Friday, December 14, 2012

Life After Michael, Six Months On,
How Are We Changed?

Aching loss and constant awareness of his absence. Sadness and bitterness at his life left unfinished. Surrounded by his beautiful, well crafted and quality things. Pain from sudden memories like  lightening bolts. Joy for his music and the sound of his voice. Grateful that he escaped death so many times. Thankful that he was in my life for so long. Awed by all he did in his short life. Amazed by the number of people who loved him and were touched by him.

How do I remember him, honor him and yet go on with my own life?
How has his death changed me? Do I live differently?
Has the sorrow marked me and set me apart?
How have his friends been affected by his death?

What did I learn from Michael? 

I see that I am gentler with myself and others.
Gentleness was always my way, but I more quickly give permission to myself and others to be imperfect and incomplete.

I want to do things I have left undone.
He was so tenacious and pushed the envelope so hard.
I had given up on making any further mark or contribution.
I was old and failing so why even bother to try.
But I saw that he fought every day, not just to live, but to fulfill his dreams.
He planned, until the day he died, to get up out of that bed and have a good life:
to marry Jen, buy a house with her, finish his album, write more music,
become a teacher, go to Holland with his Mom and his brother,
travel with Ray and Gabriel, raise greyhounds,
enjoy the company of his family and friends ...

So, I have a life, a good life, and damnit, I better use it well.
That's what I learned from Michael.

Other Lessons Learned:

Be open and honest with my feelings.
Let sadness be there, but let joy also come in.
Be patient with others and with myself.
Be OK with retiring from the world for a day or a week when needed.
Let those you love know it.
Kiss them and hug them whenever they are within reach.
Keep pursuing the things you want from life.
Do not be discouraged, keep fighting.

My Grief Journal:

Month One
Will I survive this?
Do I even want to?
Can you die of grief?

Month Two
I guess I will live.
I seem to have chosen Life.
One foot ahead of the other.

Month Three
Soggy, tears and stress.
Saying goodbye to his house.
So sorry for all of us.

Month Four
Drowning in his things.
Everything different and changed.
Wanting the normal and comfortable back.

Month Five
Looking for focus and purpose.
Finding it in cooking and working with clay again.
Understanding that I will never be the same.

Month Six
Mind returning to better function.
Being busy is good therapy.
Sadness and tears are there, but do not interfere with life.

Recently Learned:
A grieving person experiences pain. The MRI of the brain of a grieving person looks like that of a person in real physical pain. But then we knew that. Right?