The theme of the week has been one of loss, painful and gut wrenching loss. It's loss that has occurred years ago to loss that happened just a couple of days ago, but it's all about loss and loss that I have no control over.
It began when my Mother left my Father when I was about 6 months old. I never met him and until ten years ago, I didn't know I had a half brother and family that lived just miles from me. An uncle, cousins etc. Just didn't know they were there.
I had a step father, he was abusive but his family was not, they were loving, his parents made me feel as if I were just like their other grandchildren and we spent many holidays together, big family get togethers. But that stopped when my Mother left him my senior year of high school. I've seen them now and again, but the idea of seeing my step father who was so mean and cruel is not a happy one.
So, I lost a whole family. That was one of my realizations this week, I not only had a father who never seemed to want me but a whole family who I felt left me. So much loss.
And I pushed away my "new" family because of such horrific fear of being left again, not conscious fear, but such deep fear. And while this all went on, I struggled with deep depression after having my daughter, health issues, you name it. The loss of good health, the loss of so much.
And so I've done so much crying this week and I have never been one to cry, never. I've been like a raw nerve and it's made all this soul searching as they say, possible.
I've pushed so many people away while wanting and yearning for a connection to people.
What good is life if we so fear living it? I reach out and pull in, in constant fear of being left, over and over again and it happens often. I've lost so many friends through the years quite sure it was because of something I've done and yet they won't tell me why and it's just possible I pushed them away.
I seem to be hard wired to want to be better and do better. I can't stop picking at those scabs. And having lost such a dear friend this week, someone whom I admired so much and wanted to know better but found it so hard to do so. I met Angela the same day I met my husband over fifteen years ago. She was always smiling, always doing things for others, so bright, sweet and easy to laugh. She loved my daughter so much and she did things for others like others breathe.
Angela was a teacher, she taught special needs kids. She also started doing yoga to help with stress and also wound up being a yoga instructor, her dream was to use yoga to help kids with disabilities. She was always wanting to help others in any way possible. And for her to die at 45 was just too young. And it has eaten at me in ways I didn't think possible.
Cancer is an awful thing, she fought so hard but they couldn't do anymore for her. And her husband, well, he is an amazing man. I was so overwhelmed with just how strong he was for her, how they relied on each other. Inspired, encouraged and in awe of them both.
My daughter and I both had strawberry shakes this Thursday because one of her last wishes was that on the day she pass that those who loved her have a strawberry shake.
And my Grandmother is in hospice, she's not eating anymore. I found out my uncle is in the hospital and he's not doing well. I don't see enough of my Uncle, I told him a while ago I was overwhelmed by having new family all of a sudden and that was that, I didn't see much of them since.
It's so easy to feel so flawed as I try to go about things and do my best and try to teach my daughter how precious these connections are. And Charlotte is learning about loss so early, she loved her Aunt Angie and we lost our dog last year, she still laments the loss of Kona. And now her Great-Grandmother. She's been thinking about loss a great deal and I only hope I can help her cope. I've been open and honest with her.
But I know everything is going to be okay. I went to my counseling appointment and poured out all my revelations, how much all this loss had hurt and then afterwards I went to a Buddhist Temple that I had been wanting to visit but had been too scared to do so.
I joined the morning prayers. A monk came to me to help me join along.
After some chanting and the offering to Buddha she showed me an orange sheet of paper in English and Chinese and said it was a special prayer for the deceased they do weekly, it was for those who had died, people and animals. She explained it was to help guide their souls. The soul is like a lit match in the dark and this is done in the days after a loved one dies to help them find their way.
I almost began to start crying, again, but managed to keep it together. I went through the rest of the morning prayers among these strangers and went outside of my comfort zone (I loved sharing this with Charlotte and asking her what it means to go outside our own comfort zone, she knew exactly what it meant). I felt so calm when I left and I felt that I was closer to Angela then. She was part of the Self Realization Fellowship and for some reason I would like to think she would have appreciated this ceremony although the two religions are not related. The timing seemed meant to be. And I felt her there with me.
The profoundness of this all has made me more determined to reach out, to overcome the loss that others have inflicted and the loss I've inflicted on myself and the of course the loss that is merely a part of life. I can chose how I deal with this loss and how I move forward. It was so hard to move forward for me because I had not mourned so much lost and I feel I've done so much mourning, more than anyone can ever know.
Life is a gift, but loss can be a gift too. It is an inevitable part of our lives and it can help us realize what we also have.
One of my favorite song writers, John Wesley Harding has a song called "It Stays" and I love these lines...
Sometimes you can not remove the stainI've written extensively about how I found my voice here at Daily Kos five years ago and how not writing has been another devastating loss to me. Why I've been so incapable of writing, I don't know and my car accident of almost a year ago hasn't helped one bit, the left arm is still not 100%, the RA, the Fibro, loss. But I won't ever stop struggling to find my voice again.
And if you do it's absence still remains
And it doesn't go away