Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Starts and Re-Starts


Loved this! I haven't seen anyone carrying anything on their head since I was in India. Well done, I thought when I saw her. Just then the pack of paper towels fell, which is why she's reaching up, to catch it.

Life as a human being is so complicated! Well, at least it is for me. I could take this post in so many directions ... but today what I'm thinking about is that there is no such thing as a hard re-start for the heart.

Life itself is full of hard re-starts. People die, move away, change jobs, end relationships. Jake died one year ago today. Even though he was ready to go, it was still inconceivable to me that he could be here one minute, then completely gone the next, never to return.

I had a client who suffered terribly from cancer for four years. I was at her house for a quick visit, surrounded by her family and dear ones, when she died. As anyone who has witnessed this kind of death can tell you, it is such a relief when the person suffering passes away. And yet, the event is emotionally inconceivable.

About twenty minutes before she died, my client turned to face me and said, "They all know you, Reya." I thought it was an interesting comment. I wondered what she was tuning in to. I thought to myself, I'll ask her about that in a little while. No one knew she was about to die. We knew it was close, but not that close! I was talking quietly with her sister a few minutes later when the room cooled suddenly, and got very quiet. I'll never know what she was trying to tell me. Even now, years later, I feel confused by that experience.

After bad breakups and following the deaths of (for instance) my parents and sister, also when I left San Francisco, my strategy for dealing with these hard re-starts was to take a big ole psychic broadsword and slice through my heart connections all at once. SWACK. I figured it would really hurt to yank the plug, as it were, but in my mind, at least, a sudden and complete break seemed like it would be easier than surrendering to long-term grieving.

Of course all attempts to break free by brutal whacking only made me feel worse. What was I thinking? Heart connections do not consist of just one big, solid cord, nope. A heart connection is all about millions and millions of little threads. Like fiber optics, the threads of love are strong but very fine. They can't be cut. At least mine can't.

Last year when Jake died, I gave myself permission to get deep into the grief. I was a serious wreck for several months, then a less serious wreck for awhile. Today, a year after his passing, I'm OK. I'm done with it. Not that I'll ever forget my dear, beautiful, psychotic on occasion, fearful, sweet, powerful Vietnam vet of a dog, oh no. But my heart has healed from that terrible day. It really has! All I had to do was dive deep into my feelings, and trust that my heart knew what it was doing. And so it does! Wow.

My human heart is not capable of hard re-starts, but it is so resilient, given time and compassion - and acceptance. I am in awe.

Shalom.



From the window of the Chesapeake Room on 8th Street SE.

25 comments:

ellen abbott said...

The spirits had gathered to take your friend across. and apparently, they all know you.

I've had deaths in my life...my grandmother, my aunt, my parents, others in my life. Our dog. some I grieved for, others not. curiously my parents...not. Not really. Not that gut wrenching grieving. As I have gotten older, I seem to grieve less for those who pass. I wonder why that is. I sometimes think it's because I have a firm belief/knowledge of what comes after. sometimes I wonder if I just don't have the capacity for it.

Meri said...

And so it is. Ellen's right, of course. But you already knew that. I am now grieving the loss of my 14-year old dancing dog, my Bichon Frise named Latte. I keep expecting here to greet me at the door or to jump up onto the bed from the ottoman I put next to it as she aged and became less agile. Just as a strange coincidence, she died on the fourth anniversary of the day my divorce came through, another death event.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Starts and re-starts: how many have I had? Death of family, friends, dear animals; divorce twice; big moves (transcontinental, trans-oceanic, changing cities) all result in re-starts. Even though I've tried to reinvent myself it seems that wherever I go, there I am, same ole me with some learning curves.

Steve said...

I like your image of the heart connections as threads and fibers rather than a single cord. Your client's final words to you are amazing. What a story!

Mrsupole said...

I'm not sure if I should congratulate you for surviving this year, but I will. You made it through and each year will get easier, although I am surprised that you have not yet met your new pet. When you see it you will know it. And that will be the new start of a new era. For some reason I like the idea of a rabbit, but I cannot get one until the cats pass away, which I hope is not for a long time just yet.

Maybe your friend meant to say that they all know of you. I am not sure how they could all know you, unless she meant that they all trust you. And that would be a good thing.

I hope you have a great start to a new day.

God bless.

Tom said...

...just like your photo composition today, people come and people go...what would life be like, if everything stayed the same?

Everton Terrace said...

Hard day I imagine, I'm sorry. I haven't allowed myself to get down in the grief yet. Not ready.
Hope the day passes quickly for you. Loving thoughts.

Reya Mellicker said...

Today is a good day, it really is. A calm day. I saw the Sufi acupuncturist, so that always helps. Honestly, I'm all done with grieving for Jake.

Ellen I love the way you think, how you reflect. And I guess you're right - the dead really DO know me!

Meri what a day! Yikes. So sorry about your dog! You, too, Everton.

Cheryl, yes the seed of me is always there, no matter how many re-starts I experience.

Steve and Tom - <3

blonderthanyou said...

"Heart connections do not consist of just one big, solid cord, nope. A heart connection is all about millions and millions of little threads." i just loooove this xoxo

willow said...

I read "some wounds must bleed for awhile" on a blog recently and wrote it down in my notebook. Did you say it? Well, I can't remember where I read it, but it's so true.

Love the pic. At first I thought it was toilet paper!

glnroz said...

such a treat to follow your wording and thoughts..not even counting all the great pic shots... thnx,, glenn

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Glenn.

Willow that came from my spirit guides. They are so smart.

Sandra Leigh said...

Reya, your post was just what I needed to read today. Thank you.

Reya Mellicker said...

Great to "see" you Sandra. Fabulous post on your blog today. You are mighty and you will triumph!

Pam said...

I really enjoyed your post Reya. Resilience is such an important emotion and concept to master, particularly for young people in the early days of grappling with it, needing all the help they can get. I think your words that resilience is helped by time, compassion and acceptance are wise and true for any age group.I loved your sequence from the window of the Chesapeake room.Thanks for your recent visit and comment.

faerose_ said...

but the heart is capable of soft gentle restarts

Much love you to you :)

M xx

Reya Mellicker said...

Yep, Magda. It is.

Shalom.

Washington Cube said...

Reporting from the front, as ever, Reya. Love the "from the window" pictures. As for people carrying things on their heads--I remember coming home hot, tired, worn from work one night..stuck in hellish traffic and saw a woman carrying her grocery bag on her head. This on top of stores advertising goat meat and banana leaves on sale. I did not/do not embrace the world view. Sorry. My first thought was "I definitely don't want to be living here anymore." Grocery chains with aisle markets in other languages. Stores that hit you in the face with the smell of blood and death...they call that the butcher section. No thanks. And for those of you out there tsking at my so called closed mindedness to this? When your neighborhood has issues with chicken sacrifice, maybe you'll understand a little more.

As for grief, death any of that, I've never tried to cut and disconnect from it. Not sure if one method is better than the other, since I never pursued anything else. I've gone back to the topic again and again. I am finding I am having serious issues about hunks of my life lost in standing by those people. My friends insist I did the right thing. I still am not sure..used to be...not any more.

Reya Mellicker said...

Cube you should be sitting at that table at the Chesapeake with me. C'mon. Martinis?

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Nancy said...

Very soulful, Reya. Yes, it takes time to heal after a loss. We can't hurry it, and the only way to get over it is through it. My thoughts are with you today.

Pauline said...

The stages of grief seem to be the same no matter who or what we're mourning. Glad you have gotten through your share - I like the image of heart connections as lots of little fiber optics :)

Merle Sneed said...

Wow, I've never been present when someone actually died. I was out of the room when Mrs. Sneed's mom died and asleep in the next room when my dad did so. there is that feeling of relief and gratitude that the suffering has past.

Spiny Marshmallow said...

I am also in awe - those are very powerful images (of the cords and the fiber optics) I love your thoughts on the heart - you are so right. And wow - your clients final words are amazing - I am sure you are connected to lots of us

Barbara Martin said...

Each year will get a little easier, Reya. As Ellen Abbott said the spirits were there, and so were the angels to accompany your client's soul up.