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Being Gentle with Myself

I wrote recently about loving others, and saying so. Right now I’m preparing for the 5th funeral/memorial service in about 8 weeks. One service I did not attend… but loss is heavy on my mind right now.

I believe that every time you have a loss, you experience bits of previous losses. My most defining moment as a human, was the loss of my father. He was 40, I was 14. He loved me deeply. I say “I love you” a lot, because of that very sudden loss. (Photos: Daddy’s HS graduation photo, me in 3rd or 4th grade. Same eyes, same ears, although my eyes are brown like Mom’s.)

What I’ve Learned

I wish I did not know much about grief and mourning. What I have learned, is that grief is the set of feelings and memories we have inside us when we experience a loss. Mourning is the sharing of those feelings, memories, and the like… ideally with safe people who support you during the hard time. Without mourning, or the sharing with others, it’s easy for grief to stay a very long time.

When Daddy died, I didn’t sleep until the day of the funeral. I cried at the funeral. Then I felt I needed to get on with life and take care of my little brother, who had not even reached puberty yet.

Four years later, I cried for 4 months, in college. Nobody understood why I was so flipped out so long after the loss. My brother was in college, too, at that point, and I could finally let go. Grief does not go away when we ignore it.

Gentleness to Myself

Sunday I gave myself a “pajamas day” and it was good. I tend to feel guilty when I don’t work if I’m at home, but I did reasonably well with it.

Today I got out my fabric paints and fingernail polish, and decorated a camera-battery charger and a new tuner I got for my bass. A little color was a good idea on yet another rainy day.

(Thanks to blogger Ken Roberts who is @KenAndPaper on Twitter, who blogged today to just make stuff and not worry about how it works out! I needed a push. I find that I “doodle” best with paint rather than a pen or pencil. So be it.)

The charger was far too “vanilla,” just light gray and quite serious. The tuner? It’s a beautiful, intense blue. However, its name is “SNARK.” If you know me, that doesn’t work. I’m in the “snarky is clever but also mean” camp, and I work hard toward kindness in my life. In high school, we were all snarky to protect our egos. I’m done with that now.

So now the tuner’s name is: SPARK. Yeah. Much better.

12 Responses to “Being Gentle with Myself”

  1. Diana Says:

    The shawls arrived yesterday. I have had the small blue Colorama on most of every day. It is PERFECT for keeping my heart warm :-} 

  2. Deborah Robson Says:

    Nice sparky transitions on those utilitarian items, which will nudge you with a bit of cheer every time you use them! Your dad had something to do with your smile, too. Hugs to you.

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  4. Susan Says:

    I’m sorry for your losses.  Deaths always seem to come in waves like that for some reason.

    It’s true that grief stays inside for a long time.  My dad died when I was 12.  I didn’t allow myself to grieve because I thought that I needed to be strong for my mom.  It wasn’t until Dan’s dad died in 1995 that all that grief came out.  I didn’t understand the breakdown at the time.  When my mom was in Palliative Care, the social worker told us that death brings on grief that may have been stifled for a long time.  We need to grieve the first loss before being able to properly grieve the next.

  5. Lisa Wiley Parker Says:

    Sending a hug, Lynn. You are such a great soul. I’m so glad to have met you. I try to let people know how much they mean to me with great regularity. I find some squirm and wiggle in discomfort. People are out of practice accepting words that prove they mean something to someone.

  6. kathy b Says:

     Very interesting thoughts on grief.  Boy it does come back and bite you if you try to avoid it at the time….I too am familiar with delayed grief and its intensity.
    LOVE your charger…….
    be extra nice to yourself

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  8. Anonymous Says:

    I appreciate your kind (and understanding) input. Finally this week we have no funeral to attend. Tuesday is Brian’s birthday, so maybe we will go on an adventure. Celebrate the good stuff!


  9. Anonymous Says:

    Lisa, it was so good to actually hug you Friday. I appreciate your friendship very much.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I am glad that you got a social worker who made it easier to understand it all. I’m wishing I was not this familiar with the subject.

    Sharing makes it lessen, so that is what I’m doing. Thanks for being part of my support system. Much appreciated.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    The tuner has already improved my life!

    Now that you say it, I see the mouth wrinkles we shared. Still, when I catch a glimpse of my smile sideways in a mirror, I more often see Mom.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Oh, good. I love the light texture of that one. Like air/ whipped cream/ cork perhaps.

    I have been wearing the Goddess Alpaca Colorama a LOT. Glad we traded.