Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Vicissitudes of Life Encapsulated in One Day

At times during the day, I've been at loose ends.
I flitted from one attention grabber to another.
I couldn't settle on one activity because another would call my name.
I was distracted.

At one moment, I have been sad, crying, and in mourning.
During the next, I would find myself rejoicing over the beauty of the day.

I couldn't settle on reading a book.
Couldn't seem to pick up my journal and begin to write even as thoughts tumbled through my mind.

I don't want to eat dinner,
yet I am searching for a snack.
I don't want to talk to anyone,
even as I long for a good conversation.
I want to be alone.
No, I really think I want companionship.

I have many tasks that need to be completed.
My desk if piled high with papers and books to be sorted through.
I don't think I even made my bed today.
Did I?
I don't know.  
Does it matter?
It is nearly time to go to bed again.

I've been tired,
but heaven knows I could never settle down to go to sleep.

Do you ever have days like that?

Today, 8.08 began at 8:08 A.M.
when I finally awakened enough to look at the clock.
Damn digital clocks.
Even they send reminders of Julie.
as the story goes,
once said her ideal man was BOB.  
Digital watches were the new "in" thing when she was in high school.
8:08, meaning BOB, became a symbol of Julie's life.

Memories of her began to flood my mind.

I wasn't alone.
Many of us were reminded of her today.

In my memory
I vividly saw her twirling her hair around her slender fingers.
I saw her showing the grandchildren how to hula hoop.
I've been missing her so much lately.
I've needed her humor, her silliness, her kindness, her take on life that could be wise.

Julie, Amy, and Mom
I grieved because I can't be her to her sister Amy.
I know Amy needs her in her life so much at this time.
I called Amy to tell her that I wish I could be her sister to her,
but of course, I can't be.
Only Julie could be Julie to Amy.
Only, Julie could be Julie to any of us.

She was our family lynchpin.
She is gone.
What will hold us all together?

Grief no longer incapacitates me.
Or does it?
I went on with my day.
I had lunch with my sister.
I made tea for my husband and served him tea and cake on the porch.

This evening,
the two of us,
my dear husband and I,
took a walk in the neighborhood.
The air was crisp and cool, reminding us of an early fall day in the mountains.
We followed a beautiful buck in velvet who was just ten feet ahead of us on the path.
Peace and beauty filled my soul.
It was a good reminder that:
Life is full of vicissitudes.
And yes, there are days when those vicissitudes are encapsulated all in one day.

Thankfully, at the end of this day, I could agree with a quote from Jerry Sittser's book on grief.
I had experienced the ups and downs that come when one continues to grieve.
I could also honestly say, 

I was struck by how wonderful ordinary life is.
Simply being alive became holy to me.
~ Jerry Sittser
A Grace Disguised:   How the Soul Grows Through Loss


Terra said...

A very moving post, you are in a swirl of emotions as you miss Julie. Peace.

DJan said...

This is beautiful, Sally, and so true. Those of us who have lost loved ones before their time, we feel these things. I am so glad to know you and although I never met Julie, I feel like I know who she is... sending you love and blessings through the internet.

Chatty Crone said...

You know you never have to apologize for being emotional and remembering back - it is a good thing my friend.

Jackie said...

My yesterday was almost exactly like this, Sally. As I was reading about your day, my mouth dropped open because that is how I felt yesterday!! What is with this??!! It is really kind of scary to me to think about it. I didn't know whether to cry or not...wanted to talk but "leave me alone"...wanted to just sit and think, but needed to move about and do nothing. I did cry...and did talk....and did sit quietly in my outdoor swing. I don't feel this way often, but when I do, there is very little I can do to stop the flow of feelings.
And the digital clock thing. Stop! I do that all the time!! I will turn those numbers into letters and words in a heartbeat. And I promise, when I'm low, it NEVER fails that my eyes will glance at the clock and it will be 9:11.
What's with THAT!!
I hope you don't mind my sharing all this with you. You have just allowed me to voice and share things that we apparently have in common (being distracted in similar ways.) That may not make you feel any better at all, and I do hope it doesn't make you feel worse, but you have company!! Moi!! :))
This evening has been better for me.
I am thinking of you and hugging you... from one Mama to another. The pain of losing your Julie is a deep one. I wish I could ease it somehow. I can hug you from a distance and let you know that you have a friend in me...

Linda Myers said...

Lovely, reflective post. I'm glad you're a woman of reflection, my friend.

Kay said...

I felt like I was walking with you today, Sally. I'm so sorry for all the pain you've had to bear and for all the pain you can't help bearing for everybody else in the family. You are the glue that is keeping everyone together. You and your dear husband are the love that can keep the memory beautiful and not have it cloud all your days. You're entitled to a day of sadness. But knowing you, tomorrow will be a sunny day.

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Sally This is such a beautiful and moving post. Sometimes it helps to write ones feelings down.

Arkansas Patti said...

This would have been such a painful post without those beautiful memories you will always have. I feel so for your downs and pains of loss, but am so glad that you at the same time have such lovely images to remember.

Rose said...

Such a moving and poignant post, Sally. They always say that time helps to heal, but that doesn't mean the grief will ever go away completely. Julie's spirt will always be with you. May you find joy in every day to help you deal with these vicissitudes.

Olga said...

Simply beautiful. It is heartening to see grief acknowledged in this way and a good life affirmed as well.

Jeanie said...

Sally, thank you for sharing your thoughts so openly and honestly. I think that's a healing thing to do -- and that so many of us can relate to the confusions and this, no that. I want. I don't. And sometimes they all hit at once. Grief doesn't make it any easier.

I don't believe we ever stop grieving. What does happen is we learn that you have those grief bursts that just get you in the gut. And then they slack off a bit and you go on. Have you ever been to one of Alan Wohfelt's grief workshops? He's in CO somewhere. I have heard him speak several times -- amazing. He speaks of the grief bursts.

I will say one thing -- if you had never loved Julie so much, you wouldn't grieve so much. But you wouldn't have loved her so much, either. And when you have that choice -- well, I know the one I would take.

thisisme said...

Hallo Sally. Such a moving post today, and my heart hurts for you my friend. What a beautiful photo of Julie and, also, the one of the three of you together. You will always grieve for your beautiful daughter that you have lost, and, at times, the pain will be worse. All I can do is to send you hugs and I pray that you may have peace in your heart. Please take care.

Cape Cod Kitty said...

A very, touching and emotional post, Sally, and your bright attitude manages to shine through all the pain of loss you carry. So happy you can write about it and find some peace.

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Thank you for continuing to share your grief, and the process of grieving, with us. I learn so much from you. I wish you peace and comfort.

A Quiet Corner said...

I know what you are feeling and have so much empathy for you...grief is hard but remember, it is also enlightening. Many do not know the value of LIFE...:)JP

LC said...

So moving. And that last quote was powerful closing to a powerful post.. Your entire post gave me so much to ponder. This comes with a thank you for sharing and with a prayer for you and yours.

rosaria williams said...

Oh Sally, we'll never cease to mourn. We're in a special club, you and I and our wounds will last a long, long time.

Deb Shucka said...

That was one of the books that helped get me through the darkest of days. This is one of the most powerful things you've written, Sally. Deeply poignant, beautiful, sad and joyful all that the same time. Sending you love and light. My heart beats in time with yours in this poem.

Kathleen McCoy said...

We've all had roller-coaster emotional days when we want to be alone -- but don't -- and can't quite make peace with the tumultuous feelings and memories. But some pain is forever....and I know that your life was forever changed when you lost Julie. I hope it helps to know how much it means when you let us know Julie through your posts -- how loving, how wonderful, how central she was to your family -- and also share your grief with such beauty and honesty. It makes all us less alone in our journey.

Betsy Adams said...

Hi There, I'm back after a big birthday week. Trying to catch up a little on my blogging.

Awesome post, Sally... You truly should publish that. You have so much talent when it comes to words....

Yes, we all have our ups and downs --and sometimes, we humans are just plain wishy-washy... I wonder sometimes which 'Betsy' will get out of bed each morning... Maybe it is because I have dreamed something bad --but some mornings, I'm just plain grumpy.... Hmmmm--no reason!

BUT--we do grieve and that is a good thing. We miss those who have left this world for a better one. BUT--we know we must keep on keeping on.

Enjoy your life, Sally, the happy times and the sad times... That's what life is all about.


Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Today you taught me a new word to describe some days in my life, those with difficulties! they come and they try to take a hold on my heart but I must move aside and allow a positive to come to my aid. Buddy is always there and hopeful no matter how bad the situation can be. Bravery is all that I cling to at times and prayers that we'll make it!
glad you got to the end of the day with some activities that kept you going too.

troutbirder said...

Yes. Our daughter in law will be with us in a few days for hers and Teds class reunion. We will be thinking of him....

Dee said...

Dear Sally, the quote by Sittser helps me today to see clearly a problem that lies here before me. Thank you.
And thank you for sharing Julie with us. She was and is a grace to all who love her. Peace.

Maggie May said...

Yes...... I definitely get days like that and feel very restless right now.
Grief is a very personal thing and you have to do what is best for you. I think that also needs do change and sometimes you need solitude and sometimes not. There's no knowing where it will take you but you have to let it have its way.
Hoping you will find solace.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Linda P. said...

Your daughter was well loved, we can tell.

Kay said...

Yesterday, I met a veteran who was suffering still from PTSD from Vietnam. He told me his story about losing so many of his fellow comrades and said he'd written a letter to help him deal with his losses. I immediately thought of you and asked if he wouldn't mind my sharing it. I've posted it today. I hope you can find time to read it in the next few days. I'm thinking about you.

Perpetua said...

Sally, you capture so well the restlessness of grief, the lack of direction and decision when the mind and heart are wrapped up in the beloved person we have lost. I do feel for you as you remember your beautiful daughter and mourn for all the lost years of happy companionship you could both have anticipated. I do hope that you've moved into calmer waters now for a while.

Mage said...

We do understand. I cry about don when I go to bed. Young family shouldn't die before you. Bobbie cries when she wakes up. She hasn't been alone for 36 years.


Barb said...

I cannot imagine how much you must miss your lovely Julie - how your whole family must miss her. Thankfully, life also offers beauty and peace to replenish your spirit. Hugs to you, Sally. I hope Jim is healing well.

I Wonder Wye said...

This makes my heart so heavy. I can feel your grief seeping through every line. It doesn't get easier and only time eases the pain wish is you will eventually focus not on that Julie died, but how Julie lived and how blessed you were to know her in your life...and honor her as you did this seeing the simple beauty all around you in the world...((hugs)) to you and the family.....

Vagabonde said...

I have read your beautiful post of sadness and remembrance. I also read all the touching comments you received – they are well deserved because you are a beautiful person. I have had bad days too – different from yours of course, but still bad now that my husband has Alzheimer and I am coping with this, alone. But the sun comes back and it will be another day full of the beauty around us. It is good that you can write these posts, for you, and for all of us.

Keicha Christiansen said...

I don't know how I missed reading this post until today. Probably because on 8/08 I was completely distracted and at loose ends, kind of like you were that day.

Julie was our lynchpin and we've all been in free fall since she's no longer here to hold us together.

#1Nana said...

I read the post and then all the comments. I was struck by Keisha's comment about free fall. Skydivers will come together as they fly through the sky, creating beautiful patterns. They're still falling, but falling together and then landing softly with memories of their experience together. You keep Julie's memory alive and strengthen your family bonds....and I suspect help others who read your words and understand they are not alone in their feelings of grief. ��