- Seriously, what are you supposed to do when a burglar is trying to break into your house? Especially when you are alone with kids? I am not just asking idly… …
- I finally received the necklace I custom-made to wear in memory of Ferdinand. I’m going to find time to take pictures and write about it.
- I will be away for about 10 days to our cabin, where there is no TV, telephone or dishwasher. Hopefully I make it back alive.
- I got a translation assignment but the size of it was many times bigger than when we discussed about it a month ago. I will still do it, but I hate that the next weeks will be crowded with work, when I wanna have time to do other things, and think about Ferdinand.
- I have been wondering what it will be like to go cold turkey internet-free. Anyone been-there-done-that?
Archive for June, 2009
I was reading this article by Sylvia Boorstein in the Shambhala Sun the other day, talking about how striking up a conversation with a stranger and being truly interested in what they say can lead to unexpected insights. So she spoke with a woman on a flight from San Francisco from new York, and that woman was claustrophobic and was on her way to attend the funeral of her brother-in-law. (She said, “I’m not embarrassed. Everyone has something. I have claustrophobia.”) She also revealed that her eldest brother was killed in the war in the Pacific when he was 17, and that it was terrible for both her parents and that she felt they both never got over it. When her siblings grew up they started a foundation that puts kids in some of the small Solomon Islands to school.
Boorstein said that encounter reminded her of her mother’s advice to her when she left for college: Be interested in other people…. pay attention. Don’t pretend. Be really interested.
That advice really was from a mother who wanted her daughter to be loved by others. I think it’s good advice on how to be a human being. It could also serve as good advice on how to be a friend to a bereaved.
You see, many people are afraid to be really interested after a child has died. They don’t want to go near it. Don’t want that reminder of their mortality and the mortality of their own children. Don’t want to hear about the sadness, the dealing with grief, the darkness of it all. Don’t want to listen for the umpteenth time the horror and the craziness. They are not sure what to say, and are afraid of appearing like an idiot. Grief is like one of those dark, narrow tunnels dirty and stinking, appearing along life’s path and no one wants to wander down one of those, hoping to postpone that experience for as long as possible. I guess I don’t blame them.
It’s not easy to be really interested in the bereaved. It’s not a fun hing to do and presents no rewards. So I say thank you to all those who pay attention, ask questions, sit around (but do not expect to be entertained) and be really interested and do not expect a medal, or dessert for not leaving the room at the very first possibility.
The thing is, being really interested in a bereaved is not much different in being really interested in any other person. That’s what I think. Like that woman on the plane said- everyone has something. We all require someone to be patient with us and listen. We all could use help and compassion from time to time. We are all dealing with life, with living, even if we have had to deal with death. Everyone runs into crap at some point and could use some encouragement, empathy and just genuine interest in our plights. If you are truly interested in being a friend, it is not hard to be really interested in what your friend has to say.
For Boorstein, her conversations with strangers and being really interested in what they have to say have lead to unexpected insights. I am not sure what insights the bereaved have to offer to the really interested. At least I know I do not have much to offer except the struggles and the reality of what it is like to have to experience this.
But reading Boorstein’s article reminds me to be really interested, to be genuinely interested, to be humble and truly interested, because there is still so much to learn.
sweet and beautiful Angie brought it to my attention that I did not give the background to what I was yabbering about in my previous post about the rocks. Rock what to me?? Duh. This post explains it (I hope). Perhaps, an artistic (or otherwise) outlet for an expression of grief, remembering, letting go, or just acknowledging whatever you are feeling… …
Here are some rocks I have received so far, not all are painted. (Thank you!!) There’s still time if you wanna rock it to me. I am planning to bring the rocks to the memorial garden at the hospital on Ferdinand’s anniversary. I think that is what I am going to do for his anniversary, and perhaps the cranes too.
Some of you have asked about color-fastness. Not to worry as someone told me about this spray that I can spray over the rocks and that shall make the colors stay. To be honest, I do not worry too much about that because nothing is permanent to me anymore.
I hope D will not mind me showing these and sharing the story. I did not ask permission first, but truly I do not think she will mind.
I have written about D way back, not mentioning her name. That was when we were on the same babylost forums and I learned that she has lost her dear baby Norah at full term, after a 12-week miscarriage. I did not even know her well then, but I just was drawn to her. My post way back was about not understanding how this could happen, a lot of anger over not understanding and accepting…
Now, D and I walk the same path together. She had her baby daughter M last year after Thanksgiving. I was just so relieved and overjoyed that her baby arrived safely. And then she waited with me as we anticipated Lyra’s arrival (or not). Though we’ve never met, I feel we’ve met. I think of her lots and often, and live vicariously through her travels that she does as she goes on geological investigative trips.
Today I received these rocks in the mail. With it is a letter from D:
the Yamuna River is one of the four holy rivers of India because they form the head waters of the Ganges. About a week before I was to work on the Yamuna, Ferdinand came to my mind and he stayed there. I thought about him often and finally figured out what I thought he wanted me to do. While working on the Yamuna, as close to the source as I got, I collected these rocks from the river for you. I asked Ferdinand to guide me in choosing the rocks. Then, I asked the holy river Yamuna if I could take these rocks. I meditated over the purpose of collecting the rocks. Obviously I felt guided and drawn toward doing this by Ferdinand. I felt comfortable taking them from the river because I asked the river.
Please accept these rocks as my gift to you.
D, and Norah close by.
I cried so hard, and several times after reading the letter and touching the rocks. Ferdinand had been on my mind and in my heart so much the last weeks, esp after Val’s birthday. It’s a gnawing presence, a very funny feeling of missing while I hold Lyra in my arms. I missed him terribly and needed something more tangible to feel his presence. I think that’s what those rocks are for. I am just so grateful that D was so open to what she felt and allowed what transpired to happened, and for bringing those rocks all the way back and mailing them to me. Thank you, D. You have no idea what this means to me, what good cries this allowed me to give flow to the emotions I have been feeling the past weeks.
The girls like to play this “game” on this free online early reading program. They can make characters that are like them. Tonight Val told me she made a character called Ferdinand. “I don’t know what pet he will like but I made him a kangroo that can fly. His bed is a racer car with stars on the bedsheet and he puts a teddy bear under his pillow.”