Tag Archives: 5 stages of grief

your sadness is my sadness, your joy is my joy

Day 204

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

Who am I to speak of grief

when there are those who’ve

had to place the soft bodies of small children in

the cold, bare ground?

Who am I to talk of sadness when

there are those whose

homes, bodies, lives have been torn apart by war?

Whole families, and neighborhoods,

communities

bombed, murdered and burned.

Who am I to speak of mourning

when there are those who’ve lived as the last of their kind?

Hollow and aching,

lonesome for

a world that no longer exists,

Ishi, Martha, the buffalo,

the rhinos.

Who am I to grieve for what we’ve lost,

and what we’re losing,

for the suffering

wrapped around us like a dark, black cocoon?

Many carry grief much heavier than mine.

But then, isn’t grief something

we were meant to share?

A connection between open hearts allowing us

to carry the weight together?

I was afraid that letting the sadness in would

force me to fence off my heart,

seal it behind walls made of mortar and brick just to make it through the day.

But the opposite is true.

Each time we allow ourselves to feel the sadness

of the sweet souls around us

it makes us softer,

filled with empathy and caring

so the edges blur until we can no longer tell where we stop

and the others begin.

And that deep connection

brings the clearest joy

like the crystal notes of the

thrush, brushing the blue sky

in the highest tree.

Let us not shy away from each others’ sorrows.

Instead,

let us carry them gently

in softly cupped hands

and hold them

in the strong arms of tight hugs

and warm embraces.

Your sadness is my sadness.

Your joy is my joy.

Please share with me

so that we might

walk this road

together.

Thank you for listening,

Love,

Natasha

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It is a gift, this grief

Day 143

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

Grief.

Like a snake, twisted around my insides,

organs and bones,

ovaries,

and heart.

I was hoping that paying attention,

and letting it in,

would end it somehow,

set me free from an ancient sadness that I carry like a weight.

I was hoping that if I stopped avoiding it,

fed it, and gave it what it needs,

it would curl up

small and sweet,

or lay down and die,

happy.

But it’s not.

This grief stays,

hungry and poised,

growing all the time,

seething.

I heard they want to mine the moon. That the pacific ocean is radioactive and that California is being swallowed up by drought. That Bison who leave Yellowstone are shot on sight.

Sometimes when I nurse my perfect, small son,

I’m afraid my grief is flowing right into him,

along with my breast milk.

A deep sadness,

borne of many mistakes,

millennia of madness.

My heart is broken in a thousand different ways.

But once we found a cat bone.

1 bone, from the leg of a feral cat,

amidst the skeleton strewn around by

scavengers.

Broken once,

badly,

set in  an awkward angle,

with a thick sheath of bone around the break,

a ring of mending,

to hold it all together.

Healed.

A bone made stronger by a break.

And I think my heart too,

must be this way.

made stronger by each break,

each loss,

each extinction.

Every sorrow,

every slicing sadness,

requiring reinforcement.

Tissue and cells,

compassion, empathy and love

that weren’t there before.

With each break,

my heart grows stronger,

beats harder.

Criss-crossed with scars,

reminders of all those who’ve left their mark.

And maybe that’s what mourning does.

Tears you down,

so you can build back up again,

strong enough to go on,

fighting for those you have lost.

It is a gift,

this grief.

Given

so that I might lay next to my small son,

and my husband,

so much the same in sleep, soft,

And be happy.

Thank you for listening,

Love,

Natasha

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

Afterwards, there will be action.

Day 28

photo by Michelle J.

photo by Michelle J.

We walked around one of my favorite places on the planet today.

Just a small spot, in a small park, but it means the world to me.

I’ve spent many, many hours there over the years, hearing the songs of the birds, observing the patterns of the deer, and learning to recognize tree bark by touch.

It’s where I feel most like myself.

Wild, free,

animal me.

We took Revel there for the first time today, and I swear,

oh I swear,

the Sycamores leaned in just a little closer to get a look at my boy,

and I could feel them smiling

to see an old friend and her new family.

Because that’s the way it’s always been.

The mamas and the papas sharing this beautiful world with the little ones.

photo by Michelle J.

photo by Michelle J.

And the trees still expect it,

Expect to go on enjoying these relationships with their kin.

Only,

it doesn’t happen so much anymore.

People are just too busy. Too mean. Too sad. Too lonely. Too dead inside

To uphold the old relationships that used to mean so much.

And I mourn for that. Oh God, how I grieve.

I’m so sorry we’ve forgotten how we’re supposed to take care of the land, and be kind to one another, and how we’ve forgotten how spectacularly beautiful this world is.

I’m so sorry we’ve broken up the bedrock with chemicals to extract fossil fuels, and we’ve warmed up the planet so it’ s too hot for the fish, and we’ve poisoned the bees and the birds, and we’ve destroyed the Gorillas’ habitat.

I’m so sorry we’ve killed the indigenous people, and enslaved children, and abused women, and murdered each other.

We forgot how it was supposed to go. We forgot to take care of everyone. We forgot that everything is alive. We forgot.

We forgot. We forgot. We forgot.

And oh, God, I grieve.

And I need to let myself feel this marrow-deep sadness.

And I need to not have people tell me it’s all ok.

And I need to not have people try to cheer me up.

It’s not OK.

It’s not OK that we forgot.

But I think the first step to remembering,

is admitting that we all feel the loss.

That we’re not all crazy, and anxious, and depressed because of chemical imbalances,

but because we are all feeling the pain

of all the things we have forgotten.

We have to admit something is wrong before we can make it right.

And we’re all bouncing around between the five stages of mourning.

1. Denial and Isolation

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

But there’s no end to this grief. Time cannot heal, because the losses just keep coming. Poisoned water. Poisoned air. Poisoned soil. Poisoned food. So we’re stuck in kind of a grief purgatory. Because we just can’t accept that all this loss is OK.

But then I was talking to Wil about this, and he said,

“well, what if we change the last one, acceptance, to something else? Maybe acceptance doesn’t really work for earth grief, because we can never really accept what is happening on this planet right now, because it’s NOT OK.

What if we turn acceptance into ACTION instead?”

So then the stages of grief would read:

1. Denial and Isolation

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Action

Ah. Ah-ha!

Suddenly, we’re not bouncing around in this grief with no end in sight. There’s movement, there’s a progression of emotion. Something to work towards.

ACTION.

We don’t have to accept.

We can change the stages.

Let yourself grieve, let yourself mourn.

Because afterwards,

there will be

Action.

Thank you for listening,

Love,

Natasha

The guest post tonight comes from someone very close to my heart. A young woman whose tenacity, bravery, and zest for life is an inspiration for us all. Thank you Amanda R. for your heartbreaking words. Thank you so much for speaking your truth. Perhaps it will pave the way for others to share theirs.

08/11/2013
“my mother called me today
22 years ago she gave me the gift of conscious experience
today
she tells me my grandfather reminded her
that it was my birthday
and hands the phone off to her boyfriend jerry
to sing me a slurred birthday symphony
where he changes the 2nd chorus to say
he wished he could meet me
i laugh uncomfortably
as my mother takes the phone again
to express to me painfully and distantly
that she loves and misses me
her voice echoes in chambers of my head
bouncing off memory banks
delicate with reminiscence
of the bouncy spirited woman
with the heart of a warrior
i knew when i was young
too young to know how to be strong on my own
in the face of adversity
she was the flame of resilience
of persistence and courage
in the shadow of misfortune
i thought
these days
sometimes i think
maybe i was wrong
but mostly i still believe
i have this subtle underlying feeling
always nagging to remind me
that there was a time
that her love was stronger than her ailments
and her heart beat was more powerful
than all the strikes thrown by any offense
i remember
the feeling
remember recognizing the profound bravery
finding its way to the surface
in the everyday quarrels
of domestic dysfunction
i remember her smiling
a smile warm and genuine
even though she had been in pain
remember wondering
how she had done it
how she could find light
through everything
i realize i can hear her
still on the line
going on about child support, jerry,
and other buzzed reports of drifting thoughts
i pull myself from the depths of
nostalgia
and try and make coherent conversation
sometimes succeeding and having
somewhat of a satisfying relation
but most times listening as blips of muddled thoughts
are recklessly cast my way
i find myself
more often than not
coming up with an excuse
to get off the phone
and the line
which stretches wide over years and miles
and connects me to her
falls out of service
and into a poor connection
somewhere along the way
i hang up
and sigh
as i channel the feelings
of vitality, endurance, and courage
the mother i once knew
established in me
she may have forgotten
may have lost the spring which zips life
into recoiling
given up after her children grew old enough
to stand up, fall down, and adapt for themselves
lost the fierce lust it takes
to push yourself through the pain in order to grow again
so if she did
she did
i’ll continue to listen
to her tomfoolery
these days
exchanging vacant prattle
of this and that
and give to her
the earnest and persistent
love
that all those years ago
she showed me
was more powerful
than anything else”
10/18/2013
I wrote this poem a couple months ago.
& Tonight, I couldn’t sleep.
I laid in bed struggling to feel peace,
My chest tight with grief.
Because some days, no matter how old or strong you are..
You just want your mommy.
I recalled this poem, & made a connection.
my mother
was abused & mistreated for too long
my mother
HURTS everyday
she might never be the same
but
she is still here
she just needs to heal.
OUR Mother
is mistreated, abused, exploited, and molested
she HURTS
everyday
BUT
SHE IS STILL HERE
SHE JUST NEEDS TO HEAL.
WE
need
to
heal.
I sent the original poem
to my brother & sister
they cried…
of course.
its personal
the deep sorrow
the longing
of slowly losing something
loved
I suppose this poem, in some form or another
should reach all of us
because afterall
we are all children
born into a family
of dysfunction
we all watched as the Mother we so loved
as a curious, wild eyed children
was harmed
right in front of us
we’ve felt helpless
we’ve felt angry
we’ve felt a heartbreak
like no other
because She
in all her radiant beauty and abundance
HURT.
and she didn’t deserve it.
my mother
is a lesson
the illness she feels
is real
her loss of clarity & vitality
from years of dishonor
of corruption
only shadows
that of Our Mothers
decades, centuries
of ill-treatment
she is trying
but she is tired
and we have to help her
we have to love her
like she did us
compassionate
and unconditional
WE HAVE TO HEAL.
i, for one,
do not want to perpetuate the cycle of abuse
it stops here.
fellow children,
brothers and sisters
listen…
we can be the beginning
we can be different
resilient
we can be the generation
of regeneration
all we have to do
is find find strength in one another
and love for
our Mother.
mom