Thursday, March 18, 2010


Grief. It's a powerful, loaded word that conveys deep meaning. Often linked with guilt, or regret, it's a sense of loss that leaves an aching chasm where there once was love.

Grief can be something anticipated, knowing the end of a situation, a relationship, or a life draws nigh. Or it can be unexpected, a sudden twist of fate that leaves us reeling.

I've just learned that my mother (who is 69) is having an ever-accelerating process of physical breakdown.  She needs surgery to replace her hip, and knee replacement is also recommended.  Additionally, she has several ruptured discs in her back, and scoliosis to complicate matters further.

She's also learned that she's had a chronic Vitamin D deficiency, which has led to a rather alarming case of osteoporosis.  Her bone density is terrifyingly low, and this is especially scary because she is a big lady, and has been for four decades or so.  Mom used to be a hard-core binge drinker, she smokes two packs of cigarettes a day, and she has hypertension.

My heart goes out to my mother. I ache for the pain and uncertainty she's facing.  She can't even get scheduled for the hip replacement until some kind of normal heart rhythm is established; meds haven't helped. Next week she goes in to see about having a pacemaker or a stent put in by the cardiologist.

Frankly, I'm grieving. There are answers I would like from my mother, and it's increasingly looking as if I may never get them.  Even when she's feeling better, Mom likes to bob and weave, evading the really tough questions.  I've forgiven her, but still would like to understand her perspective, and also verify some timeline information.  As I write my Magnum Opus, these kinds of details become very important - I want to get it right.

No matter how this all shakes out, I need to recognize that I am legitimately grieving - grieving for the childhood I never got to have, grieving for the nurturing that was never given when I needed it, grieving for the pain intentionally inflicted but not deserved in the least.  And now I prepare to grieve for my mother. My sense is that she may not be around for too much longer. Frankly, with as much pain as she's in, I can't begrudge her potential exit. She's been very tough, under trying circumstances.

I'm reminded once again of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's book, On Death and Dying, and am realizing once again that it has value in any kind of grief work. It doesn't have to be a physical death to generate real grief. It can be an end to a way a of life, and end to a relationship, and so many other things.  It's time I reviewed this powerful book. Perhaps for you, as well?

In my travels (physical as well as philosophical), I've encountered the powerful truth that we cannot change any other person, or any other situation.  If we are mindful and focused, we can sometimes change how we respond to a situation or a person, and thus change how we experience it or them.

I am hopeful that my mother's time here on this physical plane lasts a bit longer - ideally, long enough for me to raise the funds to get to Texas and back, plus hotel and all that.  I ache at the thought of saying goodbye either by telephone, or (worse) to a Texas prairie where mom's ashes have been scattered.

No matter what else happens, I've made sure my mother knows that I love her - despite it all.  I don't condone what happened; I was simply willing to lay down the burden of the caustic rage that I had once carried in my heart.

If you have a spare moment, send a good thought to Jan in Houston.  I have solid faith that "General Delivery" via the collective consciousness will work just fine.

Thank you, one and all.  May your day be blessed with peace and gentle laughter.

1 comment:

  1. there seems to be no answer only kindness and it is never enough, so compassion and non-resistance. i try to give you an answer-I have none. wishing you much wisdom and peace.


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