I’m so fine until someone asks. It’s the asking that I’m grateful for, to not ask feels insensitive, but then again it also awakens the events which are still so fresh on my heart.
I had an appointment at my school district’s office this week, which lead to encounters with several people who had recently learned that it wasn’t just my brother . So they inquire and did I mention I’m grateful already. They inquire and my heart remembers and my mind reawakens to the hospital bed and the tubes and my brothers cold, cold hands. It awakens to my moving his beard aside and stroking the ligature marks on my brother’s neck as the machine puffed air into his lungs and another sucked black secretions from his stomach. It awakens to the beautiful, thoughtful nurses and the doctor shining a light into his eyes looking for signs of life and his eyes black as coal fixed and non-responsive. It awakens to my need for scissors so I can clip just a small tuft of his beard so that long after this day – when his body is no longer here for me to embrace or to hold his cold, cold hands, I can hold on to some piece of him, so that he doesn’t disappear forever as if he never existed.
My heart awakens to his oldest son whom I avoided while our family held our bedside vigil at my brothers side, waiting, waiting, waiting for words, waiting for the unknown. I didn’t know, I just didn’t know that my chance to embrace my nephew was only in those moments. My chance to express my unconditionally love for him, in spite of his seeking me out as a target to express his antagonistic animosity was now or never. How could I know? How could I know that the illusion of peace my brother now embraced would be so appealing. How could I know that my next encounter with my nephew would be at his funeral just 4 weeks later when he took his life.
My wounds are still so fresh. Our wounds. Because if I’ve learned anything through all of this, it’s that grief is not a solitary experience. Half of the people in your life will be traveling that road with you. And their grief and their needs, their heartache will demand your empathy, time and attention. And you can hardly take care of yourself. So you get back to life. You move on because it’s the only peace in your days. Because we all are so needy, so broken.
So I Reset:
Today I reset by parking in the lot at my local Kaiser office high above the city. I bring my speaker (so my car battery won’t die this time), I put on “The Great Awakening” from Wholetones music (one of the most amazing therapies I’ve discovered) and I write. I pause and I write and I pause and I write. I look out over the city, the valley and the mountains in the distance, the sun fades behind me and I breath. Just breath. I quiet my soul. This is my Reset. Making space in my heart and in my head for life. I give myself permission to cry, to scream and to feel all that I need to feel, and to remember, and I’m grateful for it. I truly am. “Grief takes as long as it takes, no more and no less.” These are words of comfort shared with me by my husband. They remind me that it is okay. I’ve also learned that grief sneaks up at inconvenient moments, and is sparked by a sound, a smell, the passing by of a stranger. I’ve learned to give myself to it…to embrace it’s presence. I embrace it and I then I reset. The great thing about Resetting is it’s available anytime. I am only limited by my inability to recognize that I need it and then to act on that need.