“I think a minute’s enough…just beam me up” — or on death and grieving

[on sad & happy]

Through this continued exploration, I’ve come to terms with the fact that sometimes my happy has to include some sad. some loss. some grieving. The past year has definitely allowed me the chance to take notice of this, providing me with plenty of unavoidable slap-in-the-face opportunities to reflect. What I’ve learned (so far) is that I think I have a hard time grieving. ((scratch that)). I don’t think grieving in the traditional sense fits my role. So I don’t go there. And, perhaps more influential to my actions, others expect this.

“The worst part about being strong is that no one ever ask if you’re okay.”

I take some responsibility for this. Personal responsibility is a new thing I’m more consciously working on. I’ll let you know how it works out. But seriously, they say that you get what you put out, or something along those lines, more eloquently worded. I’ve always held the mindset of helping others, putting my owns needs on hold, waiting to be met by me, never expecting any reciprocity from others. To my credit, I think I got pretty good at it. Ignoring the pain that is. Convincing myself that if my mind is occupied in helping others then that must mean that there isn’t any actual pain there; nothing breaks and nothing hurts. no need for grieving when grief is absent, right? I want to emphasize right quick a key stress in wording. I state occupied in in place of occupied with because I honestly am in the moment with the individual, empathy at its highest. Again, I think I’m pretty good at this.

“There’s a whole ‘nother conversation going on
In a parallel universe.
Where nothing breaks and nothing hurts.
There’s a waltz playing frozen in time
Blades of grass on tiny bare feet
I look at you and you’re looking at me….

Given my intermittent reflections on those and that which I’ve lost over in past (year in particular), I might be sorta.kinda.probably.obviously wrong. As mentioned previously (in at least one of the social platforms the interweb has to offer), I have been beyond extremely blessed in life and will never take that for granted. I’ve been forgiven more than I should. I’ve been given opportunities more than deserved. Most of those I care for and would give my life for are healthy, alive, happy…or at least alive and living. And I haven’t quite prayed enough for it all.

With this, my loss is not less than.

I have lost individuals close to my heart, close to my soul. First, my grandparents passed, within 6 months of one another, having the kind of love that makes it unbearable to live without the other.

I cried. I grieved. quickly.

At 16, I knew I had to be there for my younger siblings, for my mother, whose parents, despite having lived full lives, taken too early in hers. Once I turned 24, opportunities to grieve seemed to come more suddenly. Last year, I lost an uncle to cancer. Unexpected finding, bringing the idea of mortality of a loved one too close to home, within my home. (maybe i’ll talk about that later, since it relates. but for the moment just know my vagueness is again attempts of being in that parallel universe described above. call it denial. i’ll call it coping). With unexpected findings came rapid progression. and an unanticipated phone call. Painful loss experienced away from my family.

Again, I cried. I grieved. quickly.

At that time, I was about midway through my self-absorbed-false-sense-of-confidence-clinging-to-another phase. In another city, I was “over” my grief. And then I wasn’t. I was saddened, unable to turn to my usual role as my mother, and her grief, were in another city, another country, 1,000 miles away. But again, this didn’t fit my role according to others, according to him. So my actions, reactions were chalked up to choice and underlying relationship issues in place of attempts to mask grief.

A couple of months passed. Another loss. My grandfather. a distant man with inseparable influence. Again, I cried. I grieved. quickly. more focused on my father’s pain. his loss. his grieving. (T)his was more important. So mine went away.

The next, most recent, came abruptly. more contact, less closure. I was visiting the city were half my heart lies right before.  In between friends and city sights, I tried to see family. they always treated me with kindness while I lived there. they were forever in my heart. conflicts interrupted visits to see my aunt at her home, one I had spent wintery days walking to, helping her learn the technology of our day while she taught me lessons from hers. but I finally made it. to the hospital. unexpected illness had her there. I saw her. we talked. never thinking it would be the last time. other plans were in place however. a few more days, I returned home, over 1,000 miles away. and the day came. unexpected but more warning. drawn out morning. phone calls. as the contact person connecting here and there, I facilitated understanding and updates. emotions had to be taken out of the interaction if I was to make it through and follow my role. so I did. and then I didn’t.

I cried. I grieved. quickly. not enough..

Could you beam me up,
Give me a minute, I don’t know what I’d say in it
I’d probably just stare, happy just to be there, holding your face
Beam me up,
Let me be lighter, I’m tired of being a fighter,
I think, a minute’s enough,
Just beam me up…

I hurt sometimes reflecting on this. I dream. Lately, I dream a lot. a lot of pain. a lot of memories. a lot of wishing. a lack of closure. some resentment for people expecting. some self-blame for not ignoring the noise. comments explicitly outlining my role, my actions, how I should feel as a result of how I have. my fatigue overlooked, seemingly unimportant.

Some black birds soaring in the sky,
Barely a breath I caught one last sight
Tell me that was you, saying goodbye,
There are times I feel the shiver and cold,
It only happens when I’m on my own,
That’s how you tell me, I’m not alone..”

but then I think of those looking down and, despite it all, because of it all, I smile. I can use those dreams, those moments of reflections to have my minute. a minute with them, to hear me. a minute’s enough. I remain strong in my weakness. I remain positive in my sadness. I remain accompanied in loneliness. I grieve in my acceptance. I am not alone. My faith, my beliefs, my God, helps.

Grieving is a process. a personal one. a unique one. but it does not have to be an isolated or ignored or expected one. I think one of my hopes is that, next time there is loss experienced by someone near you, you leave expectations behind, helping them heal.

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.”  ― Leo Tolstoy

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