Tag Archives: grief

Again…it’s about me!

Sometimes I just can’t get past myself to really listen and empathize. I don’t intend to co-opt others’ feelings but I open my mouth and my own story flows.

I did this to a friend recently. She is in deep grief after the death of a mutual friend’s wife. We were discussing his welfare when my lesser self stepped in with my personal narrative. How did it feel when I was there? How have I reacted in similar situations? Worst of all…what would I do if it were me?

I think of my responses as commiseration. Sharing loss and hardship create rapport. And it’s all true.

But none of that is as valuable as a listening heart. Nothing is as important in a friendship as providing a safe haven without expectation and without judgment.

I owe my friend an apology. I hope I have the chance to listen again.

The Student


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Filed under Paths to Progress, Self-examination, Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves., When we know better, we do better

Christmas Grief

The restlessness, when identified, emerges as grief.  It is stomach-wrenching, soul-disturbing, mind-shuffling grief.

But why?  What?  Who?  It makes no sense to me.  My choices are my own.

I have talked to each of my children and grandchildren in the last few days.  Knowing that I wouldn’t see any of them over the holidays, and worried that I wasn’t reaching out, I did.  I reached out.  And it was successful.  I had good  satisfying conversations with each of them.  Some more deep than others.  Each in keeping with my ongoing relationship.

So what is it?

I spent Christmas Eve with my husband.  Uneventful.  Not special.  Just together.  Just fine.

I spent Christmas day with my husband and friends.  I had a moment…just a moment…in which it really felt like Christmas.  And it was pretty much what I expected – a group of stragglers who are good friends.  Easy. Natural.  And it bit longer than it needed to be.

And still the grief hung with me and cast an internal pall over my enjoyment of the day.  After a while I fell victim to the “shoulds”.  Should I be calling my sisters?  Should we be pursuing our children?  Were my grandchildren all okay?

My children called.  And I went to bed with grief.

It wasn’t until Boxing Day that I ferreted out the source of the discomfort.   I realize that there is some cultural overlay of expectations that I have swallowed whole.  I can only describe it as an uneasy discomfort with my way of doing Christmas this year.

My husband and I did not exchange gifts.  We need nothing.  What we gave, we gave to charity.  And we are fine with that.

We weren’t with family.  And they are fine with that. Maybe I’m not.

I didn’t call and talk to each and everyone of my kith and kin on Christmas Day.  And they are fine with that.  Maybe I’m not.

There is only one child in our family who is young enough to be truly excited about Christmas.  We weren’t with him.  He is fine with that.  Maybe I’m not.

I am grieving from the absence of the familiar essence of Christmas.  There is no tree.  There are no gifts.  The stockings hanging from the mantel are not filled.  The creches representing the meaning of Christmas are static and not bathed in the holy light of my faith (which seems missing this year.) The Christmas carols playing in the background are empty of meaning.

I want to work my way through this grief to the satisfaction of knowing that I did what I chose to do.  The unreal expectations of a Hallmark Channel need not be mine.  I want to lift the heavy blanket of expectation for myself and for the generations to come so that what we have is what we love instead of yearning for what is not.

Then Christmas will be joy within – unassailable!

The Student





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Filed under Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves., The Truth Will Set You Free, When you stray from your center, you get lost

Restless Days

This is my second day of true discomfort.

I awoke yesterday morning with that certain inner restlessness that is a harbinger for a day without purpose.  How can I have purpose when I don’t know what I want and don’t have any idea of what I want to do.

If I were an alcoholic I would have a drink for breakfast.

Yesterday when I recognized the feeling, I meditated and talked to myself about what I must do.

I must figure out a purpose.  It could be small, but it must be linear and concrete.  Something to soothe the nameless anxiety.

Which is hard to do when my sister is visiting and my husband wants us to go have a coffee.  And I don’t want to miss a minute with either of them.


After my sister left, I gave myself a concrete, physical task.  I needed to to some painting at a rental.  I would accomplish something that must be done.  And yet, driving there I was in such deep grief that everything seemed black and I was near tears.  I couldn’t reach the heart of it.

May I add that it was two days before Christmas.  I don’t have any shopping to do, but I do have a house to clean and food to make for company on Christmas Day.  I’m not uptight about what I have to get done.  I’m uptight that I’m not uptight about it.

I won’t even describe the wandering, useless meanderings of my life yesterday.  At least I went to a movie with my husband last night.  I made him happy.


I am restless and without anchor again this morning.  I have some new thoughts.  No answers.

Maybe it is my lifelong struggle between my longing to be with friends and family and to do it all perfectly, and my urge and need to be totally alone, unscheduled, untrammeled…expressing myself through my writing which is a solitary pursuit.

If it is some deep inner loss, unfaced, unmanaged and unacknowledged, I don’t know what it is.


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Filed under The Truth Will Set You Free, When you stray from your center, you get lost