Living and Breathing a Patchwork Life…
I have never believed that I should be immune to grief; I have accepted that my living a life in a constant state of unhappiness conditioned me to believe that it was normal; I had not labeled it grief. Before my children my world was to exist, afterwards I had happy moments; life for me consisted of keeping my children happy and safe, if possible. Then later with children, grandchildren and work suddenly came retirement, being alone, and I had to stop and think about how I got to this place, this questioning place. There is a time to search and a time to give up (Ecclesiastes), so the search continues in my life.
The dynamics of my life no longer made sense, I could not identify with what this stage of my life should be; alone, old, a storehouse of memories that could only be defined as constant grief. With this life style being “normal”, the means of processing it could not be accomplished in any normal way that I knew, any way that I could find in books, talking to others; I had to begin a journey that I did not have a “lifetime” to prepare, the need to seek the answers and understanding is now urgent.
We must live within our own schedule, we all experience grief, it is impossible for us to define it in the same way. Whether a lifetime or moments, days what causes grief is many times the same; the death of grandparents, parents, children, friends, death comes in different forms, but it all results in three words; it is final. When we lose our place in a family or have the lack of one, divorce, misplace a friendship, it all results in dealing with a grieving process.
It seems that happiness and grief go hand in hand; my mother never wanted me, she never gave hugs, kissed or told me she loved me; this has caused me a lifetime of grief. Yet I have had to be happy that she allowed me to come see her once a year! When she died, I did not suffer the grief of her dying as she had lived a long life and on her terms; I grieved because I had never heard her say “I love you”. Standing over a mound of red southern dirt brought this home to me, she had thrown away her chance to tell me and I had no more time to continue to try to get her to say it. One might say you need to let go, you must forget…unless you have never heard your mother or father tell you that they love you, you may not understand. Nevertheless, that child in me cannot heal, so I allow her to grieve, and I have given her permission to heal in her own time, if possible. After all, somewhere within she is still that child who wanted desperately to please, to hear that she mattered; and the grown up must now search for the answer too, “Who am I now”.
My heart continues to be like a patchwork quilt, keeping the memories alive it keeps breaking apart and I keep trying to mend it piece by piece, I hope my experience; my words will help others in some small way with their own losses throughout their lives. There are others, I know that I am not alone!