The Love In Loss

FlowersTHE FATHER WHO RAISED ME FROM THE AGE OF 12, MY STEPDAD, PASSED AWAY TODAY. I’ve experienced the loss of several loved ones in the last few years, my husband, my mother, my biological dad, a cousin, an aunt and now “Gramps”. I didn’t have this blog when the others transitioned. This post is for all of them.

Loss through death is the big one, isn’t it? It affects us more than any other type of loss. It’s accompanied with so many complicated feelings besides pain and sadness. I have also felt guilt, confusion and anger with each passing. When my husband died I was blessed to have the insight of two very wise people (a friend and a therapist) who taught me about the Love in loss.  They showed me that all those feelings were/are really products of the power of the most important feeling and of course, that’s Love. It’s the power of Love that keeps our loved ones with us in a very real way. The pain in our hearts when we think of those who have transitioned is where we are blessed to keep them through the power of Love.

My stepdad wasn’t a perfect man but he had a quiet strength of character (He had to be quiet and have strength to be married to my mother!) He was also a man of immense faith. He taught me to have faith in that power of Love. That’s why at this time of his passing I’m sitting in gratitude instead of grief.

My (Partial) Gratitude List

GloryThe Divine One’s Love
The Divine One’s mercy
Love
The love in my heart 
My kids
Olivia
The memory of Bill
Memories in general
The roof over my head
Constant affirmation of my sensibility: it really is The One
Absurdist humor
Humor in general
Music, always and forever
The music of my roots
The big one: hot water on demand
London
Things that grow in the ground
I saw Barack Obama elected president
My health
My health insurance 
My safety
Each new day
I don’t go hungry
Good food, of course
The ability to say, “I don’t know”
My kids grew up safely
The sky
The ocean
Songbirds
Nature in general
My sibs
My friends
My cousins
Freedom from want
The human body heals itself 
The fact that thoughts are private
The human voice
The ability to read
The ability to write
I don’t have fertility issues anymore
I’m not poor
I don’t live in military state
Newport
The Internet happened during my lifetime
This breathe
Springtime
Summertime
Seasons in general
Who am I kidding, I’m so grateful for TV
 I can afford not to steal
My broken ankle didn’t cost me the ability to walk
The window at work
That I write! (How did this get so far down on the list?)
Really good smells 
Babie’s faces
Olivia’s face

  So, that’s my list. What’s yours?

Summering in Gratitude

The Love of Livie

I’M a very happy person right now. Circumstances have coalesced so as to give me the opportunity to be away from my “regular” life this summer. I’m spending the time basking in love and light. The love comes in the person of my beautiful one year old granddaughter who I’m looking after. (Don’t go making  judgements about my age. You don’t know what the deal might be. LOL.)  The light comes from the place. I’m living south of my permanent home. I love the weather here. I’ve written in the past about how much I dislike the cold and dark and being here seriously makes me question why I live where I do.

Because there will be a lull in my usual responsibilities, the plan is for me to do a lot of writing. I’ve already started and the topics are popping into my head at breakneck speed. Some of them I’ll be sharing in this blog. My location leads me to want to write about the Civil War and race history in this country. And I think I’m going to try to tackle feelings about growing older (yeah, it’s the grandmother thing. I said, don’t judge!) I always write about spirituality and religion so I’ll continue to do that. Last but not least, I’m definitely going to write about gratitude. I’m so grateful to be in this position this summer. I’m aware that it’s enviable and a blessing. At this point I feel as though the bridge that the waters of my life have flowed under may be gone but I sit in a boat of gratitude floating onward.

Are there any summertime topics you think I should write about? Please let me know by posting a comment. Help me make this time well spent!

In the Dead of Winter

I mentioned in my previous post that I have persistent thoughts of death in the winter. I don’t mind because I think it’s natural. Historically winter has universally been interpreted as the dead time of the year.

Every year I contemplate the lack of plant life and the hibernation of animals at this time, but more than that I think about human death. I tend to focus on loved ones who have passed on and re-mourn their loss. I would say that my definition of ghosts is the occurrence of re-experiencing someone or something that is gone so as to feel as though they are still present and further to feel the absence as a presence itself. To me ghosts are our own feelings. That’s why I think those ghost hunting shows are hilarious. Why hunt our own feelings? (Although a lot of us spend time doing it in therapy). And as an aside, how would the dead, who have moved on to a totally new reality, spend time here. Can you or I go back in time?

Anyway, I think about that every time I look at pictures or movies of people who are gone. I know they are gone yet it feels to me; it registers on my emotional scale as though they are still here. I couldn’t watch any of my favorite old movies if I viewed the actors as a bunch of corpses or ghosts. I was thinking about it today while I was listening to one of my favorite Curtis Mayfield songs. I could hear him inhale in the recording and yet he was not inhaling. The time of the recordings are “ghosts” themselves. That particular time of that song being sung that particular way is gone yet I am experiencing it now. Just as the plant life and animal life appear to be gone at this time of year yet we experience them anew but what feels like again in the spring, are we humans ever really gone as long as someone can re-experience us in some way? Ghosts, ghost images, ghost songs, ghost feelings. .. Ahh, but spring is less than a month away (March 20th).  The full snow moon is behind us and sunsets happen later now. As always, the added light prompts in me thoughts of new life. I hope it does in you as well.