These are my musings and observations on my daily life, loves and the laughter that are all a part of my experience of living now in the shires of England.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

What are your colours?

What are your colours?

Would anybody know just by looking at you? Would they know by hearing you speak for a short while?

If you don’t show any colours do you automatically become a victim of circumstances?

You do not necessarily have to belong to a street gang to have a colour affiliation, but your actions and your words are your uniform of life – they show your humanity.

What are your colours?


Friday, 25 January 2013

Untitled 7 - poetry by Marjorie H Morgan


Your arms, to me,
are the safety of a walled city,
your fingers,
are the keys to unlock the warmth
and joy
of the sun.


© Marjorie H Morgan (2013)

The Window Opens - Poetry by Marjorie H Morgan


The Window Opens

You can never truly comprehend
the pain that person is feeling
until you’ve walked in their boots
and find, you too, are kneeling.

You saw them walking miles and miles
and all the time you thought you knew,
but you never took each step with them
and felt the torture they went through.

You thought you’d put their world to rights
and so your words were spoken,
then you put your feet in their shoes
... and found the window opened.

(1995)
© Marjorie H Morgan (2013)

Untitled 6 - poetry by Marjorie H Morgan


To you
my eyes
smile with warm gold
the answer
to your unspoken question
is
of course
yes

To them
my eyes
shone  like stainless steel
the answer
to spoken requests
was
unfailingly
no.

They wanted
more
than I could give

I’ll give as much
as you ever want.


© Marjorie H Morgan (2013)

The Bridge Poem - poetry by Donna Kate Ruskin



The Bridge Poem
  by Donna Kate Ruskin



I've had enough
I'm sick of seeing and touching
Both sides of things
Sick of being the damn bridge for everybody

Nobody
Can talk to anybody
Without me

Right?

I explain my mother to my father my father to my little sister
My little sister to my brother my brother to the white feminists
The white feminists to the Black church folks the Black church folks
To the ex-hippies the ex-hippies to the Black separatists the
Black separatists to the artists the artists to my friends' parents.

Then I've got to explain myself

To everybody
I do more translating
Than the Gawdamn U.N.

Forget it
I'm sick of it

I'm sick of filling in your gaps

Sick of being your insurance against
The isolation of your self-imposed limitations
Sick of being the crazy at your holiday dinners
Sick of being the odd one at your Sunday Brunches
Sick of being the sole Black friend to 34 individual white people

Find another connection to the rest of the world
Find something else to make you legitimate
Find some other way to be political and hip
I will not be the bridge to your womanhood
Your manhood
Your human-ness

I'm sick of reminding you not to
Close off too tight for too long

I'm sick of mediating with your worst self
On behalf of your better selves

I am sick
Of having to remind you to breath
Before you suffocate
Your own fool self.
Forget it
Stretch or drown
Evolve or die

The bridge I must be
Is the Bridge to my own power
I must translate
My own fears
Mediate
My own weaknesses
I must be the bridge to nowhere
But my true self
And then
I will be useful.


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Arena - Fiction by Marjorie H Morgan



Arena


The prologue


Grass is persistent and always finds a way to grow through concrete, as does love; it will find the soul no matter how deep it has been hidden by anger and loss. Weeds often shadow the grass and differentiation is needed.

The stadium of life can catch you in the spotlight when you least expect it. Then individuals become transfixed by a persistent beam like rabbits on a country road.


Act 1


What is born each night and dies each dawn?

I am here.
This is who I am. Here in this world. I have chosen to use my real name. Then, why would I do otherwise? This is virtually all I know.

I did not ask questions until it was too late. Like Lego we clicked together without any real effort or struggle. Close fitting. Comfortable.

I entered this virtual world as my self. My history has taught me to be honest. I told all within a moment. I felt no shame and the mute self that usually shadows me had fled in the glare of the neon flat-screen. As I experienced this new birth I shook my cocoon loose. I realised that I could never go back. I shrugged in my chair; I planned to stay here as long as you could bear. I need you more than I need to sleep.

Tomorrow always takes care of itself. It releases its anchor and slips into today, yet it still exists as tomorrow.

When I did not know you, when you lived in my concealed thoughts of the future, then I was not enslaved. I was free to roam and be just a part of me. Now I have to be more of me since what is born can never return to the ovule state. There is no reversal of my growth. Going back never works … only death will stop my dreams, but it will never stop my heart and the love that lives there.

I did not know your history or who you had decided to reveal to me when we met and joined together in that aligned world.

For months, or maybe it was mere shards of moments joined together, we rearranged the other worlds so that in effect we could meet. The real consequence was the withdrawal of emotions from the flesh and blood that surrounded me. Knowledge was ignored in place of emotions and desires. I believed the façade and I took time to enhance it.

The keyboard tapped out my dreams and you interweaved yours with mine, as if you knew me. I was never hidden, at first; I tried to hide when it was too late. I had revealed too much of my heart and nothing could heal it. Like Juliet, I did not want it to be healed. I wanted to suffer in the Buddhist way, to feel the pain, because without it I would forget. I have no desire to forget or to move beyond the knowledge of the love that has captured me.

I willingly neglect my duty to develop the cessation of the painful feelings that are my new world. Why stop now? I never stopped to reflect before I embarked on this act of revelation. Did you?

I grew to know you. My life was reversed as I moulded it to fit in with yours. Whatever gaps I placed in my story you filled them and fitted into them like decorator’s caulk. Not once did you disappoint me.

Silence.
Feeling full is a satisfying state. The thousands of hungry people that roam the earth looking for nourishment first have to satisfy the base craving for food before the desire for love can be approached. In the position of comfort I found you and mirrored your contentment.

I didn’t care about love until I was loved and loved you back. But even then I didn’t really care. It was still part of the game that I have played all my life. I dig for the elusive value that flirts with my sleeping mind, and then when I touch something of a unique and different form I am frightened so I quickly give up the search as unfulfilled. Fear of success makes me run.
If I find this prize too soon what else will I have to do for the rest of my time here? Knowing that you hold my matching part I run.

You see, you surprised me by your affection. It was unexpected. You got under my skin when I had sewn myself up tightly years ago. No room to breathe, or so I thought, no room for any kind of emotional manoeuvre but you parallel parked your heart with mine. Matched.

It was not love that caused the other millions to perish. Not many people have ever died of love. Absence of love caused the murders. Somebody should have said so before.

The day I entered this world, the one you entered simultaneously, that was the day when we became gods and began to create our universe. In the beginning there was void and our lives were without shape and darkness covered the face of our non-existence. The loss that had accompanied my body since birth was arrested for a wonderful week as we discovered our prosperity in each other. The shadow of decay was eclipsed as you covered me and we became one.

I have a new identity.
Your words formed me and I am marked for life. Like the Jews with the numbers imprinted on their flesh I remain captive to you. Even when you are not here, with me in the now. I am linked to you through these markings. Where you have touched me, outside and in. I have the trace of you forever as part of my flesh.

I have been rescued from my history. The love that is here, now, has stripped me of the mask that I lived behind in safety from you and myself. I am afraid that I will not be able to exist without my disguise. Exposure is a risk that I take alone only once every century.

‘I am giving you myself,’ you said.
‘I want to belong to you, to be yours.’
I hesitate to believe your words. I have heard these lies before. I wait for the punch line. It never comes. Are you true?
I was silent as I heard your heart beating in time with mine. Was it just the one heart that we have started to share? The one dream? A dream is always a risk. Ask Schlinder. His way of making dreams come true was to save a life or a hundred. His risk was to give time and effort to fulfil his vision. He had his list. To be named is to be saved.

I am new yet worn out from being here before. Please do not make me tired with promises that are empty. I still cling to hope.

But you still went away.
‘Loose ends to be tied.’ You said with too much sadness I think.

Your absence is staggering. It touches everywhere I am.

I constantly form you when you are not in my eye line. The memory of your recent presence becomes real in my mind. You rest in my imagination.

‘Is this the last goodbye?’ you asked in a low voice.
‘Let’s not talk of being final.’
‘I need total honesty.’
‘You know that I cannot leave you now, now that I have found you. Is that what you want to hear? That is my truth. I love you.’
‘I just wonder how long these special moments will last…’
‘As long as you value and remember them.’ I said.
‘Do you?’
‘Do I what?’ seeking clarity I persisted in repetition.
‘Value and remember them as I do.’
‘I will never be the same because of them. I am better because of this sliver of existence that we have shared. Because of you… I will.’
‘There is a rightness in this… do you know what I mean?’
‘Yes. I do.’ I nodded to affirm the fact to both you and myself.

Hope. Alive for the night.



Act two


What flickers red and warm like a flame, yet is not fire?

When I first saw you in Piazza Bra the ancient met the modern as the voices from the arena swooped through my thoughts. You found my soul!
The thoughts of acquiring anything but you fled from my mind. Prada and Gucci departed with Versace, Valentino, and Ferrè as I followed you through the gates into the arena.  I wanted you to notice me, but not immediately. I needed to savour you first.
Solemnly you paraded through the columns and arches. A lone horn player caused the crowds to hush for a moment. Combined applause greeted the effort. When all the visitors revert to anonymity you have moved upwards, nearer to me.

Scholars have spent their lives searching for the soul but it is discovered only by feeling. To know of the soul is to attempt to coax a beautiful sound from an instrument on the first encounter. To know the soul is to be joined as one with the source of the joy. This awakened spirit reigns the body. All decrees must be followed without question.

I climbed the steep steps and gazed at your glory below me. To the top of three tiers of marble arches I spring. Northwest of this structure is now the centre of my world. I sit above you, becoming your crown.
The arena was the perfect backdrop to your beauty. Arena di Verona has become my Garden of Eden. My heart is made of sand and trickles in your wake.

You are the protagonist that my life story has been missing: welcome to my plot.

Maria Callas has sung about us in this place before this intersection materialised in our lives. I have been wandering and everyone looked the same; until I saw you.

I wonder what language you use to express your love. I wonder what blessing brought me from London last week when I wanted to curl up alone in my flat instead. Songs of praise are on my lips just for the pleasure of viewing you. Michelangelo knew the joy when he saw David after years of imagining him. Are you a mirage?

You excite me like a snowstorm and the sun is flooding the stones as I breathe you in trying to calm my pulse. You leave me no choice but to know you. This pure belief propels me onwards. I cannot waste any time, I have to reach through this interval that you have expanded and spread around me.

The cobblestone streets fell behind me. I pursued you from one private garden to another, through the streets bustling with tourists and slower walking natives. The vibrancy eased me along. I remain locked within the defence system of the Castelvecchio.
Within the walls I hunted you. Through the forests of stone.
Panic struck me when your glorious dark hair was obscured by a fervent shopper. I rushed past: too eager. Then, before I could adjust my steps, I saw that you had paused at a gift shop and I charged into you.
I am bare in front of you. I know you read my soul in an instant. Happiness is not accidental.

Embarrassment sits on my face.
‘Sorry…’ I offer while my mind suggest ‘stay.’
I do not move away after offering myself to you. I cannot go now. Never.
‘No problem,’ and you are also planted in the earth.
‘Would you like to join me for a coffee,’ I propose astonished at my strength and willingness to take a chance.
‘That would be lovely.’
‘Do you know anywhere close by?’
‘Via Mazzini. Just through here.’
The brightness inside me starts to transform me; it is forcing the blackness away.
My breath travels rapidly around my head as I look sideways at you. We walk together, like it had always been so. My steps are delighted for this moment. The fractured moments and places are ancient.

‘I felt the mark of your look,’ you said, ‘I wanted you to find me.’

Our last evening together in the Arena was much like our first: the atmosphere was taut. Just two nights and I have learned to talk of trust. Anxiety has not completely vanished but my enthusiasm for you has starved it.  As the sun slithered below the sky and behind the horizon we lit the mocoleto in symphony with countless others. The flickering beams glowed around the stones and smiles. A pale silver light rose in the sky. We wrap around each other while we are illuminated by untold happiness.


‘Beautiful,’ you whispered.

We knew that separation was imminent, but planned against its permanence. You have captured and controlled time. We combine our past and future to make our lives now.

Turandot was fascinating and unforgettable. But I am only entranced by you. I am alive.

Blood. Red and warm, flickering like a flame.




Act three

What is like ice but burns?


You tore away my ruthless rigidity. I am ashamed of my rapid surrender to your approach.
I became undone by a look. I was called without words.


‘Don’t leave me…’ I whisper. Regret strikes me as I speak. I am forever exposed by my plea. I am afraid of separation now.
I closed my eyes while I waited for you to make a sign.
‘You don’t understand how much this means to me,’ I think while my blood attacks my ears with loud drumming.

The silence is long.

You kiss me and I melt like ice cream left in the sun too long. I turn into a humble and suppliant worshiper before you.

Your cigarette drops un-smoked as you reach for my hand.

Desire never had a place expressed outside of my body. It inhabited my mind before your touch.
Now I am no longer underground. You have excavated me. I let you into my hiding place. And I was afraid.

‘I want to tell you,’ I think.
‘What is it?’
‘What?’
‘That you want to say. What do you want to say?’
‘Umm…’
‘Just say it, don’t think and sanction it, just say it.’
‘Well…’
‘You can trust me now you know.’
Locking eyes, I do know. Thank you.
I speak.

Now you really know.

Being fearless and leaving the land of regret I come to you. I learn to walk in pace with you and slow down as I am no longer in a hurry to escape those shadows that surround me like pack dogs. I am looking at the same world in a different way, through our eyes. I want to belong here with you.

I am excited to know what you are thinking about, the way you search the answers out of me makes me yearn to share, sometimes, when I don’t think first. With supreme sensitivity we enter a territory of limitless realities.

Devotion.

You worship me, here and now. I slip between the cracks in my memory.

Then devotion was frightening.
I refused my father. This was my moment in history when my time ran out.

My agony was explicit as the memories repeated.

‘This too shall pass.’ I chant, about everything except us in the now.
Former things have passed away.
Hesitantly I take you through the border of my mind and into my childhood remembrance.

Dedication.

I lay down my gladius. I will not fight off love again.

This world I need to preserve. Reality is no longer harsh. The broken days that hold no being and leave no evidence have gone since your arrival.

‘Since the first moment…’
‘Yes?’
‘Since that first moment, well, I have both loved and feared you.’
‘Why both? Why both?’
‘Because…’
‘I will never harm you, you know? Never. You are dearer to me than … anything. I cannot name one thing because it will diminish your worth to me. I name everything as worthless in place of you. Do you understand me now?’
‘I feared that I would love myself by loving you. I do. But it is past. The fear has passed. I have spoken from inside and now, now, I put my life in your hands. I hope you will treasure it as I do you.’
‘Don’t cry, my sweet, don’t cry.’
I have allowed you to take me prisoner because I am free.
‘I cry through the release of joy, not through any sadness. The sadness has disappeared. Thank you.
‘You do care, don’t you?’
I hurtle on, afraid again for a moment. Afraid to let a breath or a word slip in before I have laid my soul on the block. There is no retreat. I have no repeal anyway.
‘Indifference would crucify me. You know that don’t you?’
‘If I could be any more devoted … it would kill me. I am yours. You must feel that?

I do.

‘I am your exception because I kiss you without betrayal.’ Those were your ten words of revelation.
I disbelieve my life theory of emptiness. You are my other thought. The darkness is repaired by the person that is you. Things fade in worth.

Your smile wipes away my angry fear and replaces it with love. I have found what I had lost before I knew its name. My thirst is quenched by your presence and desire to make me a part of you.

A love hymn plays between our bodies as you plunge into me as a seal fixed in wax. You cement our foundations and we exist on a plateau. Encased in pure enjoyment. I make no attempts to conceal the pain, for it has died. With joint shadows we can go into the future.

This is the future. I am here.

Your true identity is … love.

Hatred and Fear. Both burn like ice.


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Death is Nothing at All - Poetry by Henry Scott Holland


Death is Nothing at All

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well. 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Letter from God ... on living with grief

Here is a letter I wish I'd received earlier in my life. But I'm glad I have it now, and I'm glad that I can share it with you ...



My dear child,

Let me start by saying I love you. I know that at the moment you may not understand what love is all about because you are grieving. I also know that you may not want to hear anything that I have to say right now because all you know is intense pain. That’s your reality at this moment. I understand that. Nevertheless, I am writing this letter to you because I think that you may find it helpful one day when you can read it. You will know when that time is. I believe in your abilities. I think you are still in shock and need to rest while you think about what has happened.

You have experienced a loss. It’s very real to you. So I won’t tell you that it’s all going to be better on a particular day at a particular time because this journey of grief is personal to you. You alone will know when the time is ... different. Different to the time that you are in now. Different to the pain that you feel now. Different to everything that you understand right now. Sometimes I think that you think that it’s too hard to think. You are right. Everything is hard when you are grieving. Waking up is hard, eating is hard, bathing is hard, even smiling with people is hard. Thinking is the hardest part of all. I can see that. It’s why I see that you distract yourself from having to think. I see that it hurts. I know why you busy yourself with so many activities. I also know why you sit still for hours on end without moving. You feel alone. Grief makes you lonely.

Your grief is yours alone. Nobody can share the grief that you have. It’s only yours. That’s why you alone will know when the journey of your grief is another part of the journey of your life. Others around you will be experiencing this loss in a totally different way, and that’s alright – that’s their journey. All I expect you to do is feel your way through the darkness of this pain and know that it will get light again someday.  I don’t expect you to believe anything I say, actually, I don’t expect that you can really believe that I am real.
After all, the person that you are grieving for was far more real to you than I ever was. That’s OK. I understand. Really I do. They were another expression of My love to you.

Does that sound confusing? I’m sure many things do confuse you right now. Simple things that made sense before this loss are now complicated mazes of utter confusion and bewilderment in your days. Nothing seems to fit into place any more. I understand that. It’s as if the world has shifted on its axis and will never be righted again, and for you, I know you believe that is true at times. Maybe you don’t want things to be right again because you may believe that somehow that will make a mockery of your grief. Trust me, it won’t. It will be OK to live life to the full again, to love again and even to be happy. However, I know that grief is often like walking in fog. There seems to be no way out, and at some moments I know that you don’t want to leave the fog. The clarity outside of your current grief existence can be too stark to handle; it will, however, become clearer in time. You may even surprise yourself in the future as you embrace life with gusto.

How you get from here to there is not clear for you, but it can happen.

Some things will never be clear to you – not because you are incapable of understanding them, but because they are bigger than just you and your place in the world. Those things are for Me to understand and take care of. Trust Me. I hope that one day you can and will. I’ll always be here for you. Always. Even when you don’t want to know Me.

That probably sounds so unbelievable right at this moment when the person you always wanted to be with you is no longer there. I’m sorry that you feel sad about that. It was, however, their time to go to sleep. It will never seem like there was enough time for you to be together. That’s another thing you have to trust Me on. I do know the best timings for each life. Partings invariably cause pain. The pain that people feel is not something that makes anyone happy. Especially Me.

One of the most popular questions that I hear is, “Why?” I answer them all, but sometimes people don’t listen to Me. I know that sometimes they can’t listen to Me. Because the pain of loss, especially fresh loss, makes all the senses numb. This may surprise you, but that’s the way I designed it.

Not so that you can feel pain. No, that was never My intention. I designed the sensation of loss so that you could remember love. That’s what this is all about. Love: closeness and connections. Grieving is natural. Loving is natural. They are linked throughout eternity.

I have lost Someone close to Me as well. However, He’s back now. We have been reunited. But that’s another story ... you can look it up if you want to, it’s in another letter I’ve sent to the world: the Bible. (This may be one of the parts that you’ll throw your hands up in disbelief at, but that’s OK. I understand. You may even rip this letter up and burn it, or throw it away, but that’s OK too. I’ll send these thoughts to you again, maybe in a different way. Somehow I’ll keep letting you know that I love you and that it’ll all be alright soon ... because I really do love you and I know what you’re going through. I want you to know that how you feel really matters to Me. It’s all about love.)

As I was saying, love is usually at the centre of grief. That’s why it’s so confusing to you at times. One day I know that you will accept your loss, and even understand it. That may not be today, but it will come.
It may surprise you to know that what you are feeling is natural. Yes, that rollercoaster of emotions that you can go through in the fraction of a moment is perfectly normal. I know that you feel angry at times, especially when the reality of what’s happened hits you fresh in the heart again and you are in shock just like when they first died.

Like the hedgehog I see you put your spikes out to protect your soft centre. You’re doing well. Your heart is hurting. It’s a natural reaction.

You know, some people find that at times like this, at times of fresh loss, they will protect themselves – especially their hearts – by detaching from everyone and everything around them. It’s one way through the heavy pain. Cutting loose can work wonders.

Other people have been known to numb themselves to reality by surrounding themselves with crowds of people so they never have to be alone. Some of these connections are never meant to last. I have seen people behave like butterflies in the summer when they are grieving – they flit from person to person, from group to group, from high to low, as if they were searching for that elusive nectar in a particular flower. Their sadness is as deep as any I have known. They avoid reality and find temporary comfort in anonymity. What sometimes happens is that as soon as someone starts to get close to them, they will detach and move away. It’s their own path through grief, it’s one that no-one wants to take but I know someone always does.
When a big link to your past is taken away – and I know that sometimes you may feel like it was taken and not just slipped away – I see that all you think you are left to live with is sadness.

Sadness is a part of the grief, as I have said you feel sad because the loss is linked to the love you had for that person. That’s a marvellous thing. You may be thinking, “How can sadness be marvellous?” That’s a good question. I’ll try to answer it, but I don’t expect you to believe Me at all, especially straight away.
The reason I don’t expect you to believe me? Well, I know that some days, some moments, some long hours when you are alone with your thoughts, when all the distractions have ceased to block out your feelings, at those times you may think that the world is just an awful place and you just wish everyone would acknowledge it and accept that we are surrounded by unkindness.

I’m not saying that that is not true. There is unkindness and awfulness in the world, but you are not yearning the loss of those things, you are keenly feeling the loss of a special love. That person was specially chosen for you, as you were specially chosen for them. You both had a connection that no one else in the world had, and it’s for that reason that you mourn their loss. They were your connection to your joint past. They still are – even though they are not living and breathing beside you right now. You see, grief is really personal. Grief is also universal. Paradoxically grief is the most private feeling as well as the most public expression.
I want you to remember this: nobody has an obligation to love you. And vice versa. Not even parents and children. Not partners or friends. No human grouping must love any other – but it changes worlds when they do. Love is a choice. Whereas loss appears to be forced on you. Nobody wants it yet everybody has to feel it as it’s a part of the life and death cycle of existence.

Families that suffer the loss of a parent, child, or sibling often have the widest range of grief experiences ever known. Not one of them is the same. It’s a private as well as a shared loss. It’s familiar familial grief and private secret sorrow.

One of the things that I find surprises people most is when they realise that they can’t control grief.

This is especially hard for those who are used to controlling every aspect of their lives – well, trying to at least. The illusion of control is shattered forever when grief breaks through your heart. Suddenly you know that there is nothing you can do to harness those feelings. They surface when and where they want to. Sometimes I know that you feel embarrassed to share the emotions that grief throws out of you, so you keep both a physical and emotional distance from people.

I know that you are trying to protect them from yourself, and they are, in their way, trying to help you but you frequently think they forget your pain. Some of them do, but many don’t. They all have their own pains to deal with. It’s sad to see how many people are walking around with their emotions buttoned up from the inside: nobody is allowed access to the rawness of their hurt. That’s why it continues to sting at your heart and mind. It’s like the unexpected left hook to your head, it knocks you flying ... and often crying. And, as you are reeling from the blow, you realise that you have no idea how it broke through your defences.

When you are so uneasy with your emotional shows I think it makes sense to you to remain isolated from people. For some fresh grievers this means being the life and soul of the party. This means living right to the edge of total exhaustion so that sleep comes quickly and easily every night. Being isolated in public is just as hard to achieve as being isolated in private. They both require lots of effort to achieve. It’s the effort that can be so appealing when battling with grief: it keeps you busy. This means never having a moment to think or remember the loss because feeling the hundreds of sharp knives that the pain to your heart brings each time you remember is just too much to bear. Keeping these emotions all zipped up works for a while but it’s the nature of zips that there are sections that interlock and connect with another part. That’s what is probably best for you right now – connecting in a real way with others. Connecting with life beyond yourself.

You may choose to connect with your family, your friends, strangers, lovers, casual acquaintances, animals, nature or any number of things. However you do it, you are the only one who can unzip the protective cloak around yourself. You can only do this in your own time. I know that. That’s why you have these emotions, so you know when to move between stages of guilt, between feelings of shock, acceptance, anger, denial and depression.

In grief I have seen that many people actively seek isolation because the fear of dependence on someone else reminds them of their connection and dependence of a person who has just died, and it is far too frightening to want to repeat. It’s a normal reaction. In grief the everyday resilience seems to disappear.
Life is fragile like thin ice. As a recently bereaved person you may need time to look at life. The whole of life. Death really brings life into focus. It’s often when somebody has died that others take time – in isolation – to decide if they want to reduce their commitment and connection to general life or to broaden it.

The relationship that you are grieving has changed with your loved one’s death and all other relationships in your life will change because of that. It’s OK. It’s normal. This is a time that you may take to reassess all your connections and look at what relationships you consider special, what friendships stand the ‘test’ of continual sadness. I’ve seen people isolating themselves in their thoughts and actions because the death of a loved one can feel like a rejection. It isn’t, but I understand the need to protect yourself from further possible rejections. I just wanted to let you know that you may feel that people around you will think that you are a nuisance – that’s usually what you are thinking about yourself, not what they are thinking about you. They may just want to love you in the best way they can. It’s difficult for everyone to understand someone else’s grief. You all have to love each other through the pain. I know you can’t do any differently to what you are doing right now, and that’s OK. Those people around you are also doing the best they can – for themselves and for you. You are all experiencing grief.

Some people anticipate grief: they know it’s coming and because of the nature of illness they have time to prepare. Or so they think. When the actual loss and separation occurs it doesn’t matter how much preparation has been done the new grief that sits on your shoulders banishes any thoughts of preparation for that moment that begins the spiral into grief. It’s the finality of death that is the worst for you I think. The absence of your loved one is suddenly everywhere. Your new thoughts, actions, and dreams are all off limits to them. You can no longer share your life with them, nor share any aspect of theirs. The disconnection is total.

Grief is like a thick blanket of snow. It keeps falling even when the emotional forecasters predict a change in outlook. It covers everything it touches and makes it impossible to decipher the landscape before you. It’s as far as your eye can see and deeper that your feet can touch. Grief is like trudging through unchartered geography not knowing where you are going, and sometimes, not even caring where you are going.
Some people have wanted to be consumed by their grief, and they are. They lie down in the snow and wait for it to cover them completely. Most snow melts, it may become ice or water, but it often changes and then you have to negotiate a different means to get through it. Thus it is with grief. It changes as time progresses. It does not always get lighter. It’s like a fairground ride: there are highs and lows on this journey. All I can say is that you should hold on. Hold on to that memory of love. Hold on to that link to the past that may not be living and breathing as a person anymore, but was real and always will be real as long as you keep them in your heart and mind and then you can pass that legacy of love forwards in the life you live.

Grief is sometimes like putting a saddle on a wild Mustang horse. It’s not a natural fit for the horse, but once captured by it, there is no choice but to wear it. People react like the Mustangs when grief settles on them, they fight it – or they take flight from it.

Like a saddled Mustang personal grief is difficult to get hold of, to control. However, as you grieve it’s very important to remember why you are grieving. Love is usually the reason. Holding on to the love rather than the grief is a way to move back into life. You see, grief sometimes makes you run away from daily life. Everything can seem pointless and meaningless in the face of your own loss. People around you can seem occupied with banal issues when your heart is silently fracturing into tiny splinters right in front of them. I have seen a lot of anger at times like this. It’s always hard to remember that they are doing their best because they are not listening to the soundtrack in your head – they don’t know what you are thinking or feeling; especially when you find it so difficult to share any of those feelings with them.

One of the things I’ve found that helps with ‘managing’ grieving is to remember the wonderful times with the person you’ve lost as well as to remember the not-so-good times. Remember the full humanity of the person, and the full humanity of yourself. Neither of you are without fault yet you were perfect for each other just as you were. That’s the beautiful truth of love – it is still there despite your obvious failings. In fact, it’s because you recognise the reality of an imperfect existence in each other that the love is deep. Love always exists beyond life. It’s a sustaining force.

Keeping the memory real will really help you to grieve, live and love at the same time. This may take a long time, but it can happen. Remember, your timeline for grieving will never match with anyone else’s because you grief is so unlike anyone else’s. Just like your eyes, your hair, your fingerprints, so it is with your grief: it’s unique to you.

Grief is a big part of life. As you learn to understand your own grief – especially around bereavement – I think you’ll improve your ability to adapt to those losses that are a part of everyday life. It’s never easy, it can’t be really because it is, after all a loss of someone or something you’ve had in your life that has deep meaning. You may not believe Me now, but you can live with your grief. Just remember to balance your sadness with the memories of love and connectivity that you’ve had. 

Before I forget, I think I should mention that sometimes you may feel guilty when you are grieving. And afraid. That’s OK too. Whenever you can please let yourself go on your emotional journey through these basic feelings. Although you cannot go back to change anything you can go forward and make things different, hopefully better, for those you meet in your life. I hope that you will learn how to keep loving and learn not to be afraid of love. It’s true that when you love you open yourself up to the possibility of loss, but that’s not a good reason to avoid and experience more deep love. You deserve more love. You are beautiful and marvellous after all. That reminds me of the question about sadness being marvellous. To answer that I will remind you that gold is never found on mountaintops. You have to dig for it. Love is like gold and the sadness of grief is like the process of digging to rediscover the vein similar to the one that you’d experienced before. You may think marvellous is a peculiar way to describe sadness, but when it brings you back to love it has to be seen as wonderful. Just like you.

You are well equipped to make it through the sadness that shrouds you from every corner of your day. One day you will be able to accept that even though you never knew everything about your loved one you still had a close relationship of deep and lasting value. One day you’ll see this journey of your grief for yourself (from outside of the grief you are currently inhabiting) and you may even smile and share your path with another wounded hearted soul. I know that it hurts, grief always hurts.

I know that you will get through this pain and sadness.

I’m sorry that you are sad. But I’ll finish here by saying I love you. I know that at the moment you may not want to understand or accept any love at all but My love is always here for you.

God.


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