Day 8: I am Grateful

I’ve become friends with another bereaved mom. She lost her twenty two year old daughter to leukemia nine months before Ewan died. Her daughter, Karen, was featured in a New York Times article highlighting the promise of immunotherapy. Karen was an example of how things don’t always work out. I clung to her daughter’s story and the hope and life that she was rallying to recover for. Karen journaled her story online and I followed. When her site got quiet, I reached out. Sady, Karen’s mom, Chris replied in her place to let me know that Karen had passed away. At this time Ewan was still alive and in remission.

Chris and I stayed in touch and, as a part of her promise to Karen, Chris continued to write on Karen’s blog. Chris emailed encouraging messages when I shared that Ewan had relapsed. She wrote, “No response necessary…  I just wanted to let you know I’m thinking about you, and hoping that things are going as well as they can.” of course another mom who has been in the thick of treatment is gracious enough to offer up “No response necessary”.She offered sound advice, sent books and connected me with Karen’s doctors. Now knowing the pain she was going through, I am amazed that she could even get out of bed.

Some days, Chris is the reason I get out of bed. I see her write about her family, travel and caring for Karen’s siblings and it reminds me that I am not alone in this pain. If Chris can keep moving, I can keep moving.

She is honest about her shattered world. Chris shares her shakey hope in a god. “As much as I have trouble with the whole concept of God these days (because why would anybody take these beautiful children, and leave so many cruel people here???) I have to continue to believe in the Heaven part, because I can’t bear the thought that I won’t get to see them all again.”

She gives me a space to feel understood and comforted. She allows me to allow myself to own my doubt in why anything happens and life and existence itself. Its an honor to know her.

Last night, I was at a workshop on building resilience. Practices such as cultivating gratitude and paying attention to how I walk into a room (pausing to breath, and being aware of my emotions) were discussing. The message that most resonated with me realizing the difference in the voice I use when talking with myself versus when talking with a friend. When it comes to me, I am a harsh critic. With friends, I express compassion and patience. Chris voice, from across the country, teaches me how to talk to myself with kindness and compassion, even in the face of what feels like the most miserable failure.

I am grateful for Chris.

#prompt8

______

The truth is, we all need a mentor.
Especially inside this wholly disorienting grief,
inside a culture that cannot and does not understand. We each need a guiding star, an example to live into.
————————————————-

Today’s prompt:

Tell us about a guiding star inside your grief: are there people – whether real, mythological, or fictional – who live their own grief in a way that gives you encouragement, inspiration, or direction?

If you don’t know of any, can you make one up? Create a wholly fictional, fantasial role model: someone (or thing) who lives with grief in a way you admire, or in a way you just find really neat.

How has this person affected you? What feels possible in the light of what their life is?

From Megan Devine’s Refuge In Grief Write Your Grief Workshop

refugeingrief.com

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