Why God is not a part of my Grief

 

Nature has been a place of solace for me. Walking amongst the trees, staring at clouds, sunset or sunrise. Feeling the rain on my face. But there are those that maybe have not experienced a great loss and do not see that you find comfort in simpler things perhaps over words.

“They’re with God now”, “God needed another angel”, “it is Gods plan”, “Don’t be sad they are with God”, “it is not meant to be”, “Time heals”, “God loved them more”

Just a few things that people who blindly follow religion or a  church might say, to those who do not, may not or will not understand. Why you would say something so unnecessary or hurtful and confusing.

Do you know my faith? Or have you assumed I am Christian. Do you so boldly state what you believe and that you know my child, parent, sibling, friend is actually with God (your God?),  or summoned by them,  gone because of them… Perhaps a question of how are you may be better. Or offering to walk alongside in silence.

If one accepts it is Gods plan, then there is the following questions that I have witnessed grievers deal with- Why? why would God do this? Why does God cause suffering? If God cared or loved me he wouldn’t have done this! Many people question their faith after a trauma, tragic death or unexpected loss.

I believe in science but I would never say to a women that suffered a miscarriage the scientific reason that perhaps their body could not carry a fetus to term, just as I would not say it was not meant to be, or God had a different plan.

By putting my thoughts, beliefs or opinions on someone elses grief that takes away their right to how they  feel, I am imposing myself and ignoring them. Not allowing someone to feel their own process of grief or thoughts and reasons why is a disservice to their journey.

Many times, at funerals a pastor or minister will say ” do not grieve, do not be sad” immediately taking away the right of the griever with the excuse that God will made this so and therefore you need not “suffer in grief”.  But many know that to move through your grief and loss you MUST feel it. Allow it to overtake you when it comes. It is a process with no timeline. I ran into the women that officiated my daughters funeral, she was officiating my Grandmothers funeral a few months later. She said after a very insincere hello, that I must be doing better because well 4 months had passed since my daughters death and that is double the time she lived. I could tell she was proud of herself for this “revelation” to me, as though I had not considered every possible equation as to the months I carried her, the months she lived, the time that has passed since she is gone. I felt she thought she was comforting me with those words and all I felt was anger. How dare you tell me how I should feel. That because her life was short my grief must be too?

I have just learned a childhood friend has died, he was only 39.  His mothers funeral was the first I had ever been to, she died of a brain hemorrhage when we were kids. He and his sisters had a much harder life, I assume, after that loss,(we moved away a couple years later).  I have thought of them often, how they the ages of 8, 10 and 12,  how they must have felt losing the one constant in their life, entering their teen years and young adulthood without her comfort and guidance. Now he has passed, some will say he is back with her, I think that is what all want to hope for. But no one really knows, so I will just say to his dad and sisters, I am sorry. I am sorry he is gone. Sibling loss they say can be as hard as losing a child.  I look at my boys, they are best friends, each others first friend, comrade, confidante. They have a bond that will only be broken with death.

Rest In Peace Curtis Hall

 

Thanks for reading,

Namaste

Sheri

 

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When a book stays with you…

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I have always been an avid reader, with a few neighborhood friends but not many school friends once I learned to read and discovered this magical place called the public library that let you borrow books for free I was hooked. I will never forget my excitement every summer as we packed up to go to the cabin we would go to the library, there was always so many I wanted to take out but I was always only aloud two, I think my mom was afraid of them getting lost…  I spent many days of my childhood tucked away in my room reading, then as I became a teen reading into the early mornings. as a young adult I continued my affair with books though not as much as I would have liked, having to work, sleep, deal with life as an adult but also have some sort of a life. Then this magical thing called pregnancy happened and I was allowed to read, all the time again, I added the necessary parenting and child birth books to my repertoire along with my novels. who would have known that that would be the last time I loved to read…

Not right away though, after the birth of my first son, I read to him aloud while he nursed, it is very good for infants to hear their mothers voice as well as a large spread of vocabulary, or so I learnt in one of my previously read baby books. But then they start moving and you don’t get to sit still again…

Soon after the birth of  my second son two years later I realized I hadn’t read a book in a very long time, I was too tired. I was haggard and angry with two little ones that needed all my time. My husband worked long days but also traveled a lot, he saw this change in me I suppose it was the beginning of me losing myself into my children. We went to Mexico after our second turned two, I had not read a full book in almost three years. I was feeling very unhappy. A neighbor at the time who is now a very close friend lent me EAT PRAY LOVE by Liz Gilbert, ‘you have to read this!’ she said. So I reluctantly brought it along knowing I would never get a moment to myself to do so.  I will never forgot the one afternoon, my husband said as the kids napped in the room, I have to answer emails, why don’t you go for a swim or something… I was pleasantly surprised, I grabbed my book and ran out the door, not returning for a few hours, finishing from cover to cover this book that I just had to read. I was changed by the words I read, I connected to Liz’s struggle with her life. I too wanted to be a better me. That book stayed with me for a long time, I re read it over and over for the next few years not wanting to stop the feeling of hope it gave me.

eat pray love          secret         no death no fear

Fast forward  a few years, we fell back in love, our kids became easy little humans no more menacing , time consuming, toddlers. life was good. Life was great! We even finally took a solo trip together to Hawaii – were we conceived…

When we got pregnant again all I could think of was why? not now. everything in our life was so good, why did we go and do something so stupid. I cried and I cried, knowing the hard road another baby would bring. Well not to worry, it was even harder than we could have ever anticipated. The pregnancy was “normal”  but my new baby was not, she was born upside down and backwards, not breathing. She spent her first four weeks of life having surgery and brain scans. She came home for two short weeks and almost died on our living room floor when she stopped breathing, I gave her CPR and she was rushed back to the hospital, where we learned she had an abnormal trachea and would never breathe on her own. She died a week later. Life teaches us so many different things through hardship, if we are willing to see them. But at that moment my life went dark.

After she died I only read books on grief, fiction and non fiction. I needed answers to my thoughts, I wanted understanding to my feelings of hopelessness; my grief, a feeling that was so overwhelming. Article after article, book after book. All on death, grief, bereavement, loss, suicide and coping. The one that I read over and over trying to accept my loss was No death no Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh.

My son said a few years later in a very painful way, you used to laugh when I tickled you.

I also used to read for pleasure too…

Today, five and a half years after my daughters death, I have half read a hundred books, nothing could catch me, nothing mattered, they were all dumb stories.

I did finish a few, for I went back to College wanting a change, a distraction, needing to learn. I read Frankenstein, The Watchmen, Tale of two cities, The Road, The Island of Doctor Moreau to recall a few. All great books by equally great authors. But not until just recently have I noticed I can read with enjoyment again, I think my taste is much more ‘real’ than it was but who knows that would not have happened over time with age.

So I share The Secret  Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton, the first large novel I have read in less than two weeks that I did not want to put down, that I have thought about its contents long after I closed its pages. That I think will stay will me for a long time just like Eat Pray Love did/has.

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth is about a young family that suffers a tragedy and how they come out on the other side by moving for the summer to a small town where their family is originally from and learning about life, death and the earth. This book touched me in a way that has not happened in a long time. It had yes, my need to examine grief checked off, but it had side stories about different forms of grief, a grief for what was, for what man and greed is doing to the earth, how small southern towns still have a long list of bigotries and prejudices, how society in general still needs to find acceptance. With adventure and truth the family slowly heals, though will be forever changed.

If you are looking for a new read I highly recommend this book.

Thanks for reading,

Namaste,

Sheri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost and Found

October 18 2011

 

Where is it all coming from, can it really be simply hormones, is it uncertainty of not knowing

Is it the fear that sits at the back of my mind, guilt of sadness though happiness is all around

Where is the sunshine, the laughter and love for life, we are so lucky yet feel stuck in strife

Trapped down a whole, the dirt pouring in the dust making it harder to breathe

The thoughts of loss, where do they come from, why do I feel this way?



 

November 10 2011

 

How do I share my fear; when my biggest is looking weak

How do I say I’m sinking; when you rely on me to float

Its hard to breathe; yet I am holding my breathe

Waiting to see



 

January 5 2012

 

My life is on hold, my heart is a hole, you are not alone my sweet

My fear is for you but my tears are for me; your smile rarely seen is what I hold on to.

Your strength and will to fight is my way to flow thru life

This is not easy, love is harder but pain and illness, loss and death seem inevitable

We attempt to succeed, we succumb without need

Somehow we survive



 

June 30 2012

 

You are gone and I weep, most nights I cannot sleep

I think of you as I cry into my sleeve, my heart is broken, dreams are lost

My fears realized, faith is shattered

I don’t know how to feel anymore

Your life so short, felt like a lifetime, I wish I could hold you one last time

If only in my dreams



 

February 18 2017

 

Years fly by in a flash, five gone just like that, though they dragged in the moments

They seem vanished in the blink of an eye, my heartbeat painfully slow

Memory falters, though the thoughts never go

Your loss has taught me so much more than you know



 

June 1 2017

 

Hard or week, soft and strong, we wonder where do we belong

You look in the mirror that one odd day, the reflection however does not look the same

Where have you gone, who is this face

The lines show losses, loves, triumphs and defeat

The bags proof of hard sleep

Where has time gone that the reflection has become a stranger


poems.png

Lost thoughts suddenly found

 

Cleaning out a drawer, I found this piece of paper tucked into a book, I looked it over, not remembering haven written it, I read the short notes and their dates, it slowly, foggily comes back to me. I cannot believe I wrote these, I do not remember much of those hard months five years ago and am grateful to have scribbled thoughts at random, that I have now found and added two more recent reflections. Hence my title ‘Lost and Found’. The first and second back in 2011 was when I was pregnant with Lily, the third in 2012 was after her traumatic birth and hospitalization the fourth in 2012 after her death and fifth on the five year anniversary of her death on Feb. 18 of this year. I added the last one just as a current thought on feelings and life.

Thanks for reading.

Thoughts and comments always welcome and appreciated.

Sheri

Moving on from grief; my journey to accepting acceptance

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Moving on from grief; my journey to accepting acceptance

As I walked into my house late, arriving home just before midnight after a long ten hour travel day, carrying my youngest to her bed, whose birthday happens to be the following day, a quiet stress in the back of my mind as I have nothing planned. She wakes in and out of sleep as I place her down asking to watch the Trolls movie before bed , as I shush her that its very late and to go back to sleep. I walk past Lily’s photo that sits outside what was Lily’s room but is now Hopes. I pause for a moment, as a tiny quiver of shock goes through me, why did I enjoy this trip so much? For so long, five years to be exact I cannot remember really enjoying anything, not fully, not appreciating what or where it was we were, we have gone to Hawaii twice and Mexico once since she died, I “enjoyed” those family trips, but if I am honest, I was never happy during them, not as I felt during this trip. Was it not having thought about her as much? No, that’s ridiculous, of course I thought of her, but perhaps the veil has lifted, maybe the dark clouds that I felt attached to my heart lessened their grip. She is always in my heart but during this trip it was not like it is when I am at home surrounded by her memory, her presence, our loss.

Having just returned from an incredibly satisfying family trip, one that was to be underestimated but had over returned; that was fully dreaded, line ups, fast food, adults in costume, ugh, Disneyland. But we planned to see lots of other parts of California as well. Who knew the republic that is the state of California is so beautiful; San Clemente pier, Huntington Beach, Pasadena Ranch, even LA and Anaheim were cool to drive through, which started my pondering……

Guilt approaches my thoughts, but I quickly realize, no, that is not right; I deserve a reprieve from my self-imposed guilt. I am proud for the hard treacherous journey my grief has taken me through, what I have learned, how I have changed and grown. I am happy I was able to enjoy such a memorable family trip with my still living children, to be present for the first time in….well, how long makes me sad for them, my beautiful children that are alive, the ones that have received less of their mother because she has been stuck in a whirlwind of her grief. The one that has yelled too quickly because of their interrupting, poorly timed ways, their normalness, brought noise into my grief, where I wanted so much to simply be alone in silence. I have loved them, fed them, clothes and cleaned them, yes. But the mom that used to wrestle and laugh so freely has been trapped in a broken heart. That realization alone makes me sad for them, for me. I needed my time, I cannot believe five years past in a fog, although, it was thickest the first few years, it is lifted seemingly, I think. I am sure it will roll in from time to time and I welcome it, but I am also happy to feel happy again. I am happy to have a random dance party with loud noise at no notice with my kids. If asked, I wonder what they’d say of the last five years. Probably not much, as we all know, we are all way more self centered then we see. They may not have even noticed my withdrawal, not as I felt it, or see in hindsight. I was harder on them and they loved me more.

My heart now an ache for the time that has past, five years in a child’s life is huge, and the physical, emotional and mental growth that happens. I cannot go back; I can cherish specific moments of course, but am happy to feel other enlightening emotions again. Happy to be the present mother they deserve. I still miss and love my child that died five years ago, but my acceptance of her death has come with the revelation that I cannot change the past, nor need to dwell in its circumstances. But do need to focus on what we had and still have. This by no means that she will be forgotten just remembered differently, without the pain of guilt and remorse; but with love for the luck of having had her for a moment, along with the life lessons she has taught.

It brought me to a conclusion, if only for myself. We are all aware, some mildly, some very familiar with Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s five stages of grief. At some point in raw grief after a loss, we want answers we want to understand what is happening; at times we are so lost we want to know if and when it will end. So Ross’s theory of five stages is where we inevitably find ourselves reading about. At first I agreed with them whole heartedly, it makes sense for grief to have a timeframe of stages, all of which also make sense in completing in order to “move on”, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance but what comes with these stages is not a time frame put on them by Kubler-Ross herself but by society, Somewhere, over time, since her now famous book called ‘On Death and Dying’ was published in 1969, society has given the grieving about a year to get through their stages of grief, a few months to mull in each one. This is where I completely disagree with societies standards on grieving, seeing as it has taken me a five full years to get to acceptance, one could say each stage deserves a full year to fully live in and become aware of the stage your are at. For example the first year I was trapped in denial not even aware I was, because it was the shock that took quite a while to wear off, then a denial that I could not really comprehend that this had happened to me, to her, to us. I honestly did not believe it for a very, very long time, combined with the night terrors caused by the PTSD I suffered, it felt like a dream at times, with me not being able to wake up. Then the anger came, but it came at a time when a lot of people thought I should have been done grieving, after a year. And yes, I was angry, at everyone and anyone that dare mention her name, or their grief! The bargaining came in different forms around year three, begging for bad things to not happen, hadn’t I gone through enough? I would do more to help others if only my living children would be left alone. As depression sets in due to the length of time that has passed, you feel confused, others wonder what’s’ wrong because it has been so long, although in reality, is four years that long? So you begin, again, searching for answers, or help, or ways to move forward because you have spent time in the other stages you are ready to deal with this depression, and not that long ago, as I said earlier, the trip I just took with my family was the first I really enjoyed, felt at peace and allowed myself to be happy. Had I reached acceptance? And if I had why did I feel bad about it? Did I assume I would grieve forever? Yes. Was I prepared to grieve forever? Yes. Often when the tears came less frequently just that fact made me sad, like the further away her life moved, the less I felt her in my heart, but that is not true. I can take as many moments I want to remember her and should be thankful the whirlwind does not just snatch me up as it used to, but it is a process of constant awareness, as well as, allowing myself to still grieve if I felt the need, but also to feel happy with what we have and where we are at, without guilt. Everyone’s journey is different but I think if we can all collectively agree that each stage deserves a year and not to expect someone to feel normal until year five the burden of grief will be lessened on the grievers. But also to so mention it is not limited to this time frame, I have met parents that did not feel “normal” until year seven and ten, what I am trying to say is that the notion that grief lasts a year is ridiculous, the notion that it never ends is also silly though, I once believed it would never end, and I still have moments of intense sadness, clearly not as frequent or uncontrollable but today five years later and I am able to laugh freely without shame, enjoy moments without guilt. I am not saying yours will only last five years, everyone’s journey is different and some grief may only last a couple years. All I know is that back in those first six months when I attended bereavement meetings a blubbering mess barely able to string coherent words together, the common sentiment to me from those that had multiple years, some decades behind them and their grief, they said, ‘it does get better’ and I was so comforted by that phrase. And the fact that they saw my pain and came up to me to tell me it gets better in hopes of lessening my pain. I appreciated those words, as I hope you appreciate mine now. It does get better, in your own time at your own pace.

Thanks for reading,

Namaste,

Sheri

Ps, I would love some feedback, I started out intending to write a completely different post about my vacation without my fourth child but in following my heart and letting my fingers type, I am surprised at the conclusion and turn it took. If you have a similar experience with grief or writing or any other feedback on my conclusion please comment below. Thanks – much love.

Capture your grief poetry part 4

Relationship

Change over time; come and go

Stuck in your mind of what is no more

New and exciting or old but well tended

Some more important than others

Others harder to deal with than some

Relationships lost; relationships found

Unknown time for all to become unbound

By Sheri Hall

 

Self care

Like a bouquet of flowers purchased for oneself

A loud concert to escape your thoughts

A movie, a walk, a glass of wine

Everyone has a journey to ease their own mind

Self care as unique as our grief

What you need I may not

What I want you don’t get

Self often gets ignored or no credit

But we know and some do get it

By Sheri Hall

Inspiration

Comes in waves

Do we get up today?

Hides in the closet

Should we go find it?

Behind a tree lost in the forest

Sometimes we have to search for it

But it is always there; in many forms

For those with eyes to see; ears to hear

By Sheri Hall

Forgiveness

Forgiveness of one self

Important to stop the torture

Forgiveness of others

A necessary move to make

Forgiveness of the unknown, the guilt, the regret

A much harder step

To forgive is to move forward

A lesson

In letting go

By Sheri Hall

Mother Earth

Who is she; is she real or a figment of our imagination

Does she guide us; care for us or we her

Are we misguided in her protection

Do we realize our destruction

There is no going back, to simpler times

Greed has taken over; she is in chains

Is it too late to save her

By Sheri Hall

Healing Ritual

Lighting a candle on a day; as a way to remember

Lighting a candle everyday; to feel their presence

The flickering light; we imagine their dance

The wicker going out a symbol of our loss

A thousands candles lit; a hundred memories lived

Through the light of the dancing wick

Folding a tiny blanket

over and over

Staring at a photo to try to remember

Lighting their candle you wish could stay lit forever

Rituals can feel healing

Rituals can be soothing

Rituals can become routines

Secrets they then become

 Wanting not to explain why done

By Sheri Hall

f0c47d1320fb2fe769d047d5fc34df45Up next # 27-31

Thank you for reading.

Namaste,

Sheri

 

 

 

Capture your Grief Poetry

Retreat

Retreat within yourself to feel the hardest pain

Retreat to a sacred space to feel a spirits cosmic embrace

Retreat to a deserted island and escape the harsh reality

Retreat to your bed where you feel safe

Retreat if you can to heal in your own space

By Sheri Hall

Explore

Thoughts, walks, smiles

Words, books, cries

Places, memories, lanes

Voices, touch, hurts

Life, dreams, death

Explore all before it ends

By Sheri Hall

 

Gratitude

Gratefulness in pictures; gratitude for taking

Gratefulness in love; gratitude for not breaking

Gratefulness in silence; thoughts can be so loud

Gratefulness in time; having been spent well

Gratefulness for you; lessons never ending

By Sheri Hall

 

Give

Given freely; taken lightly

Touched gently; moved sweetly

Kissed softly; loved greatly

By Sheri Hall

 

Breathe

To Survive,

In our lungs, out our mouth

Breathe does not exist without the beat; the beat with out the breathe

Inhale the luxury of life

Exhale the torture of living

By Sheri Hall

f0c47d1320fb2fe769d047d5fc34df45Up next #20-25

Thank you for reading,

Namaste, Sheri

 

Feb. 14 2012

I was naïvely hopeful, ignorantly wistful, my baby had a setback, that was all. We would be discharged very soon and back home to deal with our new reality. I was so focused on what had to be done to live with and take care of a child with multiple disabilities that I had no room for any other reason or facts. I needed to deal with the very arduous task of the hard future, ordering machines, thinking about lifts or special classes or needs necessities. I was blindsided.

She was admitted on Feb, 12 2012 after turning blue in her fathers arms, he screamed for me, I yelled to call 911, I gave her CPR, the attendant told me to lift her neck, a rush of quietly gasping air rushed out, oh ya. I forgot that part; guilt saved for later. She was breathing; gasping. the ambulance came within minutes. Amazing.

The next day a blur, the day after that Valentines day. I walked to the store, down the hall from the PICU in BCCH and bought these three, with so much hope. I bought Lily the little grey elephant thinking it represented her so well, her brothers got what also represented them and they still sleep with them on their bed until this day. I knew or thought, naïvely, at that time, that I would buy her a big one just like her brothers got the next year. I wanted her to pick the one she wanted. Except that did not happen, the next Valentines with her never happened. Forever a heart holiday, just now a broken reminder of one. Not the hopeful ending that everyone is comfortable with but the truth.

lilys-elephant

Thanks for reading,

Sheri

Capture your Grief Poetry Days 8-10

 

Resource

1 800 grief; if only it were so simple

Wanting for a space for it to be free

Holed up in your soul crying; banging on your heart to be let out

Book after book, searching for answers

If only there was a number to call

The other end knowing  all

By Sheri Hall

Memory

Those eyes pierced in mine

A memory that fades over time

Her smile etched on my heart

Harder to see the longer we’ve been apart

Memory is a funny thing

The ones we wish to stay linger at the edges

The ones we wish to forget

Haunt us; dredges

Our souls cry for the memory of a last touch

Our mind remembers the last breath

To jump into a memory for a moment would be bliss

A painful fall; willing to risk

By Sheri Hall

Support

Awkward glances, wayward looks

Silent pity

The imaginary hallway that forms as you move pass

A parameter appears where there seems to be a shield

Forcing the uncomfortable ones aside

It is ok, their support will come

A time appears when you look others in the eye; again

You see their shy smile

 You understand over time; they want to support but did not know how

They gave you space; that was their support

Others came in unabashedly

Some even annoyingly

The support you appreciate most after all is the silent ones

The quiet notes left behind

The understanding nods

The support we do not always see

But after time we feel it

We learn it was there all along

By Sheri Hall

 

Thanks for reading,

Namaste,

Sheri

f0c47d1320fb2fe769d047d5fc34df45Up next 11,12 & 13

Capture your grief Poetry

Journal

It holds your private thoughts

Can carry your hidden dreams

A permanent record of you

The innocence of a first diary entry

Becomes the necessity of exploring your world in writing

By Sheri Hall

Books

Filling through page after page

Searching for answers

Looking for new ones to feed the need to know

Discovering a new topic or writer

light turns to dark and you just cannot stop

Fallen asleep with the spine on your chest

Waking to dried tears on a page

Underlining words that give you pause

The pile of precious books that never leaves your night table

You’ve read them over and over

They have taught you

Some have carried you

The love of a certain book is a private space

That if you allow you will fall in love with the solitary companion

That is a book

By Sheri Hall

Sacred Place

Quiet or loud

Near or far

Bright or dark

Our sacred place is always in our heart

We feel peace

We feel pain

We feel light

That sacred place hears our plight

To escape

To feel

To remember

Even if not a  physical place

Our sacred place is there

In our heart

In our mind

In a forest

On a bench

On a beach

On a boat

A temple

A church

A walk

Your place of worship

Yours to chose

Your sacred place you will never lose

By Sheri Hall

Thank you for reading,

Namaste,

Sheri

f0c47d1320fb2fe769d047d5fc34df45Up Next # 8, 9, 10