through the fire...
It goes without saying that my Mother's death has affected my life in ways I never imagined, not necessarily good or bad, its just that I know I will never, ever be the same. Death does that to you.
I have a couple close friends that are in the process of losing a parent. I know each friend will need to deal and cope in the best way they know how. It is my hope I can be there for them in whatever way they need the most.
When my Mom first became sick, I did not want to discuss it with anyone. I felt like if I were to put words to what was happening it would make her illness even more real. I was in shock and disbelief and in some ways I still am. It was only when I was finally able to catch my breath, that I told a few close friends what was going on. Some people need to really talk and have lots of people surrounding them in a time of crisis.
It was not that way for me. Talking to others was really hard. I wanted to keep my feelings within our family, or with the doctors. I felt like I could "control" all the intensity better by keeping it this way. I know this may not make sense to some, but there is no "making sense" when someone you love is dying. You never know how you will react (or how the people around you will react) when this reality knocks on your door. And if something appears to be giving you the feeling of control, you hold onto that with a very tight grip.
There came a definite point when I knew Mom was not going to make it. And from that moment on, nothing. else. mattered. nothing.
Some of the people in my life truly understood the way I needed to be. These friends gave me the space and time I needed to find my way through. (I am forever grateful for their understanding.) They were the ones I always knew were there no matter what. These were the friends who I didn't have to say a word to and they still got it. They were the ones who put zero expectations on me.
I will never forget the one friend who said to me (and knows me so well),
"Jen, I know you can't talk about your Mom right now, but I am always here and always thinking of you. And you do not have to worry about taking care of me or anyone else right now. Just take care of you and your Mom, do what you need to do."
Those words were some of the most appreciated words spoken to me during that time. I will never forget that moment and how much it meant to me...
There were also those who truly did not understand. I think they personalized why I wasn't sharing more about what was going on, or were hurt from my sudden absence from their life. I know some people feel scared when you are no longer in the role you are usually in. I can't blame them for feeling their feelings but at the time I considered their behavior incredibly selfish and I had zero tolerance for it.
The bottom line was that I had to preserve every single ounce of what was left within me for my Mom and my family. If someone couldn't understand that, or was "hurt" because their needs weren't at the forefront of my mind, I couldn't worry about it.
I am seeing things a lot differently now,... people aren't perfect and my friends have good hearts, some just aren't capable in dealing with this kind of thing.
I typically don't like it when people say, "You can't understand until you have been through it" but in many ways, this is true.
There were also people who were just so freaked out by what was happening, that the only way they could manage was to was to step away for awhile. I wish they wouldn't feel guilty for this because to be honest, I was totally okay with it. The last thing I needed was to have to coach someone through their own fears about loss while I was struggling so terribly.
And then there were those earth angels... The people I had never met, or hardly knew, who reached out with such tender care. Their love came out of nowhere, and it was one of the dearest gifts. (I was blessed with many of these angels. . .)
Maybe you are in the middle of loss and grief right now. I know some days the weight feels unbearable. I hope you are doing whatever it is you need to do. I hope you have people in your life that you feel supported by. I hope that you know there is no wrong or right way in grief. And I hope love is surrounding you. I hope you have earth angels.
Maybe you are the friend of someone who is going through the loss of a loved one. I know it can be so hard and so exhausting, and you may not know what to do. But your support matters so very much. It's okay to ask what your friend needs, but understand, they may not know. (and their needs may change.)
Just try to honor the space they are in even if it doesn't make sense to you. Curb your expectations and understand that the way you deal with things may not be the right way for them. Your friend is more than likely running on fumes, their brain is fried, their very core has been shaken, and their heart is really banged up. So Just be gentle.
and remember that you can't go wrong with love...
...the best answer of what to do always rests in love. . .
Peace to you..
Posted by jen
at 10:10 PM | link
January 06, 2012
i love that skirt.
i love that today felt like spring, and it is so not.
i love it when the stray cat finally lets me pet her after 5 months of feeding her and talking to her in a nice kitty voice.
i love when conversation with a friend is easy and real.
and i love going to dinner at a total dive after a long week.
Have a great weekend folks :)
Posted by jen
at 06:09 PM | link
January 04, 2012
the goods. . .
***Regsitration for the Squam Art Workshops begins on Monday, January 9th! YOU deserve this gift of such an amazing experience. Please contact us ifyou have any questions!
***Speaking of gifts, there are some sweet giveaways happening at Susannah Conway's and Soule Mama's blogs, enter to win one of these beautiful cups!
*photo by Christine
***Need a juicy idea? check out Michelle's detox juice
***Loving listening to Ane Brun these days.
Have a good day! xo
Posted by jen
at 12:47 PM | link
January 01, 2012
perspective and practice.
Venice, Photo by Dad
There are a few things you will always hear my Dad say if you spend a little time with him. On any given day he will say "We are so lucky" and "You only live once, so live it up." It's no surprise with a perspective like that to learn he has had a really good life. Things seem to happen easily for him. And Lord knows, over the years he has collected an incredible amount of adventures. I believe so much of this is because he chooses to see life in a brighter light. (this has always inspired me.)
Attitude makes all the difference in this world. We hear so much talk and chatter about the impact a positive outlook can have, but how much are we willing to practice this? Trying on a new way of seeing things until it becomes second nature?
One of my core inspirations comes from the character Ruth Gordon (Maude), plays in the film, Harold and Maude. I simply adore her zest and her aliveness and the way she loves. I feel like I have lost a little of the "Maude" in my life in the past couple years and 2012 is the year I'd like to get it back...
What is it that you want to bring (or bring back) into this new year? What could make this year be better for your heart?
Posted by jen
at 06:35 PM | link