Living and Breathing a Patchwork Life…
“Who am I now?” I keep on searching, in truth I may never fully know, daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, griever…
As a child when taught about death, it was not that God needed us back or that our mission in life was over; only taught to believe it was a natural process in life, we would live in the sky with our grandmothers and grandfathers; we are born and we must die! This did not prepare me for what I would feel within and what effect the death of a loved one might have on me. Taught to be strong, not cry if hurt within or on the outside, to be strong one did not show emotions; if one must grieve, grieve alone. It was the “way” of my family throughout time; my great-great-grandmother who walked the long dangerous road called “The Trail of Tears”, taught this to my great-grandmother who help raised me!
This may explain my views toward grief, my actions toward grief of all heartbreaking situations within my life. Since it is not dictated by rules or absolutes, each of us are unique in our own way, our grief is also uniquely our own.
The loss of my father, whom was the subject of my poem “The Chickasaw Farmer”, brought me to the brink of suicide. He never showed any emotion toward me, no affection; but he was the second strongest individual in my life; my great-grandmother being the first. He had raised me almost in the role of a single parent. When my great-grandmother died, he showed strength that I wanted to emulate; he said that “Ma” would not want us to cry, it was not the way. When he died, I had no one to remind me of the way he taught me to follow; I had no one to support me, I cried, then it ended and I would no longer let it go beyond my throat. It suffocated me, choked me, I could no longer live without the only person in the world that had concern enough to care for me. This unrelenting grief lived within me for eight months.
Each time I reached the edge of nothingness my father would speak within my mind and to my soul; his words were clear, “Be strong, it is not your time”. During these months, I did not show this grief to anyone, I cared for my children, worked and existed; after the eight month, I came to terms with myself and I existed!
Changes were emotion, physical, thoughts, behavior and spiritual; I shut down within, in thought I searched for answers, I socially withdrew from everyone but my children and I questioned my own spiritual convictions. How long can grief consume one, my father will be gone thirty-seven years on January 27, 2014. The pain of this loss is unbearable, the mind fears these coming days, and I question is the way actually the right way?
The loss of my children…only four years ago; there is still numbness and disbelief, tears that flow unseen, locked within never to exit, a fog of anger and helplessness, sadness and depression from which there is no relief; but I must survive.
Therefore, my heart continues to be like a patchwork quilt, in keeping the memories alive, it, my heart, 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.