It’s Thursday. You know what that means. Please check out my weekly blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies who will dazzle you with insight on various topics. After reading my post, check out their blogs as well, listed under my Blogroll section. Just click on:
Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.
Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.
Mom Of Many (Susanna): One Mom’s perspective on life, raising kids, knitting and other unrelated topics.
For this week’s topic, Tracey chose: We’re going freestyle. Everyone gets to choose what they want to write about.
I tried to write a post today that would be upbeat, and happy. However, I feel I always do my best when I can focus on what I’m feeling, or thinking about at any given moment. Lately, I’ve been dwelling a lot on a friend of mine, who was diagnosed with stage IV cancer just two short months ago. I’ve been passing through a myriad of emotions, like the initial shock I felt when she told me, and the anger that coursed through me after I processed the information and realized the severity of the whole situation. The eternal hope that still glimmers inside my soul, and the overall sadness that taints it a bit.
A mutual friend of ours is a modern day Florence Nightingale. She was traveling through recently, and visited our ailing friend, quickly stepping up to the plate and aiding her in every way possible, even helping her to dress. I heard about the many ways she tended to our friend, and I listened with admiration, respect and a bit of jealousy, wishing I could let my guard down and go above and beyond in that manner.
See, there is an art to grieving, in a sense. It’s a delicate process that comes from deep within you. Each person will handle grieving in different ways, and at times it will surprise you when you discover the way you grieve.
I’ve always felt like I’m a pretty tough cookie, yet right now, I don’t feel so tough. It’s not so much the way my friend looks right now. I’m not afraid to see her sick, or without hair. Losing weight. She still looks beautiful and dignified to me, and she always will. What frightens me is the possibility of losing her. I had blogged a while back that I’m a collector of people, and it’s 100% true. I have an incredibly hard time letting people go once they’ve weaved their way into my life, and in this case, I have no control over the situation. No matter what I do, or how much I pray, God’s will be done. It’s a hard reality to face. My response to that is to hide away. To attempt to bury my feelings deep inside.
This isn’t the first time. I am shocked at the realization of how petrified I become when it comes to loss. When my aunt died in 2003, I claimed I couldn’t make the funeral because I couldn’t afford a plane ticket, but it’s not entirely true. You can make anything happen, if you really try, and I didn’t because I just couldn’t see her without life. It completely devastated me. My grandpa passed away in 2008, and he and I had virtually ended our relationship a decade before that over something completely stupid and juvenile. I figured no one would want me at his funeral, that it would be best if I didn’t show up, but I remember feeling some relief at that, and I said my goodbyes to him in my own way, but from afar.
The truth is, I am a strong person, but when it comes to overwhelming feelings and emotions, I’m a big wimp.
When I spoke with my Florence Nightingale friend last night, and I revealed these feelings to her, these fears, she told me that everyone has their own way of grieving. Some choose to get busy and get to work, doing as much as possible. Others hide away. Still others fall somewhere in the middle of the two extremes, helping out when needed, offering to lend a hand, but burying the grief inside as much as possible.
Just because our friend is still with us, doesn’t mean we don’t grieve. This situation is sad, and in a phrase, fucked up. It’s not something any of us would have ever seen coming, and it’s so hard.
I’ve seen my ailing friend a handful of times, and I know I could see her more. It breaks my heart to pieces when I see her, and this isn’t meant to be an excuse. It’s just the way I feel. When I am with her, I force myself to open up to her and to let her see me 100%, and to be the friend she needs me to be. The last time I saw her, I broke down in front of her. Normally, I have a pretty good grip on my emotions and don’t cry in front of people, but I just couldn’t help it. I was letting it all hit me, instead of trying to deflect it. She and I both were never huge touchy-feely type people with each other, yet both of us have let that go, giving lots of hugs and words of love to each other. When I’m not with her, I am praying for her. I am thinking about her. I am grieving.
I am learning so much about her, and about myself right now. I’m seeing a different side to her that I’d never recognized before, and I am grateful for it. I hope that even though I don’t see her every day, that she feels my love for her and knows how much she means to me.