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Old July 31st, 2015, 17:26
hazelharris hazelharris is offline
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Default personal stories of going through grief

Climb, climb, CLIMB out of that dark place of sorrow Do whatever you have to do to get yourself free.Cut off your hair and braid it into a rope and pull yourself out by hand if you must…but do not make yourself at home down there in the dark, narrow, trench of sorrow and numbness.
despair is “the belief that tomorrow is going to be exactly the same as today.”Don’t fall for that belief.It doesn’t have to be the case
Three years into my own dark season of losing a loved one tragically and falling into depression, I remember thinking, “Maybe this is just my new reality now. Maybe this isn’t a ‘bad phase’ that I’m going through; maybe this is just how it is now, and how it will always be. Maybe this is who I am now — a perpetually sad and aching person, who has no hope. Maybe I need to just accept that realty.Because nothing seemed to be working i am lost in despair
I almost went furniture-shopping, in other words, to decorate my rut.I almost made it my permanent address.But some other, more stubborn, part of me, was like: “NO. We’re getting the hell out of here.”
The thing that’s tricky about saving your own life is that it doesn’t generally happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen in one straight line. It’s not like you get a little better every single day, in terms that you can measure on a graph. It’s more like: two steps forward, one step back, three steps sideways, no steps at all for a month or so, and then finally one more step forward.Recovery and ascension are a frustratingly slow process.But if you keep doing the things that take care of you, the general direction will be upward. It may be slow and twisted, but it will be mostly upward. You will rise. No matter how long it takes.
In my case, the things that took care of me were: therapy, prayer, meditation, exercise, the solace of good friends, the comfort of reading good books, the practice of forgiveness and atonement, exposure to nature, long walks, heart-opening acts of generosity, sometimes awkward attempts at self-compassion, listening to beautiful music, trying to get perspective on the human condition through philosophical study, getting rid of objects that held bad memories, setting boundaries with people who hurt me,…etc, etc.It was not one thing that saved me, in the end — but all these many things combined.That was the complex rope I braided, to pull myself out of this pit i found myself in
It was not always easy to do those good things for myself. It is easier to stay numb on the couch, or to cry in bed with the covers over your head, than it is to drag yourself outside for a walk on a sunny day — or to ask a friend or a doctor for help.But I would make myself do these beneficial things, because somewhere deep inside, I knew that it was down to me i was the owner of this troubled soul and that I had to save myself.people could help in many ways but nobody could pull me out of it but me.
Slowly, month by month, year by year i learnt to accept the loss and the intense grief began to fade i was left with a peace from this acceptance and what made it more wonderful was as the depression passed i was able to really remember the past with a joy because those times were happy days when my loved one was still here and the memories now instead of giving me tears made me smile and be happy again — it worked.
Do not make yourself at home in despair, Dear Ones.Do not give up on loving your troubled are worth love you deserve happiness again whatever sadness you have passed through in this life however dreadful or heartbreaking you have to find the light to live again make your rope whatever it needs to make it strong and climb, climb, climb.

Last edited by hazelharris : August 2nd, 2015 at 05:57.
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Old July 31st, 2015, 18:20
hazelharris hazelharris is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,144

Rosie Swale-Pope marked her 57th birthday by donning trainers, pulling on a backpack and leaving her pretty Welsh cottage to go for a run.
Five years, 20,000 miles and 53 pairs of running shoes later, she hobbled back on crutches with a fractured hip but an unbroken, and truly remarkable, spirit.During her extraordinary solo round-the-world run, she was shadowed by a pack of wolves in Russia, confronted by a naked gunman in Siberia and nearly froze to death in Alaska.Running all over the world: Rosie Swale-Pope took up the challenge after losing her husband to cancer
In the end, it was both a bitter fight for survival and a vivid celebration of life - but it began because she found herself widowed and, for the first time in her life, alone.Just months after losing her beloved husband, Clive, to prostate cancer in June 2002, Rosie decided to embark on a charity run to raise money awareness.
She says: 'I pulled out a map of the world and sat there trying to choose a destination for my run. Then the idea suddenly came to me. I thought: "I know, I'll run the whole world - it will be like a package tour on legs."'
'I was utterly heartbroken and this gave me something to do. I knew I couldn't just tear around the world on a whim. It had to be properly researched.'
First, she had to choose the route - 'A lovely little circle through Europe, Russia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, America, Greenland and Iceland. It was the most logical, though not the most comfortable, way around the world.'
Her preparations included learning six languages: Dutch, German, Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian and Russian.
'Clive was an outdoors man and he had these wonderful twinkling blue eyes and always looked so happy. He never wanted to go and see doctors because he didn't want to waste their time.'Then one day in 2000 he went to the GP and the doctor diagnosed prostate cancer,
'In the end, they sent Clive home to die. I remember how happy he was to see the honeysuckle again, and I had trained the sparrows to come up to the window. He called them his little feathered hooligans.'One night in June 2002, he just slipped away in his sleep. I climbed into bed with him and hugged him all night long. I have never felt so much grief in all my life.
'Over the next few weeks and months, the loneliness was crippling. But Clive had always told me to face life with courage. And I needed to do something to cure my grief and sorrow.'
Sixteen months later, Rosie's preparations for her round-the-world trip were complete.She'd trained diligently, completing 30-mile runs daily and wearing a backpack with increasingly heavy weights inside it. She had also constructed a sort of rolling luggage box with bicycle-sized wheels, which she pulled along behind her as she was running.
And so it was that Rosie set off, carrying a tent, a passport and a basic wardrobe of clothes, running to Harwich and taking the ferry to Holland.
'I had never been a good runner, but if my feet were covered with blisters or my legs ached unbearably, I just imagined Clive's face, and that somehow gave me the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
'On good days, I would cover 30 miles. Later, when I hit snow and the ice, it would take me a whole day to make just 500 yards. I stopped whenever I felt too exhausted to continue, almost always sleeping in the tent or the buggy I pulled behind me.
'I mostly felt fit and fine, but in Russia, near Lake Baikal, I began to feel utterly ghastly. I thought I might have been bitten by a tick, because my chest felt heavy and I had a temperature. Finally, I weaved straight into the road and was hit by a bus.' Knocked unconscious, she was loaded onto the bus and taken to the nearest hospital.She says: 'When I woke up, I was on a ward surrounded by doctors. They told me: "It's lucky you were hit by the bus, because you have double pneumonia and we can treat you now."'
In the gold mining district of East Siberia, Rosie found herself confronted by a naked man waving a gun. 'He wasn't a pretty sight at all. I knew the area was dangerous, and I had been warned that people are brought in from asylums to work in the mines.
Feral dogs, wolves and bears all became unlikely companions. She recalls: 'In Siberia, I was walking alone for ten days with no other human in sight, and a pack of wolves began to follow me. During the day, they would disappear, but at night they came to find me again.'I was scared to start with, then I told myself that they were protecting me, and I honestly believe that they were.
'I carried a bar of lavender soap and had a plastic bucket to wash myself and then my clothes.
'It was in Alaska, with temperatures dropping to minus 60 degrees, that Rosie found herself battling for survival.She says, without a hint of irony: 'I think I underestimated Alaska. I ran out of food, and melted down my vitamin pills, mixed them with my last garlic cube and made soup. For ten days, I battled the extreme cold and I honestly wondered if I was going to make it.
A fall on ice in Iceland broke several ribs and cracked her hip, but her spirit remained undented.
She says cheerfully: 'I reached England in August 2008, and was 32 miles from home when a pain in my hip became unbearable. I couldn't even put one foot in front of the other. I went to the local hospital and they discovered a stress fracture of the hip.'I was put in a bed and told not to walk anywhere. I. I couldn't believe that I was so close to home, only to find that my dream might be over.'When the consultant came around, I told him about Clive and literally begged him to let me go. He asked the physiotherapists to give me crutches, and very gingerly I set off on my travels again. I don't think I felt the pain at all because I was so excited about seeing my family again. I was almost walking on air.'
On August 25, 2008, Rosie finally returned home - to waiting family, friends and TV cameras.She said 'I just wanted to raise awareness of prostrate cancer. '
But how did the journey change this pensioner-come-adventurer? Rosie says: 'I've learned that when everything is lost, you've made mistakes and you don't think you will survive, you can just keep going and get through it.
'I've learned not to fear things the way I used to. I no longer worry about how tall I am or how old I am. I've learned to celebrate life - and to live it to the full.There's no doubt that Clive Swale-Pope, who urged his wife to face the world with courage as he lay dying, would approve.x
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 14:20
hazelharris hazelharris is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,144

Funerals are a somber moment, aren’t they? It’s hard to imagine a situation where you would find them light and funny.
But then, maybe it’s something like that that you need to keep your perspective on the more important things in life.
Consumed by my loss, I didn’t notice the hardness of the pew where I sat. I was at the funeral of my dearest friend, my mother. She finally had lost her long battle with cancer.
The hurt was so intense; I found it hard to breathe at times. Always supportive, mother clapped loudest at my school plays, held a box of tissue while listening to my first heartbreak, comforted me at my father’s death, encouraged me in college, and prayed for me my entire life. When mother’s illness was diagnosed, my sister had a new baby and my brother had recently married his childhood sweetheart, so it fell on me, the 27 year old middle child with no entanglements to take care of her.
I felt it an honor. “What now?” I asked sitting in church. My life stretched out before me as an empty abyss. My brother sat stoically with his face toward the cross while clutching his wife’s hand. My sister sat slumped against her husband’s shoulder, his arms around her as she cradled their child.
All so deeply grieving, no one noticed I sat alone. My place had been with our mother, preparing her meals, helping her walk, taking her to the doctor, seeing to her medication.
Now she was gone. My work was finished, and I was alone. I heard a door open and slam shut at the back of the church. Quick steps hurried along the carpeted floor. An exasperated young man looked around briefly and then sat next to me. He folded his hands and placed them on his lap. His eyes were brimming with tears. He began to sniffle, “I’m late,” he explained, though no explanation was necessary.
After several eulogies, he leaned over and commented, “Why do they keep calling Mary by the name of Margaret?”
“Because that was her name, Margaret. Never Mary. No one called her Mary”, I whispered. I wondered why this person couldn’t have sat on the other side of the church. He interrupted my grieving with his tears and fidgeting. Who was this stranger anyway?
“No, that isn’t correct,” he insisted, as several people glanced over at us whispering, “Her name is Mary, Mary Peters. That isn’t who this is? Isn’t this the Lutheran church?”
“No, the Lutheran church is across the street, I believe you’re at the wrong funeral, sir.” The solemnness of the occasion mixed with realization of the man’s mistake bubbled up inside me and came out as laughter. I cupped my hands over my face hoping it would be interpreted as sobs. The creaking pew gave me away. Sharp looks from other mourners only made the situation seem more hilarious.
I peeked at the bewildered, misguided man seated beside me. He was laughing too, as he glanced around deciding it was too late for an uneventful exit. I imagined my mother laughing. At the final Amen, we darted out a door. “I do believe we’ll be the talk of the town,” he smiled.
He said his name was Rick and since he had missed his aunt’s funeral, he asked me out for a cup of coffee. That afternoon began a lifelong journey for me with this man who attended the wrong funeral, but was in the right place.
A year after our meeting, we were married. This time we both arrived at the same church, right on time. In my time of sorrow, he gave me laughter. In place of loneliness, I now had love. if anyone asks us how we met, Rick tells them “Her mother and my Aunt Mary introduced us, and it’s truly a match made in Heaven.”x
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Old August 5th, 2015, 15:32
hazelharris hazelharris is offline
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Posts: 1,144

it has been two years since i lost my beloved mother
In some ways, the time has flown by. And much has changed. My strong and disciplined dad who used to swim three days a week, work out in the gym and write a nature column for the newsletter in the community where he lives, suffered a heart attack and now also battles dementia. My son, who was a little boy in his first real suit at his grandmotherís funeral, is now a young man, taller than both his parents with a deep and resonant voice that still surprises me on the phone.
But one thing is constant. I still miss my mom. And I know that as long as Iím here, I always will. Dealing with all my feelings has been a process. Here are a few things Iíve discovered along the way.
Grief is a wild thing. You canít tame it. You canít control it. I mean, did I want to cry in the middle of a department store on a hot August evening? No. But there I was a song from the 80s as playing. And then I saw a beige blouse that was just her style.I wanted to buy it for her, but I couldnít. I was once again slammed by the realization that I could no longer locate my mum on this planet So I cried. Big sloppy tears in the aisle between summer clearance and formal dresses.
This year, Iíve decided to stop fighting it and seize whatever opportunities Iím given to grieve, and surrender to them. What else can you do? grief has no expiration date. Some people tell you that grief gets easier over time. And I have noticed there is a rawness that scabs and callouses. Some people tell you to anticipate a year of grieving. But I have found that not to be true.
Itís been exactly two year since my mom died, and I am not done. In fact, there have been some days this second year that felt more gut-wrenching than the first, because I thought I was somehow supposed to be finished with all my sadness. So now I say maybe there are no rules, no deadlines. Maybe you just have to take grief as it comes.
I remember one of the first times someone I cared about died. In the days after it happened, I was just as stunned, but in a different way. As I rode in a car to the funeral I looked out at the busy street in awe. How were all these people walking around, going about their business as if nothing was different? Did they not understand that the world had been irrevocably altered by the loss of someone so dear?
Recently, my friend and I were talking about losing a parent, since we both had gone through the experience. At one point he said: ďGrief is kind of like the most wonderful club youíd never wish to belong to.Ē
I had to think about this. Here was yet another surprising concept to take in. There was a club and I was a member, along with everybody else in the world who had ever lost someone they loved? He talked about how grief can provide a lens into a different way of seeing things, a shared understanding of how to live life with perspective.
So I thought about that, and how my life has changed since I have been not only been touched, but fueled, by grief.
Since my mom died, I quit a job that wasnít right for me so that I could spend more time with my family. I grew more committed to my spiritual practice. I went back to school to study and I will graduate in June armed with new skills, knowledge and a strong desire to fight for the rights of elderly patients as well as those who care for them. And most recently, I started writing, something I have wanted to do for four years but finally found the courage to start.
And so I decided, maybe my friend is right. I certainly am a reluctant member of this club. But I also realized sometimes grief spurs us to challenge ourselves and realize dreams we didnít know we had. And the way it can bring us all together, that can be something kind of wonderful.x
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Old October 13th, 2016, 10:16
cal821 cal821 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 477

reposted for a re-read
Memory can only tell us what we were,
in the company of those we loved;
it cannot help us find what each of us, alone, must now become.
Yet no person is really alone;
those who live no more echo still within our thoughts and words,
and what they did has become woven into what we are.

I wish you peace and a level path on your journey...

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