Sunday, September 18, 2011

This and That

I spent most of this weekend in Bowling Green.  I am finding that being there brings me comfort since daddy died.  I wanted to see my step mom and spend some time with an old friend, but I also had a personal ritual in mind, too.   I love tattoos and had been wanting to get one in honor of my dad for the last couple of years.  Since his death, the need to get it done became greater.  He hated tattoos, hated that I had a few and would hate that I got yet another.  It was sort of fitting though, maybe that last act of defiance, but this time in some twisted honor of our relationship.  I also felt very strongly about getting it done in BG, where he lived his entire life and I grew up.  It is funny the little rituals that we go through to deal with all that life throws us.  After daddy died, I became obsessed with cutting my hair and did so as soon as I could.   In some cultures even today, women cutting off their hair after losing a loved one is a badge of grief.  I've been reading a book about grief that a friend gave me.  In one chapter it mentions how in today's busy society, we tend to hurry everything including mourning our losses.  The writer mentions that once upon a time when a loved one died, family members would dress in black or wear armbands or black ribbons every day for a year.  These tokens were to remind everyone of thier loss. 

Today we are constantly rushing from project to project.  I have friends with kids who seldom have an evening where they are not rushing from work to pick up a kid to take them to ball practice, cheerleading, hockey, youth group or any other of a dozen activities.  Americans work more hours than most any other country.  We are plugged in all the time.  Me too.  We are always asking each other what plans we have for this night or that weekend almost like if you don't have something going on, it's wrong.  Rarely do we just allow ourselves to do nothing.  Sit.  Listen to the quiet.  Unplug.  It isn't how we roll.  At my company (which I can say nothing but great things about) we get three days of bereavement time for the death of a parent.  Other companies give one.  Not to say that you shouldn't get back to work, life does go on after all, but one day?  When you are grieving, one of the hardest things is to accept that the world keeps on turning.  You just feel like everything should stop, even just for a little while and acknowledge that your world has changed forever. 

You can't hurry dealing with grief and it never truly goes away.  Each loss leaves behind it's own little cell of grief that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.  My sister died 33 years ago, but there are moments still where her absence in my life takes my breath away.  My mom has been gone for nearly 13 years and I often have days where I sob as hard over losing her as I did the day she died.  I miss my Memaw everytime I watch a squirrel play in the yard, or eat dumplings.  I am not going to let anyone tell me that I should "be over it by now" or "I should get on with my life".  I am getting on with my life and part of that includes allowing myself to wear my little internal black ribbon for as long as I need to.  No one knows what is best for me but me. 

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