Life long grief.

Its not so much that I grieve (her) anymore but that I am shocked at how much it still hurts at random.

This February 18 will be the 9th anniversary of her death.

I am not consumed by grief but still get overwhelmed at times at the feelings and hurts that pop up.

The way they call mom because something fell, the way they look at me as I see her photo frame smashed, the way they say sorry as I quietly carry the remnants upstairs.. again, the rage mixed with pain, I hide as I struggle to control and deal with something I don’t know how to.I had this photo blown up Feb.25.2012 Steve thought it was too big and couldn’t look at it, so I had to put it in a room he didn’t go in a lot… its where the kids play.

The frame has been broken from it being knocked off the wall 3x in the last year during this pandemic. Why this year, I don’t know. Fine and untouched since made almost 9 years ago.I got the photo this big because I wanted her to be lifesize, I wanted to remember every inch and sometimes I wish I didn’t.

But not in the way it sounds but in that I wish it never happened. That had she lived these moments of pain and reflection wouldn’t happen.

Thank for reading.

Sheri

Grief and Loss Books

MY TOP BOOKS ON GRIEF AND LOSS

In the dark hours and days/weeks after someone dies we often lay in the actual dark not able to shut off our minds, only wanting to sleep so the pain is not so real; physical.

Or in the literal, as it is such a mental stress load in those early days. Consumed with anguish, grief and loss.

We search endlessly for books, articles, websites to help us understand what we are feeling, to know we are not alone, to help up cope.

I have since read many books on grief in the 8 short years since my daughters death, the ones that helped me cope were actually the fictional stories of parents suffering though a tragedy, in a very morbid way I was comforted.

I read books that were supposed to help you cope, or teach you to let go.

I preferred first hand books, but enjoyed fictional grief as a release and comfort as well.

8 years ago I would have loved to have stumbled upon  a list of grief books, I didn’t, so I will share the top 13 that helped me then and the ones I have read more recently.

#1 –   “no death, no fear” , (2002)  by Thich Nhat Hanh

Teaches you how to deal with and accept death.

#2 – “A Grief Observed”,  (1961) by C.S. Lewis

A classic, that unravels the journey through loss.

#3 – “Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief”, (1994) by Martha Whitmore Hickman

Offers meditations and actions to help grow through your grief

#4 – “The Bereaved Parent”, (1977) by Harriett S. Schiff

A first person account, heart wrenching read.

#5 – No Time To Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One”,   (1996) by Carla Fine.

A very hard read but one with love, hurt and compassion that aims to teach growth through learning and acceptance.

#6 – “The Trauma of Everyday Life”,  (2013) by Mark Epstein

A unique insight into the understanding of how we all survive trauma in daily life.

#7 – “Wave”, (2013) by Sonali Deraniyagala

A true story based on the horrific tsunami that took thousands in Japan in 2011

#8 – Option B“,  (2017) by Sheryl Sandberg 

A true story of perseverance of a woman who learns to cope with the death of her husband.

#9 – A Gift of Hope (2012) & “His bright Light: The story of Nick Traina” (1998) by Danielle Steele

Famed author writes of the death of her son in a memoir.

#10 – “Its ok that your not OK” (2017) by Megan Devine

A great insight into accepting our feelings, while dealing with grief.

#11 – “Her”, (2013)  by Christa Parravani

A twins memoir of her sisters struggle in life and ultimate suicide. A very hard read.

#12– “A Wind from the East” , (2016)  by Wendy Dartnall

A memoir from a widower.

#13 – “Letters to Loved ones” (2020) By Jennifer Rickard, Amberly Wilkes, Sheri Hall, Cecelia Jensen, Tanya Winder, Jenise Williams, Matt B, Courtney Glafke, Vicki Catucci, Mary Kendig.

Based on true losses, letters written after death.

I hope these find you solace as they did me.

Thanks for reading,

Sheri

‘Living in the Bottom of a Well’

**I wrote this 8 years ago (2012) 2 months after losing my 2 month old daughter.

2 months later I was at my Nonna’s funeral, the same funeral officiant was there, my uncle was ” impressed” by our service and asked for her name. I was not pleased with how she missed things we wanted included and focused on things we didn’t but regardless of that, what still bothers me today is that when she saw me at my Grandma’s funeral just 2 months after my daughters she gave no condolences but simply asked how long has it been since Lily died?  I replied 4 months, her response, to which she was clearly proud of or thought revealing to me? Was solemnly, ‘ahh (nodding her head) double as long as she lived’…I just stared blankly and she excused herself.

I knew even though I didn’t want to, what she meant, and I found it immediately after a quick google search upon getting home that day. Many say grief lasts as long as a relationship… However it more references broken relationships not death. And in that, I don’t think I will or can possibly grieve some as long as I have known them. Thats absurd and in that moment, I realized she was a fraud. Who learned to comfort with words but ultimately was paid to speak.

You look up, you see a small circle of light and know that it is the way out.

It is closer than you think. But it is very small; its hard to tilt your head, you don’t want to look up.

You look around at the stone walls that surround you, the cold comfort of a solid unbreakable wall.  Some would feel claustrophobic but not you.
Here is where you can be you. Here is where you feel sad, look sad, be sad without those around you being uncomfortable. Without worry of hiding.

The ones that see you down there might stop and yell. Are you ok?Or how are you? But they dont want to hear the answer- so you tell them what they want to hear- I’m ok or I’m fine and they go on their way.
Some  may bring you flowers and place them nicely in a circle around your well, this cheers them up, this makes them feel like they are being sympathetic. Why flowers? Is it my birthday? Are we celebrating something? They look nice so now when you walk by my well, with me hiding in the bottom curled in a ball, not daring to look up.
You do not feel so sad because you see all the beautiful flowers and think -wow look how many people care! That makes them feel better- those flowers do not cheer me up, I am not celebrating my childs death, when the flowers die I must throw them away, it is a task I cannot do nor want to do.
I look around at my hole I have been thrown down, I dont want to climb out.

Here I am comforted by my pain. Here I am not pretending. Here I am me.
No one wants to go down a well; you may not be able to get out! But when you lose a child, when you hold them in your arms as they die, you fall down that well, at some point you wake up.
You realize what has happened, it may be weeks, months or days, but it hits you like a brick, you are stuck at the bottom of this deep dark well. It echoes your cries, as well as your tears that fall to the cement floor like bombs. You re-live the most painful of memories down there.
You want every one to stay out! This is not a problem since no one wants to join you down there; no one wants to see that pain.
People tend to look at grief and tragedy as though-What if that happened to me? They are not thinking of your pain. They want to cheer you up- they want to cook for you- which is very nice, but hard when you do not taste anything let alone want to eat. You shove the food in your freezer, you say thank you, they feel better and go on their way. People say things like -I didnt want to upset you, as though not mentioning it means you are not thinking about it.
I have come to realize this society doesnt cope well with death, everyone wants to acknowledge it once then for it to go away, some do not say anything at all to pretend like nothing happened, those are the selfish people. I have seen how I have become invisible to some or perhaps they dont want to see me? Because they do not want to think about what happened to me. Some people think negativity breeds negativity- that could not be farther from the truth. Yes negative people are not fun to be around, but negative or more accurately -a tragedy is not caused by anything. 

It is life. Life is full of suffering, we all suffer at different times in life and how we deal with other people suffering really shows our true character.
They want you not to feel uncomfortable when they are being sad- because it is ok to be sad. Unfortunately we live in a world that prefers fake realities and big smiles over having to deal with or accept our feelings & hurts. So we simply do not talk about it. We cheer you up and bring you flowers. If we were able to grieve without being concerned of making others uncomfortable with our sadness then maybe we would not feel like we were stuck in the bottom of a well, one day I will climb out and face the world. Maybe one day when I walk past someone else stuck in a well I will join them,  help them, listen and cry because it is ok to be sad.

Thanks for reading

Sheri

 

Capture your Grief 2018 : SUNSET

Day 31; Sunset

I took and wrote this back in 2012 during the epitimal raw first year of my grief for the death of my third born child, my first daughter. Lily Hall. Dec 30 2011- Feb 18 2012

I have edited the poem below to how I feel I prefer the end.

Sunset is the last of the days in the Capture your Grief Writing challenge, it makes sense, a sunset, the day is saying goodnight to world through the reflection of the sky.

Good night.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me.

Sheri

 

 

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SUNSET

In awe of the sunset that reflects off the water

In sadness of the heart that reflects of you

In love with the beauty of you

Sheri Hall

Capture your Grief 2018

Day 28; Shadow and Light

Thoughts dance behind the trees, the flowers sway in the breeze, dewdrops and sunlight alight the minds eye causing wonder to pass by. The shadow and light hold many secrets and stories, some to bold to be seen while others never unseen. We need the light to see the shadows and to feel the shadow to embrace the light. One without the other like night without day.

Day 29; Release

Let go of the hurt the pain feel its release into the universe, let go of the anger and hardship see it float away. Let go of the unknown, the regret, the guilt, to see it for what it is; unnecessary. Let go and live again.

Day 30; Gift of Life

We are given one life, that we know of, we know not our purpose or its meaning but we must do what we can to help, to heal, to grow, to teach and learn. The gift of life is not given to all some a minute, a few hours or weeks, maybe years but not a guarantee of a full one to all. The gift of life should not be taken for granted though it often is. The frugality of our presence overtaken by greed or want, by looks and feels over needs and deeds. The gift of life can feel like a burden to some, not a gift. Life is what you make it. I hope you chose a gift, if not to yourself than to others.

 

 

Thank you for reading,

Sheri

 

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Capture Your Grief 2018

Day 23; Mortality

NOUN

  1. the state of being subject to death.
    “the work is increasingly haunted by thoughts of mortality”
    antonyms:
  2. death, especially on a large scale.
    “the causes of mortality among infants and young children”
    synonyms:
    death · loss of life · dying

 

Day 24; Courage

What forms our courage? Is it our mothers encouraging hand, fathers stern insistence. Is it our ability to bear witness to tragedy and overcome the trauma. Do we learn courage through our mistakes or maybe because of our successes. Being courageous can mean standing up for someone when no one else is but it can also mean getting out of bed to face the day when you want to hide. We are all courageous at many times throughout the day we simply need to notice our own bravery at perhaps not always doing the easy thing but the right thing.

 

Day 25; Who

WHO

Who decides what lives and what dies

How does he or she who decides live with the consequences of their decisions

Who is rightful to grieve and who determines whose loss it really is

When do we know what to say, how to say, who to say it to

Who is the owner of your grief?

Is it the departed or the remaining

Who should we fear; is it who decides who lives or dies

 

Day 26; Beauty

The beauty held in your dark eyes, the long vast endless corridor of dark; the unknown The beauty of the unknown. The beauty revealed in the tiny smirk that you rarely showed and preciously received. The beauty behind your legacy. The lives you left behind forever changed because of the few beautiful moments with you.

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Day 27; Memory

A sound, a scent, a photograph. A movie, novel or painting. A memory held in a frame at the back of our brains waiting to be remembered at the drop of hat. A memory tucked away inside our heart only to be revealed at long last of searching the soul  in hopes for it be re lived. Wanting desperately to be remembered, it comes at long last in a dream or a flicker of a deja-vu rekindling a past thought, triggering that memory to the fore front. The brain holds our memories in a staggering way, we tend to remember the really bad or the extremely exciting, the unforgettable moments that are happy and sad, that have shaped our being. We tend to forget the every day even though we do that more often, we forget the repetitiveness and remember the tragic and the magic, making our memories all that much more unique to how our brain perceived a moment in time for us.

 

Thanks for reading,

Sheri

 

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