This morning I took care of my chores, left the kids with theirs and headed into town for a couple of meetings and for the bank.
Yesterday afternoon and evening I was very sad. Instead of remembering all the alive parts of Philip I found myself remembering him the night of his death, after he collapsed onto our bedroom floor when his heart quit beating. I found myself remembering him in the casket at the church.
Such a mystery, how someone alive and warm can change so brutally. A very deep magic that can take someone's aliveness and transport it to another country far, far away. I realize many people have their thoughts about what happens to oneself after death. I believe that our soul leaves our body.
As the dark night enveloped me and a warm breeze caressed me I wept myself to sleep.
I don't know what stirred up those thoughts of Philip's death, but I decided that since they arose, I should try to process them, and made time in my day to go to the group sponsored by Gentle Shepherd Hospice. Martha Furman, a counselor, facilitates the group.
This was my second visit.
I didn't want to go and sit and cry with a bunch of strangers when the garden needed to be weeded, but the car drove over there anyway. And I had the excuse that I needed to drop off the kids' paperwork for camp.
It was good to go. Martha gave us a list of statements prompting us to express what grief means to each of us.
What is the most difficult part of grieving.
What is the most intense grief ever experienced.
What feelings come up in one's grief.
What is the hardest emotion of grief.
What have I never full grieved.
What helps me most when grieving.
As we shared our reasons for being in the meeting, it was comforting to hear others express similar moments of confusion and of pain. It also helped to hear people share tactics that worked for them to move through their grief. Just talking about how I miss Philip's warm hands and face to people who also miss someone else's warm hands and face helped.
I believe that our farm offers the best grief therapy on earth. I have many reasons to get up and move each morning. Taking care of animals and the garden and most of all the children offers me the opportunity to see that I am not going to die, just because Philip is gone. Even so, hearing that it is normal to still have intense moments of sadness and aloneness helps me know I am not losing my mind. Hearing that now is the time the numbness wears off makes me think that it would be logical to have memories of the night of his death and the funeral.
I started to think of our formerly flooded barn. Which, you will be very happy to know is NOT flooded, despite the rains. Thank God. I was so pleased to walk out there this morning and see only a couple of damp spots, instead of the sludge lagoon.
So, the barn. I was thinking about how dangerous it was, leaving all that sludge and muck to sit. Bacteria developed. So did parasites. Who knows how many mosquito larvae.
I was tempted to shut the door and ignore it, hoping that maybe it would evaporate on its own. I was tempted to ignore the gutters and the drains and just go tend the garden.
Same, I think, with grief and other festering things that can build up in our insides. Feeling the pain and acknowledging the grief is just about as hard as shoveling out a couple of tons of sludge, but I have this feeling that we will all be better off for it, just like that barn.
A paradox. Going out there today and admitting how badly I was hurting seemed to make the pain lessen exponentially.
After I got home I felt energized to work on the weeds a little and to take care of some other minor tasks.
The humidity has disappeared and has been replaced with cool crisp air. The no see-ums didn't even attack me. Milking was an entertaining moment for me as I watched the new lambs frolic and cavort. The words frolic and cavort were invented for little lambs.
I don't think I feel like crying tonight. Glad I was able to last night, though. Interestingly enough, one of today's Psalms reminded me that God cares so much for me, he takes note of my every tear and records my sadnesses. And in Ecclesiastes, the author mentions that it is better to be in a house of grieving than in a house of feasting, as death is the destiny of every man. Well, guess we are in good shape, but I have to admit I am looking forward to some feasting days, myself.
That doesn't make a great deal of sense to me, unless I think about how we have experienced love beyond measure during our days of grief, and we have seen friends who stick closer than a brother. Deep magic...