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There is a common chord that connects us all.

The upside of this bond is love.

The downside of this bond is grief.

They are like the yin and yang of each other.

And for us as beings, is that which makes us human.

That which makes us humane.

In reflecting upon my recent loss of the bitty I cannot help but try to come once again to terms & reaquaint myself once again once more not again really with this downsided so-called bugaboo : grief. Once again I am woven wounded and wrapped up in grief’s grip and wrath. And once more, and once again, and still yet more to be and more to come in the future, that old familiar bugger grief will and shall rear up.

So many flavors of grief. So many tones. Each heartbreak singular.

I can only write about things I know about. Things I have personally experienced in my relatively itty bitty short span of years. During my blink of an eye existence and blip of time flies life time. I don’t know much. This is what I do know for sure.

Here is my perspective on grief : It does no good to seek answers concerning closure with grief. There is no closure with the loss of loved ones. A void the open gap the vacuum created in your world by the ending of a loved ones’ presence which cannot be concluded, finalized, or wrapped up tidy. Grief is messy. Grief is chaos. Mass confusion. Complicated. Complex. Life upside down and inside out.

This is what I know about grief. This is my personal perspective :

I was la-tee-da skip to my lou living life. Then came : Ka-Boom !! Stop !! Now. Listen.

There is no going back. What you know about life will be forever altered. I learned my best friend Cris had cancer. He opted for no chemo. Three months later he died. I could leave you hanging with just these minimum facts of the matter : name and diagnosis. I want to declare why it is that I can say my best friend when I speak of Cris Cress. Born in Texas lived on a cattle ranch got sent off to military school later he became a bareback bronco rodeo cowboy got thrown off horses in arenas with crowds cheering enough of that he said he became a night club owner immersed himself in cigarettes alcohol Dr. Pepper red meat and oil to slick back his greasy kid stuff hair became an owner of a gas station all the while all along he had been married and divorced ten different times. When I had the luck to meet him and become friends he was a quarter of a century older than me and seriously practicing yoga even in the sauna at the public pool with his wife as I swam laps and joined them for some stretches all the while now he quit smokes booze drank distilled water ate healthy vegetarian downed vitamins drank carrot smoothies. Cris was my close treasured mentor confidant. He knew me better than I did myself it seemed. We would talk about life and laugh and laugh. My days had been made sooooooo rich in all that I learned in just being around him. I have never experienced such a questioning soul who never bothered with worrying about what others thought. Cris was a light house beacon of truth to me. He was himself all the way.

He was a genuine nut.

And yes the day came when I got “the call” to come now. I had the honor to hold his hand

as he squeezed mine in his last moments. Best bud.

One month after Cris died I packed a small backpack and walked out and away from my husband of ten years. I walked away from the 36’ sailboat we had spent 8 years handbuilding, everything, from the hull up. Cris had clearly taught me even after he was gone, that life is too short. Too short to participate in with a partner who was seriously into heavy drug use. I left.

Five months after I left my ex, my mom died of a stroke. The unexpected not ever wanting to get phone “call” came in the middle of the night. By her side holding her hand, she left me. When dad was left without a compass I realized how much mom had covered up how deep his dementia now diagnosed as Alzheimers was. I voluntered to be his sole caretaker 24/7. That is all I knew to do at the time. Gave it my best shot. The day he said to me “Miss ?? Can I have some breakfast ??” I stuffed my feelings long enough to retire to my room that night and sob my heart out. He did not even know that I was his daughter. I physically caved with stomach cramps after 6 months. His was a long slow disappearence. I found a place that would caretake him for me. Mom had left me $5000. so I decided to not pay bills but go to India instead for a month all alone. My sensory organs exploded. My mind imploded. The color, aromas, music, food, traditions, sacredness, the All of IT blew my mind. I climbed Himalayan peaks sleeping in a tent with the stars an arm’s reach away.

Coming home to find my dad’s condition worsened as I witnessed him depending on a wheelchair now. Things got worse and he died around two years after mom had.

Still right up until the end he would question where is mom. Where is she ??

To summarize :

My mom, dad, and best friend all left within a really short period of time. I write now about it, not to feel sorry for me, pity me oh woe is me, or to bring on the sadness. I write to explain what I know for sure about grief. These three were my pillars of strength. They were my life time Kris you can do it supporters. They were the ones that formed me made me strong knew me got me loved me. I was blessed with a mom who instilled inside me all my values morals. She devoted all her momness to my well beingness. We were always close.

Dad was my hero. A band director music teacher who raised me up surrounded by all types of music. The joy of trumpet solos at home evenings and downtown parade marching holidays. His name was Red. I was given the best parents for me. They repsected who I was. Even as a ten yr. old I can remember coming home from beginners catechism classes and said “I need to talk mom and dad !! They are trying to tell me what god looks like. Cmon really ? An old man in a robe with a long white beard ?” My dad turned to my mom, they locked eyes, and my dad asked my mom “What are we going to do now ?” Without any dialog between them, mom turned back to me and said “You don’t have to go back to catechism.” Truly best parents. Cris, my best bud, was the third tripod leg champion in my lifetime of up-bringing and bringing-up. He yelled at me “stand your ground” when I would run away from his snapping bluffing goose. He had a whole bunch of animals, a horse, a collection of homely stray dogs and cats, squirrels would feed out of his hand at the front door. He was the only one that encouraged me to keep up my art because he claimed he wanted to “share in the royalties.” I still paint for him now today.

Fast forward 8 years : Let me reiterate 8 years for emphasis : ahem !! 8 years :

I am finishing up building my cabin. I am stapling 4X8 sheets of siding to the cabin by myself. I had two people lined up to help me that bagged out. I had to finish the siding for occupancy. I was doing the big sheets and then I hired someone to do the finesse’ work around the electric boxes and piping. I was moving the scaffolding. The heavy wood and metal platform that spanned the bracing end legs slipped from my grip and fell down with all its weight upon my arm. It snapped down hard, cris-crossing my forearm. I gulped hard, drew in a fast breath, lifted it up with my other arm, got my arm out from under, and bent over huddling my arm, slowly I walked into the cabin holding my crunched arm diagonally across my chest. I was in shock. I could not breathe. As if I had gotten the wind knocked out of me. My mouth was a gape. I walked into the cabin and put my back up against a wall slowly sliding down into a crouching position. Not daring to examine my shattered arm quite yet … all of a sudden … from out of nowhere … deep inside my chest … a giant surge …the tears … she justta burstta forthward. I knew this was Big. There was no stopping whatever this was. I just went with it. Gasping. Gushing. Gulping for air. A primal animal cry from deep within cut loose. Felt like an inner restructuring or plate tectonics shift of my whole being. A busting open, an earthquake, a breaking of the calcified hardened barnacled fossilized rock that had been forged around my core. I stay in the same position for an hour crouched sobbing my eyes out howling my soul out bawling my brains out.

And I knew that this had nothing to do with a hurt arm. This was all about grief.

When I was in the throngs the fogs the midsts the mists of getting-through-my-days 8 - 10 years ago when I was getting grand slammed by life over and over and all that I had once known was no more, I survived. Yes. I made it thru. I did stuff. I even tried distracting myself with a trip to India. And I believed - aha !! it had worked !! After some time I actually believed that hey world, I made it through getting my heart beaten up by life. I believed that I was pretty tough. I got through all that hard hellish stuff with some tears shed along the way. I thought that I was tough. I praised myself for not being a whimp for having steel hard determination to weather the storm of all that I had been dealt. All that tribulation and all at the same time. I thought I was pretty cool to be oh so pretty tough.

Lo and Behold !! Low and Be Hold On a Doggone Minute Here !! Are you kidding me ?? What are you nuts ?? Who do you think you are ?? Just when you think you got away from grief it will show you who is the boss. It is a long slow has all the time in the world process. There is no timeline on grief. Grief shows up only when it is good and ready. Not when you stuff it or deny it ever exists. No way Grief never forgets. Grief is like karma. Shows up and it will. When the time is right. There is no talking to no bartering with grief. No dialog. No discussion. Forget about it. There is no compromise with the grieving process. And that is what it is : a process. Grief is mysteriously powerfully life-changing. Grief rules.

And. Grief rules the heart.

In conclusion :

I tried to run away from grief for a total of almost ten years all together. Little did I know, that whole time, what was really happening inside. A blockage solidifying. Every loss reinforced the barrier between me and me engaging with my world. I had stopped taking chances with my heart. Playing it safe was no way to live a life to the fullest. After the great letting go emancipation proclamation in the cabin that day, I stood up from it feeling much better.

Like a load had been lifted. That was one damn great stupendous Grand Coulee Hoover waterworks cry. I fianally got up enough nerve to actually look at my damaged wing.

I felt my arm and I could not believe the bone was not broken smashed snapped into bits !! My housemate who was a naturopath put arnica gel on my forearm to supress any bruising and we iced it. Days later not even the slightest bruise appeared I could not believe it.

Lawd have mercy I had been miraculously healed !! Body and soul.

In retrospect :

I thanked my cabin for healing me. The building of my own home by myself was my own therapy towards union with my whole self. I had felt as if my self had shattered into many pieces with all the loss. And it was my grief that found me there in all my vulnerability right at the right time when I was in a state of physical shock from the scaffolding blow.

Empty with a shocked wide eyed wide open mouthed expression in frozen disbelief of what had just happened. In shock with no time for no thoughts no mind no cognizant thinking and no barriers. Grief used the opportunity like a jarring thunder bolt jolt of lightening to unload me and break me with boisterous zeal. Grief whalloped my long overdue stubborn little hard headed heart and head. All the pieces fit that day. And how was THAT all orchestrated ?? Most probably an old man in a robe with a long white beard. Let the choir sing. Hallelujah. Amen.

I believe that the only after-effects and universal repurcussions of loss of loved ones is wholely and holey and holy and solely and souly grief. Yes side effects of sadness, melancholy, sorrow, cries, tequila. Yet. However. Even. Still. Further. Now.

Nonetheless : The minute you lose a loved one, grief becomes a permanent part of your existence after each loss. And each loss is different and does not compare, just like the specific loved one you grieve for. Each one : different. Each : singular. Grief is the verb the repurcussive reverberation action of what it means to have loved a once living soul.

When someone you love dies, you then begin to carry around a crest, a coat of arms, a badge of honor, a purple heart, a golden stamp, a seal of gold, a hallmark, a tribute medal which signifys the love of them now, which stays inside you, always. They are with you, as the hold of, the embrace, the strength of the grief slowly relaxes, releases its grip its grasp.

Yet never really ever completely goes away. As does the loved one.

When little five month old JuJu stopped eating there I was with JuJu and at the same time I was there also with the nearly 20 year old Love That PoodyMon who stopped eating eleven months ago same same. All twogether re-living re-enacting re-surfacing . And moi ?

Actively participating actively practicing practicing over and over the fine art of living life to the fullest every moment re-flecting on the power of love the cycles of life the rhythms of nature. The tao of whom we are.


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