Comparisons.

Feeling guilt over the validity of my pain
Comparing my childhood story with yours

Yet I know this is no competition
And we each bear our own challenges
We each learn in our own ways

Why does comparison even come into it?

How do we accept this and grow?

Wanting life to be right and just, does not make it so

All we can do is live our own integrity

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Once More, Unto Hope.

I will not acknowledge this darkness clawing at my soul
I will not name it depression, grief or anxiety, which gives it form and offers it power
I will not give in when the desire to hide away, from people, from loved ones, from life,
Calls me incessantly and offers an uncomfortable ease to this troubled heart
I will not doubt my own worth
I will not question every part of my being that others see as positive
I will not make life-changing decisions based on the fear of my present.

There are so many ways to dive into these depths
And in the past I’ve tried them all, tested their effectiveness
So I know that path isn’t right for me right now
Despite the comfort of familiarity all of that could be
There is only right now, hunched over,
Wanting to stand tall, but bearing the weight of my world on my shoulders
So for every step forwards, and every step backwards,
I know my focus on the future will eventually win through.

Hope calls me forwards
I don’t recognise it’s shape, but the warmth is enough to draw me away from this icy cold.
Hoping for a mind unrestrained by this clutter and weight.
Hope is a quiet voice, whispering encouragement through the darkness
Leading me onto a new path
Reminding me of the light that exists out there.

Feeling. In Two Parts.

Feeling. (part I) When I don’t understand.

Questioning my ability to feel
When my Dad’s death doesn’t bring tears
Even 2 years later, the grief hurts terribly
But all the pain is internally focussed
Dry eyes, show no outward signs
My marriage is also those dry eyes
The pain of missing emotions
The grief of an unfulfilling relationship
When did I stop feeling passion there?
(A few years ago now)
Present life is mostly these pains
Internal. Physically and mentally disrupting
Outwardly, only my words can express
Some of the heartache and headache.


Feeling. (part II) When I remember.

When our white rabbit died
I held Miss Madeline as her life drained away
And in the car afterwards I cried heavily.
For about eighteen years
I maintained passionate attraction to my wife
(Despite rarely feeling equal passion returned).
When close friends show me love
A strong hug, a kiss,
walking arm in arm
It brightens my day and warms my heart.
Reminding myself this way, that I do feel
Leaves me thinking, if I could just
feel the grief in a more practical way
Maybe I wouldn’t get stuck there.

Reminders and Grief.

It is now two years since my Dad died. The grief has been hitting hard. Just thinking about Christmas, thinking about the family time to come, his birthday, triggers. The annual family gathering for his brothers and sister and their families, once again a beautiful time all together, but the biggest reminder that he is gone.

And yesterday, my highschool friend and work colleague, lost his long term Tai Kwon Do training partner to cancer. Wasted away in a hospital bed as his internal organs shut down. Reminiscent of my own Dad’s failing body. My friend talks about death and repeats the words of his own religious father.

“Bury your dead. And take care of the living.”

A reminder, to focus on the life around you. These are the people that deserve your time, your love. Share your energy with them while you are able to. 

For me, this is a positive focus reminder. Yet I also know that this won’t lessen the feelings I have. Love for my Dad. Despite the life we had. Despite all that happened. Despite the hard, unreasonable person he was at times. He still loved me. His partner tells me he was always so thankful that I had visited. 

Even though he wasn’t particularly good at expressing it. He made an effort. A few words. Remembering birthdays. Always welcoming, supportive, interested.

The love of a father. The love that I missed whilst a child. The love I still look for. Crave. Does any of this help me today? Help me with my own wants/needs? Help me with my grief? 

Only in expressing all this, will there be some benefit. Sharing my story, my words, is the only way I know to let this out. May that be enough.

Helpless And Upset.

Today
From the moment I awakened
My thoughts turned on me
Pummelling and belittling me
And I was helpless to defend myself
My body crashed
As my spirit was crushed

Tonight
I feel terrible for having
So many days where
I just can’t function
Because I know
The pressure that it puts
On both myself and my wife
On life.

(9:26 pm)

What Got Me Through.

I want to get this emotion out of me
To express it through creativity
Need to clear these feelings to set me free
But can’t clear my head sufficiently

Struggling with exhaustion as soon as we left the party today, I emotionally & physically crashed when we arrived home. She tried to comfort me, reminding me that I’ve been through a few busy long days in a row. I know the continual exhaustion for over two weeks now has been wearing me down further and then pushing past all that to look after the invalid girl has been even more draining.

Trying to cry, choking on emotion, wet cheeks. She’s trying to comfort me. Overcome by such a heavy heart. Couldn’t write it out. Had to put music loud through my headphones to tune it all out. That worked and I slept lightly through an hour.
Only music got me through.

Still feeling such a heavy heart. Felt the need to be held in someone’s arms. She cradled my head on her lap. More waves of emotion. Trying to accept them, not to be overwrought by them. Repeating the support phrases from my therapist about feelings, not helping. Helpless. Feeling alone and unloved. Telling myself that’s not true – that it’s all lies told by my brain at the moment. Message still not getting in.

Then I channeled the energy of my close friends. I took their words, their love and their care, pulled in that energy into a moment and started speaking to my inner hurting self. With comfort and honour, with love and compassion, I was my best friend. The only person with the words to calm me, to help me feel loved and cared for, to be with me inside the stormy darkness and to pull me through it. I was left with exhaustion, but only exhaustion.
Only my friends got me through.

(25 January 2015)

Regarding Grief.

I think I would cope better
If I felt more
If grief was sobbing tears,
stabs of pain,
or wrenching emotional pangs

Physical symptoms
Allow me to “be present”
acknowledge and experience them
While this mental induced
exhaustion and lethargy
is more of a hurdle
that gets higher
every time I approach it

Is the race over yet?
I’m ready to get back into life
Or am I still racing away
from something?

Marathon
hurdles
hundred metre sprint
and long jump
All rolled into one
one long event
No-one to pass the baton onto

The crowd cheered at the start
And will be there at the end
But along this bumpy section
this long and lonely road
Out in the rain
and the blistering heat
Only the keenest followers
lend their brief moments of support

The ends come
Grieving for what has passed
for a present without
and for a future
that will always be changed
This valid loss of mine
Permanent loss
means my life has forever altered
and I may need some time
getting to know myself
as a different person now

Now
Present
The gift of life
includes this grief
There will be something that I learn
perhaps my own strength
And whether I choose to talk
or write about it
Or find other ways or creativities
to express and process
this distress
Nothing will depress
the cause of my duress
It started with
and will always be remembered as
Love

.

[ Thoughts after a rough week of exhaustion and reading this link sent by my friend Charlie ]

Hi Dad (365 days).

Hi Dad,

It’s been a year now. 365 days since I last saw you. There was a phone call, I slept through the first ring, but a minute later I registered something was up for my phone to be ringing in the middle of the night. I saw who it was calling, I answered, and I knew it was bad. Pulled on some clothes and shoes, jumped in my car and drove around. I was only 4 minutes away, so no time to think other than “get there, see what you can do” and “be ready for anything”. I pulled into the driveway. An ambulance out front, the front door open. And there you were, laying on the floor in the passageway of the house I grew up in.

(I’m still growing up – still learning, still growing – I think you’d appreciate that. I never had the courage to tell you something like that before, but I do now.)

Laying there surround by medical staff, trying to revive you. What was it, about 1 or 2 AM? So I stayed clear while they did their job. Sat in the kitchen while M cried. Looked after her as best I could. One of the medical staff spoke to us in the kitchen, said they were doing all they could. Soon afterwards, came the expected news. Forty minutes working on you and no response at all. It was time for them to stop and call the police because that was protocol.

The officers who attended were very good. Explaining the process, what they had to do and why. We needed a funeral home to come and take you away for now, but who? You were so organised in many ways, but this came along a bit quick for you to be ready. If you’d had a funeral home chosen already, it would have been much easier for us there, that night. Suddenly, seemingly important decisions needed to be made on the spot. Well we did the best we could, as ill-prepared as we were, M and me.

The funeral home staff took a while to arrive, but really that’s understandable. A couple of people would have received their own phone calls in the middle of the night, have to get up, scrub up, and dress up, and arrive to deal with you.

While waiting, we dressed you. Changed you out of your pyjamas and put some comfortable clothes on you. It was relatively easy. I was surprised at how light you were, so easy to move around. And so at peace. The memory of your face then is already fading, but I will always remember how it felt. Taking care of you one last time, while you rested, comfortable at last.

They staff that arrived were great. Communication, understanding, sincerity, care, consideration. They showed you every respect and showed us every care. We wrapped you in white, so that we could lift you onto the gurney. And then you left.

I saw you again, later, but it wasn’t the same. You weren’t there any more. The life and spirit had all passed. You were made up so well, so natural, so neat in your suit, you looked good, but you weren’t there any more. I could tell, and I felt a little sad for it.

I visited your final resting place just over a week ago. There with your mum, and your dad alongside. That was what you wanted, I’m glad you had made that known. I didn’t know what to expect, I hadn’t seen the new memorial stone for you yet. I thought I might get a little teary. Thought I might want to talk out loud to you. Get angry or something. But there was nothing obvious wanting to come out. It’s just life. This happened and I was there to help you in the end. I just deal with it. Just do what needs to be done and keep going. I don’t really know any other way. Is there any other way? Maybe not when I’m me.

Oh the grief has been sneaky. It’s been bad. It has just disabled me at times this year. It has left me conscious but unable to think, unable to process a thought or make even the smallest decision sometimes. Grief has trapped me in bed, unable to get up all day. Unable to function, unable to look after myself. Unable to feel anything more than fear and oppression. Grief has dragged along depression and switched my brain around so that I disbelieved anything people said to me, so that I felt isolated from everyone, hated myself and couldn’t bear another day of it all.

It’s been a tough year. I don’t blame you. I don’t blame anyone (anymore). It’s just who I am at this time and how it’s effected me and how I’ve needed to process it. And it’s probably not over yet, may never be, but I’m learning how to deal with it. Relearning how to be me, rebuilding from the ground up. Not patching little holes of pain, but learning how to really live all that is life – the easy and the difficult times. All the emotions. All the feelings. The highs and lows and the quiet times between. It all means something and I’m learning that, bit by bit, with some great help.

I don’t wish that we’d had more time. I just wish that I hadn’t lived under so much fear that I hesitated to talk to you about my thoughts, about all these questions I had and about all that you might have been able to share with me. That’s my only regret. I wasn’t brave enough with you. But It’s taught me bravery. I’ve become much braver, I’ve become more of the person I always wanted to be. And I can thank you for that.

I know I’m a day or two late, writing this.

(Wasn’t I always a little late getting things done for you? But you never rushed or pushed me, you just let me know how much you appreciated the assistance.)

The last three days I’ve been celebrating Christmas, with family and friends. Celebrating life and being thankful for those people around me.

So today was the day to write this. Today I was ready, finally. To think about it all, to mark the occasion, to talk about and honour you. To say “hey, I missed you this year Dad, but I thought about you, as I always have, and I’ll keep you alive in my heart.”
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