Sunday, February 27, 2011

Is Mourning a Lost Art?

At some point in grieving over the loss of my daughter, I began to find comfort in stories of the past, of children lost to other parents.  There was a comfort in knowing that many had experienced what I was going through.  When I would chance upon these old stories either in television programs, or online, I became very interested in mourning customs of other times.  All black clothing, jet black jewelry, weeping viels, armbands, shades drawn.  I came across this photo of Johanna McGrath on this website.  She really illustrated for me how I felt.  I wanted a mourning photo to show how I felt, because I wasn't sure it showed.  I had no giant black bow on my front door, nor did I wear all black crepe for months.  Many times I wore a smile on my face as I was distraught inside.

I have been reading Tom Zuba's posts on Facebook, where he commented: "Everyone experiences grief. Mourning is a lost art. Mourning is a path to healing, yet most have forgotten (or are discouraged) from doing it."  This comment reminded me of how I longed to be a mourner, but never felt it was acceptable.  

I've gotten so many comments that I am so strong.  To me, I believe this is because I am not locked in my room crying all day, or because I have not been hospitalized for suicidal behavior.  Well, the unthinkable happened, and although everyone thinks that they will not survive their child's death, guess what?  Your heart doesn't stop beating and you don't just drop dead, no matter how much you'd like to.  That would be an easy way out.  Instead, you go on living and you have to face day after day without your child.  It doesn't really mean I'm strong.

I really think it would have helped me to be able to publicly mourn without having to say a word.  To wear a symbol that everyone would understand.  So that I could go to the supermarket, and others would understand that I just wanted to buy my milk and not make chit chat.  Sometimes I would post something on my Facebook page for my friends, that I was missing her so much or something, and friends would post encouragement, but then I'd feel that I had to delete the post.  I didn't want to begin to fatigue my friends with constant grief.  In this case, I imagine an outward sign would have done much for me to feel heard, yet be able to go on.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Perhaps Spring will bring with it some motivation!

Motivation and energy are lacking around here.  I feel it is my general depressed state showing its head.  I do just what I have to do.  I go to work everyday, I take my children to lessons and oversee their events, I go to my 3 hour class once a week, I take care of my mom, I keep people and animals fed - I would be considered functional.  But I don't do anything more.  Too pooped to exercise, bored by my books, at a loss for what to knit, can't find time to match fabric to patterns and sew.  I'm actually impressed that I cleaned my carpets, but only because they were so disgusting.  I'm looking for motivation to get me moving.  January has kept me in a funk.

One thing I managed to finish:

I've been carrying around this purse for 2-3 years.

I made a batch of purses.  There were more than these.  I'm not sure where the pictures are at.  I sold some of them.

I needed a new one.  So I whipped this up.  I like this pattern/shape because I can fit a lot into the purse.  Here I have my Flash CS5 book with me.

Red on one side.

Brown on the other.
I'm really finding it hard to get the motivation to sew!  I read so many sewing blogs and these ladies and gents are so prolific.  Post after post.  Maybe that is the problem, I need to stop reading and start sewing. 
I was working on a quilt for my daughter's bed some time ago, but I stalled and didn't really like how it was turning out.   I recently found new inspiration and now I plan to use the same fabrics, but in a very different way, so hopefully, I'll have something to show for it soon.

I would also like to start on some summer sun dresses.  Comfortable, but good looking dresses for hot days.  Something not too revealing, but cool.  I'm thinking about something that doesn't require a bra to look decent, with a built in support.  Maybe that will get me started sewing some clothing.  I've been buying patterns, but then I can't get myself to make them!  Knowing summer is coming (eventually, it was only 18 the other day), and knowing that I am finding it hard to get motivated to exercise, I know I will be glad for some dresses to wear poolside, rather than swimsuits!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The feeling is simply there.

 "As the months pass and the seasons change, something of tranquility descends, and although the well-remembered footsteps will not sound again, nor the voice call from the room beyond, there seems to be about one in the air an atmosphere of love, a living presence. It is though one shared, in some indefinable manner, the freedom and the peace, even at times the joy, or another world where there is no more pain. The feeling is simply there, pervading all thought, all action."
Daphne Du Maurier

It is so satisfying when someone's words speak so clearly to you, or for you.  I have friends who are fans of quotes.  Why? I think because they have affirmation, "yes, this is what I think, too."  Although these ideas and thoughts may be initially written about events completely different than the readers' events, or even fictional, there is comfort in knowing you are not the only one to see things that way.  I also have many friends involved in music and the same goes on for that realm.  This musician speaks for me and thus understands me.  Are we all seeking connection, to someone who understands?  It certainly feels good to be understood.

Time hasn't healed my wounds, but the above quote gives me some perspective to strive for.  Some days the pain is so raw, others, I can move about and remember so many pleasant moments with joy.  I would very much like to feel my daughter's beautiful presence with me always.  The feeling is simply there.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Write it out!

Have you felt like you were going to burst at the seems for all the intensity of feeling rising up in you?  Just as getting out a good cry can help me function through another day, getting the words out can help me feel some relief.

One of the hardest parts of losing my young daughter is losing our interactions.  She was my everyday - with me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we were very close.  We had family, friends, doctors and nurses, but most of all, we had each other.  When she died, I lost the chance to share everything with her, laugh with her, to tell her I love her and to hear the same from her.

I have a small journal that she had made with craft supplies at the hospital.  It has a flower painted on the front.  On the first page, my daughter had written, "I love Mom".  All of the rest of the pages were empty.  She was never able to write in it again.  One day, I was so overwhelmed with missing her and needing her with me, and I picked up that journal and read her note.  Then I turned the page and wrote to her.  I told her I loved her, I missed her.  I told her to imagine me hugging her.  I told her what her brother and sister and I were doing.  I felt much calmer afterward. So the next day I wrote to her again.  I've written to her since, but not everyday.  The amazing thing is how much I feel like we have a bit of that connection again.  And once I am able to get my message to her down, I am able to move throughout the day without that giant bubble of emotion growing unbearably urgent in me.

I would encourage anyone grappling with the pain and stress of grief to consider writing it out.  Many people have commented that I should consider writing a book or keeping a journal.  But what I really needed to do was get a piece of the relationship we had back.  I needed to feel I had communicated with her.