Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Shades of Grief

  I have been thinking a lot lately of the many shades of grief that a survivor goes through from my experience.
      Perhaps, you will find a bit of yourself.  We have had almost nine years to experience the many hues. Believe me, when I say, we have been all over the spectrum.
Shade # 1 Black...deep, dark despair and not grasping the enormity of this new reality
Shade # 2 Deep black...floating in disbelief, shock, and denial
Shade # 3 Deeper black..sleeping, lack of appetite and hoping when I woke this had all been a dream
Shade #4  Deepest black..isolation, loss of interest in life, a sense of total aloneness and detachment
Shade #5  Bright Red...anger directed at myself, my husband, and God. I was angry at what we could have done, might have done, should have done, and how often I had prayed that our son would find peace. How dare God grant him peace this way!
Shade #6 Bright orange....not angry all the time but argumentative and wanting to lash out toward others when they complained about something trivial.  How could a lost grocery list remotely compare to my loss?
Shade #7 Charcoal gray....angry at returning to work, angry at others for getting on with their lives, and angry toward my family because they did not grieve like I was.
Shade #8 Navy blue..."Show time" at work that I was getting along better.  I couldn't wait to get into the safe haven of my car and cry all the way home.
Shade # 9 Deep green...moving through what I needed to and drowning in the vastness of grief
Shade # 10 Yellow orange...clouds lifted a few minutes at a time and then I felt really guilty for enjoying something.
Shade # 11 Black...How dare I think I should go on with life.  After all, our son can't enjoy any part of life.
Shade # 12 Blue..days of sadness but not the entire day.  I was able to forget for awhile and get into something else.
Shade # 13  Light blue... I began to make plans and get some future dates on the calendar.
Shade # 14  Deep Purple...I cancelled all plans and felt guilty for making them and guilty for canceling them.
Shade # 15 Deeper Purple...Now I felt guilty about canceling plans with friends.
Shade # 16  Deep pink...Putting something on the calendar and looking forward to it but thinking I could cancel if I had to.
Shade # 17 Dark green...Spring was coming with her dress of color and hope.  I loved the season, but I couldn't appreciate all the new life.
Shade # 18 Green...The warmth of the days came, and I could feel my moods lifting.  I began planting young flowers and filling our yard with color.
Shade # 19 Lime Green...The beautiful colors of early summer and more outdoor activity kept me more content and willing to get out and socialize more.
Shade # 20 Rainbow colors....My life is now made up of a myriad of colors and mostly bright ones. On some occasions, my colors have some tinges of black.  When that happens, I know I am not and never will be over what has happened and I don't criticize myself for that. I can appreciate the days as they come- one at a time.

     A saying I found and cannot take credit for but brought me some solace and maybe it will for you.
     "The more you dwell on what you don't have the more you get what you don't want. "

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Can Love Be Yours Again?

Can Love Be Yours Again?

By Bonnie Swade

          Spring is in the air and love is blooming.  Our pond has Mr. Frog who at night sits on his rock and croaks for his mate.  The flowers are emerging from the ground and all things are in “bloom mode” except for a suicide survivor.  Often times the feelings are I am unlovable and not worthy of love. It could be too that because we have experienced such a loss it may feel like betrayal.  A wife or husband feels cheated because all the future plans they made are now lost.  The loss of a child carries all the feelings of missed occasions such as not walking a son or daughter down the aisle, not seeing a graduation, never holding a grandchild of his or hers. Losing a parent to suicide leaves many unanswered questions such as “Why didn’t I know my mom or dad was feeling that way?” Anger comes because of missed family times and financial chaos to go through.  A sister or brother feels the loss in a totally different way. The loss of a sibling brings about all kinds of memories from childhood.  Losing a close friend too leaves feelings of guilt. Why didn’t I know? What could I have done? No matter the relationship of the person you lost by suicide, the feelings of despair and moving through life without that person seem unbearable.

          After the loss of a loved one, many emotions emerge. One of the stronger emotions may be I am not worthy to give or receive love. To compensate some survivors find comfort in overeating, overdrinking, doing anything to excess to dull the pain.  Others may go in the opposite direction and stop eating, taking care of themselves, overmedicating, and isolating themselves from others.  They feel a sense of guilt and shame and do not feel they have the right to ask others who love them for help. So, our feelings stay bottled inside and our relationships with others deteriorates.  We no longer feel we have the right to have a life when our loved one is gone.

           We do have the right to love and be loved.  That is what separates humankind from other species.  Yes, we do feel life is over and we cannot love again.  However, we cannot take on the actions or feelings of our loved ones.  Just like the flowers that wilt and die when the season is over, they break through the earth every spring and seek warmth from the sun.  Allow yourself to grieve, as we each have our own timeline. Seek the life you deserve and emerge from the darkness. Bring sunlight to your soul once more and thrive in your new you and love will follow.

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Sunday, February 5, 2012


     With an extremely mild winter this year, I really didn't get the opportunity to "hunker down."  I didn't get to stay inside look at snow flakes, lounge around all day wearing sweats, and getting in the kitchen baking bread.  My husband didn't get the chance to use his new toy- a snow blower.  So. like the animals we move into Spring not even needing to shed our winter coats. Some of the pansies have even made it through so far and our trees especially our Magnolia (which has buds) is confused.
     Often shifting from one season to the next, gives opportunities to awaken new dreams and goals.
Not so much this winter, so I am  working still on my creative side.  I am not a crafter although I appreciate the clever items I see made from a plastic bottle, a few ribbons, hot glue and the mantra someone is chatting, "It's so easy anyone can do it!"  I am also not a seamstress even with the new easy Jiffy Patterns that are available. I can sew up a few things but really don't like it.  The Stretch n Sew class years ago cured me of thinking I could just whip something up.  That was the year people were quickly seaming up cute little t-shirts.Of course, to get the t-shirt perfectly fitted for one's unique body type measuring was of the utmost importance.  I measured; I sewed; and hanging up on a hanger my t-shirt had the shape of a bell!  Then there was sewing a Granny Gown. That had another set of new challenges such as the yoke and the inset sleeves.  All looked pretty good until I put one arm in and then the other.  If my left shoulder had been two inches higher than my right it would have fit  just perfectly.  Then there was the cake decorating class. My rosettes had a look all their own.  So over the years, I have taken classes on doll  making, sewing, knitting, cooking, ceramic, and painting classes. A few others that were interesting were the Out of Body Experience class, Tapping, and Paranormal Activity classes.
     In addition to my creative endeavors I have about tried every diet that is known.  Let's see there was the Grapefruit, Cabbage Soup, South Beach, Atkins, Mayo Clinic, Slim 4 Life and Weight  Watchers. (Surely I am forgetting some).,
     So, you may be asking yourself right now, "What does all this have to do with a blog for people who have lost a loved one?   The constant in all my endeavors is trying new things and not giving up.  Even if...our loved one had not died it is easy to get complacent and not try anything new. It is even easier to think, "I don't care.  What does it matter?  Who cares?"  I know it all seems like too much effort.  One would have to read about classes, search the internet, sign up, and most of all make a committment to try something that sounds interesting or fun and that is the biggest challenge of all.  So, what if you are not good at something -no big deal!  I don't care that my rosettes don't look so good, or if I want a cute granny gown I can go to Macy's and purchase one.  What is the most important to me is that I tried and I am still searching for things that I can enjoy. I hope you will consider embracing something new or awaken a passion you had before this tragedy occurred.  After all we know "That it is .. what it is....but it doesn't have to be so.
     And by the way...my new passion is water color.Grandma Moses took up painting in her later years so why can't I?  Who knows...maybe someday my paintings will be hanging in museums and someone can say, "Look at what Bubbe Bon did."  But you know what? It doesn't really matter because for now I am enjoying something new.  How about you?
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