Don’t Be Stingy With Your Grief

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It’s taken me years to be able to grieve. No, I should say it has taken me years to be able to grieve in a manner that is not debilitating. It only takes one, you lose one person close to you and it sets in motion a lifetime of grieving that will only be compounded by the addition of more loss. We add loss, it happens to everyone. Once you have loss, you can’t get rid of it. Lose a parent, gain a child… you are still down one life. So we learn to manage it. We learn to manage our grief so that our grief does not manage us. I know all about being riddled with grief having lost both of my parents. A physical, mental, and spiritual breakdown of all things YOU. A crippling of your will, a weakening of your drive, a proverbial dampening of your powder… you can never be quite ready.

Three years after the passing of my mother, I am finally showing signs of life. A new man? Not quite, but a better man than the one I once was. Loss has a way of proving to you what is important, and it surprises you with revelations of what is now extraneous. I could write about the process for the next two years, but I’ve only come here to share a program that I owe my sanity and resilience to. It’s called GriefShare and it is very likely being held in a neighborhood near you.

So my description of it would be a group facilitated by people who have experienced a significant loss, that is geared towards people struggling to get on with life after losing a loved one. It is very much (Christian) faith based, but all are welcome. You start with a 20 minute video, then a discussion about the days topic (presented by the video), followed by some personal sharing if anyone is interested.  It’s typically a weekly meet-up that will run about 14 weeks, the frequency and duration being very important in building relationships and camaraderie within the group. Answering “how was your week?” is much easier than answering “how was your month?”, a monthly group would have never sufficed for me. I can’t stress enough how important it is to set time aside to grieve and work through your emotions. If you are anything like me you will push it deep down inside and let your feelings see as little daylight as possible. This often results in sporadic grief sneak attacks. I’ve found that setting aside a time to focus on my grief makes those surprise attacks few and far between. GriefShare is that time for me, it’s my weekly time of reflection and purposeful focus.

Click here to find a GriefShare near you

I’ve just started my 3rd round of GriefShare, there is absolutely no maximum number of times you should go through this process. Every moment of it helps. When you’ve gone through the GriefShare process you won’t simply know how to help yourself, but you will find that you are also able to help others that are struggling to cope with grief. If you do find a group and it has already started, go anyway. You can jump in at any week and it will still be very beneficial.

Now I often say this last part, but I never get a response. I am always available to anyone that has lost someone and am open to discussing what I’ve gone through as well as helping you find what may work in assisting your grief journey. I am also willing to just listen. You can be a stranger, you can be a friend, it does not matter to me. I am here to help. If you have my number, use it. If we are friends on Facebook, message me.

For everyone else: defnoyd@hotmail.com

 

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Life is Loud.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately. It was never all roses but there were a few…and now those have started to go bad. The road has been bumpy for me as of late and only now am I regaining my feet. Ever since my mom passed away last year I haven’t been able to do much right. Nothing is the same, nothing will ever be the same. I lost my father 17 years ago but when he went, I still had mom. Now I am an orphan at 36. There were no siblings. So I have an entirely new life right now. It’s not the same in any way. I am different. This is not a new chapter, the book ended. This is a new book. Though this new book started out like an ember in hell, I’ve learned that I am a much stronger reader than I thought. I don’t really have a point here. There is no great revelation… at least not yet. I’m lonely and sad most days, but for me it’s normal. Normal is good. You can get used to normal very quickly. I have a different look in my eyes… I think more than I ever have. I have a thousand yard stare sometimes that I am trying to get rid of, you know the one. A million things going on around you but you are focused on that point in the far distance. I’m still listening, but I stare off. Though I am alone and though I am sad, I am not depressed. That is key to my survival. Life is a series of guaranteed losses, the gains are up in the air. I  want nothing more than to gain a few things in this next book of life. Perhaps a family. Does anyone know where I can find one? Well I am going to make an effort to start writing again. I am thinking much clearer these days. I think I am ready.

 

 

Dealing With It. A Stream-Of-Consciousness Nothingness

Merry Christmas

On December 19th of 1999 my dad passed away, or my pop as I would call him. What can you do? It sends shivers down every holiday’s barrel. It can ruin you… but it can also make you persevere. What would you do? I avoided it for a decade. Thanksgiving is the event that sets my heart racing, it sends me panting, grasping for air. Christmas isn’t Christmas without you? That is not the case. It still exists. The spirit is still here and it is still kicking. Thank goodness. The holidays are tough aren’t they? They make you wax and wane. What if it’s marred with death? Almost unforgiving in nature and certainly relentless with reminders of a past that haunts you with lingering doubt. Will they ever be that good again? Will the Holidays ever make me smile again?  Will I ever wonder and wish and hope and dream… will I ever think that a miracle is around the corner? Yes. Help is right round the corner.  No one’s Christmas is perfect. Is this a sad thing? I seem to lose track of that notion. It can’t be perfect, can it? Of course not. That is what makes it so special. The imperfection, the flickering light. The new faces and new borns… they don’t know that this Christmas isn’t absolutely splendid. Well their naivety must make it so. The glimmer in their eyes, the sparkle in their smile… we can see that it is just the most wonderful time of the year and that it’s the most celebrating we can get in, in a two month span. There will always be a memory to smile about. Some things will never change. There is no reward in shying away from the jubilation at the end of the trepid season, we only torture ourselves. I am resigned to that fact. Each years adversity is overshadowed by a years worth of gained wisdom and peacefulness. It is getting easier. And all this time I thought it was getting harder. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. 2014 shall be one for the books, there is not one person that can deny it.

 

Tomorrow Is Not Enough

Were there no grey skies, the phrase “clear skies ahead” would too not exist. Or at least that is what I keep telling myself. Last night I spoke to a dear friend on the phone. It was late, a bit past 1AM.  It wasn’t a talk you ever want to have, but one that will consistently pop up throughout life. The topic was death.

This new year brought her a new pain. On the first, her father was abruptly bed ridden. On the second, he was in the hospital diagnosed with cancer… everywhere. Today, January 14th, he will be taken off life support. I don’t think she’s blinked once yet.

And so it is. That is how fast life can change. It takes no time at all to turn your world upside down. 13 years ago, I lost my father. And I don’t mean I misplaced him at the mall. I came home late one night, five days before Christmas and found him dead in the living room chair. These things happen, there is no real way to prepare yourself. We can only accept that it will happen one day, then live and celebrate life for the precious gift it is. Death doesn’t mean it is over, it doesn’t mean someone is gone forever. It just means their role in your life has changed, they will now guide you in ways you were unable to let them in their living days. The lessons my father taught me became so apparent and profound in the years after his passing, why hadn’t I noticed them earlier? It is wonderful, really. It makes me smile when a little jewel of information is revealed to me, even so long after his passing. How did he do that? It’s amazing, kind of like those time-released Ambiens.

It never gets easy, only less hard. I can joke about it now, but even after I have a laugh.. I look off into the distance and daydream into a fond memory. It is the only way to get by. A big part of life seems to be learning how to cope with loss. It’s best we figure it out sooner than later.  I could take the bleak look and say we go through life losing people, then people lose us. It’s not that bad though, I think of the people I’ve lost and I have a smile. I think of a good laugh we had or a timeless memorable moment, and just keep moving forward. After all, they are coming with me.

Well… to my friend I offer support and the guarantee that time will heal. There will be a lot of awkward silences to come; much emptiness in the void that until now, was never left vacant. Your heart will fill back up. You’ll cry again, but most importantly and most assuredly, you’ll smile again. Stay strong D.B.

Britain’s oldest man has died at 110 years and 63 days

Britain’s oldest man has died aged 110 years and 63 days | The Sun |News.

The Coroner has confirmed the cause of death as Catastrophic Lung Collapse Syndrome (CLCS). This is most common in folks a hundred years of age and older that are ordered to blow out candles 2 or more feet away from their face for photographic opportunities.