this way
You are safe in my heart and
My heart will go on and on
 
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: James Horner / Will Jennings
My Heart Will Go On lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Songtrust Ave, DistroKid, Integrity Music

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

My latest book



My latest book is now available in print and ebook.

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Other ebook versions

Now on to my next projects!

Details coming soon!