The Deeper the Loss the Deeper the Pain

 

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In my journey through grief I stumbled upon a great article that really defines our journey through the mourning process— taking us somehow from dark to light.

Tons of therapy helps of course– but embracing the pain and pushing through it is how we grow.

I miss my mother everyday.

Everyday.

But I know that she would want me to thrive.

I’m still trying.

Please read ahead:

Adversity is of value because it often helps us grow more mature. How does this work?

Human psychology is concerned, at heart, with loss and the threat of loss. So it begins with desire, and with the consequent forming of attachments to all manner of people and things: to places, wealth, objects, activities, ideas (including political and religious ideas); to anything under the sun.

The converse of desire is aversion. They go together. If you like something, you are averse to losing it. If you dislike something, you desire its absence. Likes and dislikes are part of being human. No-one avoids desires and attachments, or the painful emotional consequences. However, we can learn to manage them wisely. It helps a great deal to understand the process, as follows.

Let’s say you own a costly diamond, and keep it locked away. Your desire for the precious gemstone and attachment to it naturally spark the emotions of anxiety and doubt. You have heard that thieves are operating in the area, and are uncertain, possibly to the point of bewilderment, about how best to protect your possession.

Anxiety, bewilderment and doubt are the first emotional responses to the threat of loss. As threat intensifies (when, say, attempts are made to break in and steal the jewel), angercommonly arises. Your security is threatened. Your people are threatened. Your ideas about yourself and the world may feel threatened too. Defiance, resistance to loss, gives birth to these feelings of anger.

Eventually, your defences are breached. Let’s say the theft actually takes place. Anger persists for a time as the reality and extent of the loss sinks in. Feeling responsible; that you could and should have done more to prevent the intrusion, for example; you begin to experience the emotions of shame and guilt. Finally, in full face of the loss, realization dawns upon you. When forced to accept the reality of it, with nothing left to do to reverse the situation, nothing left to say to justify it, only sadness remains.

Playing the Musical Scales

These painful emotions are linked. Like the colours in a rainbow or the notes of a musical scale, they set each other off. Happily, this is not the end of the story.Grieving is a process that eventually leads not only to healing but also to personal growth. Each painful emotion is related to a pain-free counterpart, as follows:

 

Spectrum of Painful and Pain-free Emotions

Wanting (desire) – Contentment

Bewilderment – Clarity

Anxiety – Calm

Doubt – Confidence

Anger – Acceptance

Shame – Worth (self-esteem)

Guilt – Innocence (purity)

Sadness – Happiness (joy)

Real sadness is accompanied by tears, by weeping. This liberates emotional energy that was previously invested in attachment to whatever has been lost. An emotional cleansing (‘catharsis’) occurs, and results in a renewal of energy. With this natural and healthy re-charging of the emotional batteries, sadness turns spontaneously into its polar opposite,joy. Guilt and shame revert in a similar way to self-esteem and a sense of purity. Anger likewise switches over from resistance towards acceptance. Anxiety becomes calm. Doubts fade, leaving a sense of certainty. Bewilderment evaporates, leaving clarity. Finally, with full acceptance of the loss, desire is replaced by contentment. Calm, joyful satisfaction is felt with things just as they are… Until desire and aversion take hold once again!

We go through this sequence towards catharsis, healing and growth frequently, in small things and on the grand scale, whenever threats and losses are experienced and weathered. The emotional release, as the process resolves, leaves us more alive, more spontaneous, less fearful, and better able to stay clearly focused in the present moment.Personal growth like this is usually permanent and cumulative. We continue to build our strengths and our virtues. It may feel like it sometimes, but we are not designed to go backwards.

For those already mature enough to let go easily of their attachments, happiness arises with, or even ahead of sorrow; so laughter works to unlock the emotions as well as, or even better than, tears. The mental clarity associated with such emotional healing fosterswisdom and creativity. Other people, no longer experienced as competitors, are now seen as fellow strugglers and sufferers on life’s difficult path. This insight then fosters a rise in fellow-feeling, selflessness, compassion, wisdom and love. When someone faces and accepts a loss, and weathers the emotional whirlwind that follows until calm is once again restored, everybody benefits. That’s what I call maturity!

Emotional healing and spiritual growth

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/spiritual-wisdom-secular-times/201208/emotional-healing-and-personal-growth-spirituality

 

 

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Christmas. Alone.

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The last time I saw my brother he said he was there for me.

That I always have a room at his house.

That he is on my side.

The day before I left, he told me to take my stuff out of his house.

Because things have changed. He and his wife are having a baby.

 

He knew this before he made claims of being there for me.

I know a baby means change, but the baby was only eight weeks in.

I’m happy for him, I guess.

In many ways I don’t care anymore.

I’m okay with that too. Maybe I should care more. But I don’t.

No one needs to seek abuse.

 

In this journey you realize you are alone and somehow have to be okay with it.

There is a shift happening inside me, where I am okay in this loneliness.

Sometimes I’m not.

But I’m more okay than not, right now.

I still cry over all this loss. But that’s okay too.

At least I feel.

 

Mom.

Step-dad.

Dad.

Brother.

All lost. All gone.

 

I have to take care of me, because no one else will.

And as much as this hurts.

It’s okay. I’m okay. I have to believe that.

As I go on to create my own tribe, I stand alone.

But my tribe is my choice.

 

Christmas has changed forever.

But I’m okay.

 

Two Years Past….I Miss You Mom!

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It’s been two years since she left us.
Two years since I got the call.
Two years spent lost inside myself,
In a sea of pain, struggling against each wave.
Hoping for a moment of peace.

I’ve cried inconsolably.
Lost friends. Made friends.
Days spent staring at four walls.
Nights spent in a dreamless haze wondering,
“Could this be real?”

Mistakes. I’ve made so many.
Hoping she’d somehow come,
And set me straight again.
To have her scream at me.
To hear her yell, “Stop! I love you!”

I think back to that day, that year, these nights,
And wonder how I’ve made it through,
With most of my heart torn away.
I’ve become sensitive,
Each slight an open wound.

I wish I could say more happy things.
I wish I could not feel the pain.
I wish I could live each day, as she would want me to,
But right now, I just pull through,
And to me, that is victory.

I miss you, Mom.
You were the greatest. Are the greatest.
Today, I hold on to the love you gave me,
And ask those closest to me,
To treasure the love of a mom.

Right. Wrong. Way.

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Life seems to be a process of letting go. Over and over and over again– and over again. I am barely growing accustomed to not having my mom around. I still miss her so much. Long for her phone call. Long really for someone who really gives a fuck about me. I don’t mean to be crass, but it’s true. My mom. Moms in general. Really are, for the most part, the ones who really care about what happens to us on a daily basis.

So, in an attempt to be a good daughter, I have tried to keep the little family I have together. But to be crass again, they are assholes. Self-centered shits. Some therapists say, whatever you think of others, may be what you think of yourself. Well, that may be true, I am an asshole and a shit and sometimes a big murky pond of diarrhea, but you know what, I, at least try to care, or pretend to.

This past month has been yet another of separation. I see my therapist on a weekly basis. Sometimes, I think it’s good; other times I think it’s bad. But, I hope for the most part it’s good. Recently, in one of our sessions I came to the realization that my objective to keep the family together – in writer terms—has been in the “right-wrong-way”. At least that’s what we call it when our protagonist/hero, is trying to resolve their objective with proper intention and bad thinking coupled with some bad actions.

What have I been doing?

No. No. Not sleeping with another married man, but trying to salvage my relationship with my brother. How have I been accomplishing this you ask? Well. Emails, texts, phone calls. Reminders of our youth. Nostalgia. Words. Lots of them. Recently, all he has been able to say to me is, “the only thing we have in common is that we came from the same parents.”

OUCH. What a shit! Right?

So. I’ve resolved to do as he and my stepfather do and (yes, we don’t share the same father, but I guess he forgot that, I have no relationship with said biological dad either— another shit, right?), anyway, I have resolved NOT to give chase. I’ve resolved not to beg my object of affection, my dear brother, to be a part of my life, instead, I am releasing him while leaving the door open in case he wants to come through again. Life hurts, but begging is a form of self-flagellation I don’t need to participate in anymore.

I ‘m learning that family isn’t a blood relationship; it is a bond between two people or clan of people who want you in their lives. Who care about you. Who love you. This is all I want, and let me tell you, it’s liberating. Maybe, now, romantically I will call the right one in, now that I am no longer on the right, wrong way.

Stages of Grief. Where are you in your grief?

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After much reading and a lot of concern, I think, after 18 months since my mother’s passing, I am slowly coming out of the “Depression and Detachment” phase.  I am finally reaching out to friends.  Accepted some dinner dates and am hoping to find meaning in my life.  I miss my mother so much.  I am barely able to look back and smile at the life we shared, but still with a deep sadness.  I do think that I was fortunate to have had such a close relationship with my mother and am happy she was on Earth as long as she was.  One of the last things she said to me was, “I don’t have to worry about you anymore.”  Maybe that’s when she decided heaven was a better place for her.  I miss her so much, this is indeed the deepest heartbreak.

It’s the little things….

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I have this calendar hung on my wall from 2012, it’s theme is “How Much I Love Being Your Mother”– my mother gave it to me and I never take it down.  She passed in January of 2013. In it, is documentation of her trips to the hospital that year.

How could I not have seen it coming?  It’s sad to lose a mother and my mother was a great mother.  Funny how the little things moms give us, amount to so much.

That November, I distinctly remember feeling so utterly disappointed, displeased, shocked by my brother.  My mother had brought up that she would need a kidney transplant to my brother.  He had the audacity to say, “Mom, I can’t.  Because of my anxiety.  I don’t think I could handle a transplant.”  Then, my mother asked me, and I said, “Yes.”  My mom asked, “Are you sure?”  My answer was, “Yes.  Now if you ask if I want you or me to get operated, then, no.  But if it means having you around a lot longer, so you can finally eat some of the things you like.  Then absolutely, YES!”

What saddens me about my brother or the situation, is that it wasn’t me and my brother going at it on who would give the kidney, in my mind we should have been fighting for the honor.  But he so easily backed out.   I was scared, but ready, and he was okay to say, “No.”

Now, as I look at the calendar, I’m taken back to that time.  Telling her over Thanksgiving that she needs to get better, that we need to get her better, that we need to get the kidney thing going, because the only reason I ever visited home, was for her.  It was true.I miss her.  As I look at this calendar, it is a reminder of how limited our time is, of how limited her time was, for the sake of not ending on a platitude, it is a reminder that life is not what we do, but who we “do” it with.

I miss you, Mom. Thank you, for all the little things.

Mistress NO More!

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I’ve always known better. Heck , I was raised Catholic, not that that means much these days, but I did it— I had an affair with a married man. He is 12 years older than me and his wife is 7 years older than him, which technically means his wife could be my mother. I’ve seen pictures of her, she’s definitely older, but that’s neither here nor there, this is an affair.

How it started. Seven months after my mom passed, I was reunited with HIM in a production staff meeting. I was brought on to a show to help write a TV pilot. HE happened to be producing that pilot. I had worked with him previously on other films and we had the same boss for eight years, until I left the production company to pursue my own writing career. He hit on me then, and I refused him because he was MARRIED, which didn’t matter much to him anyway because he found another side-dish to play with, but we became friends and I became privy to all the women he dated on set.

Even then he said his marriage was over, that he and his wife stayed together for their son. His wife is an airline stewardess and they made the agreement for her to fly during the weekdays, if he would be home on the weekends with their son. A perfect space for infidelity.  He would spend 4-5 nights a week with me.

After we caught up, he confessed that he’s always been in love with me and felt this reunion to be serendipitous, “meant to be”, whatever—and so it began. He said that he was separated, intent on getting a divorce, once his son left to college.  But recently, I found out that this was not that case, that the divorce wasn’t even on the table, that I was in fact his mistress.

His weekday concubine.

He claimed that once his son left to college this year, and got the divorce finalized things would change. That he would be with me on weekends. That we would have a life together.  All the cliches.  We have not had one weekend in 10 months. It’s been three weeks since his kid left to Berkeley, and I’ve learned that he is currently a financial disaster and has had to borrow money from family and friends just to pay bills, a difficult task since he was accustomed to make over 500k a year.  Now, his wife pays the mortgage and he pays simple bills.  He says, now, without money he cannot get a divorce.  How convenient.

All this came as a surprise, because we would go out on elaborate dinners on one of his credit cards. Card he could be using to pay his house. He busts his ass working in a job that pays a fraction of his income to pay towards the house he and his wife built and apparently plans on keeping, AND  in my experience, if you really want out of a relationship, you get out. If they were really separated and getting a divorce, wouldn’t they logically sell the house, split the profits and move on?

Pain and humiliation finally set in, when I found out I had been duped.

Oh, he was skillful with his life.  He had me convinced he was separated, made it even seem like they had an open relationship and were merely waiting to get the son off to college.  That they slept in different rooms.  Didn’t have sex. How could he  if he spent 4-5 nights a week with me? How could a divorce not be in the making?

Deep down, I knew something was off, but I ignored my instincts.

Why?  Because I didn’t want to be alone.  And he also having lost his father years ago, could relate to my grief.  He knew how much I loved my mother.  He would hold me. Tell me he loves me. Endure my depressive states. Kiss me.  Hold my hand.  Let me cry. He made no judgements.  He also presented a good case for staying in the facade of the marriage he didn’t want to be in– for not divorcing immediately —for his son.  Given that my father figure has been anything but amazing to me, this got me, this lured me in.  I believed him.

But boy did it hurt when I found pictures of him with the wedding ring he claimed not to wear. When I found Thanksgiving pictures of him and his wife, her with a ring he claimed she didn’t wear. I confronted him and he said, “It’s for the kid.” — I still believed him.

Yeah. I know. Stupid. Naive.  Me.

I told myself it must be true, I mean, what kind of husband can get away from being home four to five nights a week? What husband can get away with spending tons of money on dinner on his mistress?

He claims he doesn’t have sex with his wife.  That he sleeps in a separate room, that that’s how it’s been for years. That her sex drive has diminished and he has no desire for her anyway—yeah, I don’t believe it either, I’m sure they have some sex. I asked him if he still loved her, even just a tiny bit. I begged him that if he did, to go back to her and leave me alone. To work it out, not for his son, but for him and his wife, after all they have built a life together, but he said there is no way it would ever work out, that he’s been emotionally and physically out of his marriage for over ten years and there’s no going back and divorce is imminent, but from what I see, not right now.

I realize none of this matters. I realize I was wrong. I sinned, even if he was “in the process” of divorce, he was not divorced.

I was weak.

I couldn’t bear being alone.

Grief without a partner is bad. Sometimes all you want is a body next to you to reassure you that you will be okay. Someone to hold you and love you, even if it means losing your self-respect and ignoring your morals and values. I didn’t want to go in as a mistress, in fact, every Monday, like clockwork I would tell him I didn’t think what we were doing was right,  that we should be together when the divorce is finalized, that it was not only affecting me, but his wife and his son.  That is was wrong.  But he convinced me otherwise.

I didn’t want to go through this ending, but that’s what happens when you look for signs from the afterlife.

I swore my mother would bring my husband to be. I prayed the sign would be a number, possibly something related to her birthdate. My mom was very keen on numbers and numerology. When I found out his son’s birthday was the same birthday as my mom’s, I was sure this was the sign. Especially when he confessed that he’s been in love with me since the moment he met me ten years ago. Yeah, I bought it.  I bought it all.

But my mother wouldn’t want this for me.

So, today, I took matters into my own hands, via text,  who needs a face-to-face these days with all our social media.

Maybe some of the fog of grief is lifting and I’m beginning to think again.

I basically texted him a message saying that I need to move on, that he has clearly chosen the life he wants to be in, and I can’t be half in anymore. That we can be friends someday, but not until I’m in love with someone else and I have my life back on track. I’m not really sure if we can be friends, but I didn’t want to make it ugly. This is already ugly enough. He was supposed to be with me on Sunday, per the plan,he didn’t even cancel and that was it for me, reality hit me like a ton of rocks— he’s really not getting a divorce.

He lied.

So, today I realized I can’t be his beck and call girl anymore. That maybe it’s time am alone.  Really, alone. I can’t be a mistress or a weekday concubine. I deserve better, so does his wife and kid. Please pray that I continue to be strong in my resolve.