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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

MORE SIGNS

I am a believer.  I like to believe in things.  I like to believe that there is something greater than us - it brings me comfort and always has throughout my life, in good times and bad.  I believe that things happen for a reason - not to say that I can see any reason for Eddie's dieing - but I generally believe that if one just listens to life's whispers, they generally tell you what to do and where to go and why things might not be happening the way you want. Thank God for unanswered prayers as the say.

I have never been sure however that I was a believer in hearing from those that have died.  It seems unreal.  A body dies.  That is it.  Yes, there is this soul but what is that exactly.  When I sit very quietly I hear and feel something deep within myself that I know is something greater than my body.  My brother and I used to challenge each other to sit and really ponder what are we exactly?  What is this body and this feeling within.  Perhaps through Eddie's death I am starting to learn a bit.  I feel him, I see clear signs he is around.  Here are the latest incidences.

I was at a religious school advisory board meeting last week.  Religious education was something very important to Eddie.  He volunteered at the religious school for several years (how he ended up as an art teacher helper is another question but he loved it each and every week).  Most everyone that knows us knows that our temple was a safe place.  It was a special place.  It was a home for us and we reconnected there over and over.  As always, I had my phone in sleep mode, nearby for those moments when the meeting goes astray.   One of these times, I reached to my phone, gently pressed the menu button and swiped it on.  We all have done this countless times and the screen pops up to the last place we were - the text screen, a text exchange, an email exchange, a webpage, etc.  At this particular moment, here is what popped up on my screen:


There was simply no explanation other than some divine soul intervention.  It was not as if my phone accidentally went to a former text exchange with eddie- this one is blank.  It is not an old email.  It is a brand new text started with Eddie's name in the "to" space.   He was there.

A few nights later as I lay sound asleep, I woke very startled and very alert. I truly with all my being felt his presence.  I woke myself up more and I talked to him, sure to capture the moment.  I said "ok, I know you are here.  I feel you" and with that I felt a very firm tap just behind my right shoulder and I acknowledged it.  I slapped myself silly in that moment making absolutely sure I was awake and realized it was real.  It was.

Recently, we were at a friends house who I had not been to since Eddie died and this family was one we spent a lot of time together as families.  The husband and I were standing very close to the door as I was getting ready to leave having dropped my daughter off there.  The doorbell rang.  We both walked to the door and he opened it.  There was nobody there.  No menu left behind, no solicitation, no person heading down his porch stairs, no kids pranking.  It was Eddie, just letting us know he was there.

Lastly, as my son packed his brand new baseball backpack with all of his baseball accessories, he and the babysitter heard a knock on the door.  Eddie loved baseball - it was his favorite sport.  My son and the babysitter went to the door and opened it only to find absolutely nobody there.  They both heard the knock clearly.  My son told me "mom, it was dad. He loved baseball you know."

He is here.  It gives me the best comfort knowing that he is with me in some way some how.  I hope he is happy with all that we are doing in his memory and to honor him each day.  I hope he knows how much peace his little injections into life bring to me.

Hugs to all,
 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

GRIEF GROUP

I am really appreciating the grief group I attend at a place called Our House.  It is such a nice group of people and we manage to laugh and talk and cry together quite easily.  The bond from this loss will inevitably last forever and we will each give and take that which we can and need.

At the end of each group meeting, we receive a reading that we read out loud.  I really appreciate these readings.  Here is the latest that really has stuck with me:

Some People
Some people come into our lives and quickly go
Some people move our souls to dance.
They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom.
Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon.
They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never ever the same.

Author Unknown


My soul definitely danced from the moment I met Eddie.  I am not sure it will ever dance that way again but it is forever warmed by his having been with it for those 11 years.  He imparted so much wisdom on me that sticks with me to this day.  I try so hard to listen at those moments that I would have sought it still.

Hugs to all,
Lorin




Friday, January 3, 2014

I SURVIVED THE FIRST HOLIDAYS

I suppose I always took for granted, particularly these last 10 years, the relevance of family to the holidays.  "Going to be with my family" just always was what I did, what others did.  It was sacred carved out time.  But when a key element of your family is no longer there, how does "going to be with my family" make sense?  How can I be?  He isn't here. … a key component.  He can't be made up for, his absence can't be ignored and that hole of him not being there certainly cannot be filled.  I have learned a few things that can be done around it that certainly can help ease the pain of that absence.  I share these things only with the hope or intention that I awaken someone else so they are able to help the next one that follows in my path.  Perhaps some day my children read this and get what it means to really comfort someone who is grieving.

Everyone certainly moves on with their own lives.  I don't know if I entirely agree with most people who say that to me in the sense they mean it (as if trying to explain why people don't call or check in).  People certainly continue to move forward and carry on as they should and are entitled to do.  But most people stop when they see me and offer a hug or a smile or ask how we are all doing. So many reach out and email or call to ask directly, those in town and out of town.  Most people want to acknowledge the grief.  They know.  Life isn't back to normal for us.

A wise man recently told me that some might want to just see me get back into the wheel of life that I was in before, that not being in that wheel makes them feel uncomfortable with themselves or around me.  But my life isn't going back to that normal and as far as my being a cog in that wheel, I am now a bent cog and I won't be able to go back into that wheel.  I now must find a different wheel to fit into to carry me on my journey.  I am absolutely committed to that once I am through mourning the wheel I am no longer a part of.

I think its important for people to understand this analogy - its not being healed or getting fixed or the right therapist or the right grief group.  Its about time and going through the process of grief.  This process is so different for everyone but so necessary for all.

I also have realized the power of "how are you"once you are not so fine.  Three simple words.  They show care and concern.  They show "I know your life isn't the same."  But I also think perhaps these three words need to be turned inside out at times. Perhaps consider "I am thinking of you.  I know it must really be tough during the holidays (or summer or whatever time it is) and I am thinking of you today".  It takes the onus off the person grieving so that they don't feel compelled to pretend they feel something they don't such as "I'm fine" or feel that they must get into a deep explanation of how or why they don't feel fine.  It is expressing that the person has taken the time to imagine without my having to explain what it is like.

Lastly, talking about the person who is no longer with us means the world.  It keeps his/her spirit alive within us.  It helps give us a safe place to talk about him/her and it means that you too want to remember and keep that spirit a part of us.

Again, I come back to the wisest words I have ever heard about showing up for others - it changes nothing but means everything.

I survived the first holidays.  They were rough, they were hard and I missed Eddie.  I am grateful I had all of you asking if you could be with us.

Hugs to all,
Lorin


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

THE PATH OF GOOD INTENTIONS

I don't proclaim to know what people should say to others going through grief.  I have read so many books lately, started attending a grief group and spoken with those who have travelled this road before me and after me.  They all agree that people can just say the darndest things sometimes and then there are those afraid of saying such things that say nothing.

I went to my grief group tonight.  We all laughed at the "you are so strong" and "you look so good" comments.. not to insult those that say those things.  We realize it is the best one knows to say in the moment.  But we really don't feel strong - we just see no other choice, particularly those of us with children depending on us.  We would love to be less strong how should we do that?  We certainly don't feel we look good because we mostly likely haven't been sleeping well or much, eating well or exercising much, most likely.  If we look good because some stress is off of us well, we would just as soon have that stress back and look like hell if it meant our loved one would be back here with us to "stress" over.

The best I have seen in this area however came in the reading we did at the end of our grief group tonight....

A Letter for Non-Grievers
To my dear (family, friends, employer, etc),
I have experienced a loss that is devastating to me.  It will take time, perhaps years, for me to work through the grief I am having because of this loss.

I will cry more than usual for some time. My tears are not a sign of weakness or a lack of hope or faith. They are the symbols of the depth of my loss and a sign that I am recovering.

I may become angry without there seeming to be a reason for it.  My emotions are all heightened by the stress of grief.  Please be forgiving if I seem irrational at times.

I need your understanding and your presence more than anything else.  If you don't know what to say, just touch me or give me a hug to let me know you care.  Please don't wait for me to call you.  I am often too tired to even think of reaching out for the help I need.

Don't allow me to withdraw from you.  I need you more than ever during the next year.

Pray for me only if your prayer is not an order for me to make you feel better.  My faith is not an excuse for the process of grief.

This loss is the worst thing that could happen to me.  But, I will get through it and I will live again.  I will not always feel as I do now.  I will laugh again.

Thank you for caring about me.  Your concern is a gift I will always treasure.

Sincerely,


I dont think I could possibly say it better than this letter...

Hugs to all,
Lorin

Sunday, November 17, 2013

THE PAIN AND BEAUTY OF MASSAGE

Sunday night.  Dark room.  Massage table.  Fantastic masseuse just waiting for me to get settled.  These used to be the appealing signs of many Sunday nights for Eddie and me.  Once as he lay upstairs and I was downstairs having my massage, I cried into the massage table pillow.  The pain of all that was going on was overwhelming to me as I lay alone on the massage table with only the silence to comfort me.

Months later, that same silence falls upon me tonight but I have wrapped my head around thinking about the week, the weekend, the nice ease to the weekend for a change, the beautiful day I had with the kids just hanging out with Eddie's godson, Jake, and his father Doug, one of Eddie's closest friends.  The "relaxation" channel on Pandora played a series of calm songs and then it played Pachabel's Canon, the song that I walked down the aisle to as if it were yesterday.  I remember watching Eddie's smiling face the whole time I walked that beautiful aisle.  The song struck me as it always does but this was after all a relaxation channel and that was the ultimate in relaxing songs.  I listened and tried to summon the tears but I was just calm in it, remembering the glorious day 10 years ago.

After the song the channel went quickly south to the song from Titanic and when it played one of the songs from "Aladdin", I decided it was time to change as I turned over.  I switched to "Ambient" music which essentially amounted to listening to air but I actually welcomed it.  I wanted to feel the quiet and help my body ease into the ultimate relaxation and I wanted to try to feel Eddie in some way.  I said a little prayer to myself wishing I could somehow know Eddie was there... "if only he could somehow blow some warm air on me."  Then like magic, the next song, on a channel that literally was playing air, played a very beautiful Pachabel's Canon, the only composition I heard on that station for the 30 minutes I listened to that station.  I was awe struck.  It hit me how really there he was and I cried the warmest tears and talked to him in my head ... in the cold dark silence.

Goodnight Eddie.  I miss you.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

THREE MONTHS - THE NOVOCAIN HAS WORN OFF

Last Friday, November 8th, came and went.  There was no shiva to go to, no special Shabbat, no plan even made with my children for which I felt terrible about.  I went out with friends.  When I made the plan, I was still under the influence of the novocain.  Not the typical novocain that is injected into your gums before some awful dental procedure but more the novocain fog you are in for those first few months.  I suppose that novocain fog is a blessing... it keeps me getting up in the morning and functioning and moving through life without Eddie.  But then, like the real life one, it wears off and I am left standing in the fog but with more feeling and more realization that this is really it.  I am really alone, he is really gone and my children really don't have their dad come Halloween, a trip to Disneyland (which he always attended), a basketball game, a tournament... the endless everyday dinners.  The novocain fog isn't coming back either.  It is the real new world order, the real every day new path and the real facing it each and every day and every event and holiday.

Today as I walked with Dylan back to the car after her grief group I told her how once a month the parents have a "parent group" during the kids group to talk about how our kids are doing.  I commented that some of the stories are so sad - the family that now must move to Seattle because the mom cant find work here in LA, the family who cant stay in their home without the income of the father, the mom who doesnt know how to do so many things that the husband always did... I told her how we are so lucky that we get to stay in our home, in LA with our friends, and how lucky we are to have the family that loves us so much.  I asked her if she could imagine us having to move away and she quickly said "no, because I could never do it without my friends."

She gets it.. as do Matthew and I.....even after the novocain has worn off for all of us.

Hugs to all

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

TWO MONTHS... HOW ARE YOU DOING

Tomorrow will be two months... It truly seems like yesterday.  I can replay Eddie's final 24 hours in my mind like it is a film reel on a never ending repeat rotation.  The kids are back in the swing of school with homework, sports and even the good ole playground drama.  Matthew even used the "but my daddy died" card already.  So many things to learn....

Very kindly, people ask how the kids and I are doing quite often. On the day to day basis, we are "fine" which I tell them.  It is true - I am not the type to lie in bed and not be able to function.  Plus, I have two children lwaking me every morning exclaiming that it is absolutely time to get up, time to get their breakfast made and bouncing with energy.  They are not the type to lie in bed wallowing in their sorrow either.  They know they have friends waiting for them and schoolwork to get done or a game to be played.  They know inherently life must go on.

There are those times that the feelings of sorrow come rushing in.  The Jewish holidays, always a favorite of Eddie's was hard, pure and simple.  There were lots of tears shed.  This past weekend was the rededication of our new sanctuary, a place I so feel Eddie wanting to be even in death.  It is hard to be there without him.  I am "fine" but I am sad too.  I feel the sadness profoundly at certain times.

So, I am never quite sure how to answer people.  I feel guilty saying "fine."  I almost feel an expectation, maybe just from myself, to be wallowing in sadness, to reply "not ok".  There is a part of me that honestly is not sure how I feel and hesitate to respond at all to the question as I know today I might be "fine" but tomorrow the wave might hit and I wont be fine at all.  I certainly don't have experience in this arena to know what to expect from time.  Do I therefore lose credibility in my wave of sadness at that time if I say I am fine one - two months out?  I mourned for 7 1/2 years off and on and certainly in the last 8 months I slowly felt Eddie's leaving me in many profound ways.  As Rabbi Leder so eloquently replied to me when I wrote him of that feeling of Eddie's slipping away from me:

"Dying weans us, it prepares us, it enables us to grow strong enough and independent enough to go on after the person we have relied on is physically gone.  It prepares our heart for release because we come to realize that dying is not the worst thing that can happen to a person who is so ill, but the best thing, the most peaceful thing, the most blessed thing, the most natural thing...that if we truly love someone then we want him to be at peace even more than we want him to by physically part of our lives.  That is real love.  This is all preparation and all a part of a very long journey that can only be taken one step at a time."  

I think about this often.  I feel Eddie did take the time to prepare me and let me adjust in the most kind way he could.  He knew we would be ok - he told me that in front of Rabbi Leder in February.  I feel extreme sadness when I think of Eddie and realize he is not here and wont be here for the most precious of moments for the kids, moments he would have treasured as their father.  So I guess that what I have been saying is the truth that I should feel good about - that we ARE "fine" which is certainly not "great" but that we have moments where we think of him and miss him terribly.  But, we can also have moments of fun and laughter and carrying on.  I suppose that is just who we are..... and Eddie would be really fine with that.

Hugs to all