photo by digipam
Singlewritermom had a craptastic two weeks being sick with the flu, coupled with her friend’s daughter dying of breast cancer on Valentine’s Day.
This flu kept me flat on my back in bed for 3 solid days, wishing I could remove my eyeballs and soak them in straight vodka for the sheer numbing effect. This flu made me wish I didn’t have a dog to walk or a kid to feed, but consequently caused me to long for a husband to walk my dog and feed my kid so I may have to rethink my whole stance on the “husband” subject. This flu allowed me to discover 30 Rock on Netflix (better late than never) and dream of finding the male version of Tina Fey to marry.
As for death…well, what can I say? My friend’s twenty-eight year old daughter is in a better place? At least she’s no longer in pain? Meh. Empty words. I found this poem about grief buried away among papers. I don’t know the author—only that it was written by a writing student.
While grieving, never refuse a piece of birthday or wedding cake.
Remove your socks.
Look at the sky at night and think of the stars as your life and the Milky Way as death.
Look at the paw of a dog or a cat, the hoof of a horse, and listen to the stories they tell you;
Run fast without watching for thorns. Live a short while. Scratch, kick, bite, or yelp loudly at pain and then release it enough so that you can taste food, smell sea water, and allow sand to settle deep in your hair.
Allow some skin to get tough enough to endure all weather and unevenness of ground, and remain sensitive enough to feel the probing of a small bug on your belly.
Take time to chew and savor a small kernel of grain even if you weigh a thousand pounds.
To be whole again, you must give yourself up to death, you must allow the piece of you to follow what was lost and then return to reclaim what is left of you, like a heavily pruned plant that is about to flourish.
And you must not mistake “whole” for being “the same.”
You must allow that suffering exists, which is the only balm for suffering, the only thing that stops it.
Again and again, you will have to open your heart wide enough so that you can love what remains of your garden, even while skinny deer browse the most tender shoots of your rarest flowers.
To grieve fully, which is to say, in order to heal, you must learn not to be selfish, for grieving is giving.
I will remember the words, “grieving is giving” when I talk to my friend’s five year old grandson about his mother and how much she loved him. I will remember to ask my friend how he is long after his daughter’s memorial service. I will remember that breast cancer is a disease that takes many women far too young. I will try to remember that death is a part of life.