Archive for August, 2010

Walking a mile in her shoes

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

One of the odder aspects of my recent experiences has been that not only have I been trying to pick up the ‘load’ of Carys’s role/work in the home and family but because of my circumstances, having to take an enforced ‘sabbatical’, I have found myself experiencing aspects of her life for myself.  I’m at home most of the time, cooking, cleaning and being ‘mum’.  Today I heard myself saying to my son things that I often heard her say to me.  She would tell me that she found herself wondering what her role was as the kids begun to fly the nest, to feel that being ‘mum’ was not enough, the frustration of constant cleaning etc.  The bizarre thing was that when I was the other side of this divide, I was really clear about the value of what she brought to the table; however, living the role, I find it harder to feel that. 

We often talk about karma but it is rare that we get a chance to to live both sides of a situation like this.  Who knows what lesson I am meant to be learning but like most lessons, this one is no fun.  As a rather empathetic person, I often find if I listen to two different peoples’ take on a situation I can understand how they both feel the way they do and see it from both perspectives, but living it is rather different…

Each ending carries with it the seed of a new beginning but that doesn’t make them any less painful.  Change experts and business leaders  tend to focus so much on the business benefits that they forget this simple truth, that first something old and familiar needs to to be torn down before the rebuilding can commence and the pain is very real…

“As she has planted, so does she harvest; such is the field of karma.”  Sri Guru Granth Sahib

Who do you talk to?

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

“It’s good to talk” is such a commonly held belief that it became a BT advertising slogan a while back.  Everyone seems to think that you need to talk after a traumatic event and it will somehow how help you.  I have to say that the experience of my family has been otherwise; none of us seemed to particularly feel like talking, least of all to outsiders.  In addition, what are you meant to say when people ask how you are feeling?  Very few actually want to hear that you feel like shit, or that your world has been hit by a tsunami that has swamped all dry land but the tiny bit beneath your feet..  They don’t want to see  the tears; they don’t have the time, the experience or even the inclination to deal with all this.  I don’t judge them for this;  I simply make the observation.

I fully and freely admit that before I lost my father some 4 years ago I had no experience of death and had had no idea how it hit you.  Despite being an empathetic and caring person, I had little to offer the odd bereaved soul that crossed my path, and did a lousy job of supporting my own wife through the loss of her mother.  It is simply a fact that death and child birth are two experiences which you have either experienced or you haven’t and you stand one side of the chasm or the other.

Losing a life partner, is very different than losing a parent who has lived their life, the size of the hole they leave is just exponential and touches every part of your life, every room, every surface, every drawer contains an echo.

So who can you talk to then, even assuming you have the inclination?  I have learnt that even though my children and I grieve for the same person, our losses are different.  In many ways theirs is the greater one as they have never known a day without her loving presence in their lives, at least I lived 30 years without her.  Who do you talk to if your concern is them? 

You might be surprised by often when you talk to others who knew her (as of course all our friends did) that you enter their grief and their loss.  You’d not believe how often we ended up having to comfort people who came round to tell us how sorry they were for our loss! 

Whilst I was on holiday I had a lot of thinking time on this, my first holiday in 30 years without her, and I found it very tough having no Carys to talk to…  I came home to the realisation that perhaps it was now time to talk.  I did a bit of research and contacted Cruse, the bereavement counselling  people.  I had my first session on Monday and had a very nice lady listen to me; I reserve judgement as to whether it makes any difference… and will let you know.

“Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals.”   J. Isham

“The first duty of love is to listen”   Paul Tillich