Or that monkey.
We know today many many monkeys went to heaven… well ceased to exist. Along with all their dreams thoughts and secrets…. Interesting thing to contemplate the idea that one day everything you are thinking now, all the nightmares you had last night, those emotions that feel as though they are about to rip your throat right out of your chest will simply be gone and as such cease to matter , begging the question how much do they matter now?… Or maybe you don’t find it interesting, maybe you find it frightening and would think me morbid for casually tossing thoughts of death around my brain. But where I am in my mind its not morbid at all, raised a Buddhist may have helped. death simply is. its a end point on a journey we will all take to fear death is to fear living because it is the inevitable conclusion of the later. Thats not to say the death of someone in my sphere doesn’t impact me, of course in my past blogs I think it quite evident I was greatly impacted by the death of my mother. And after all these 6 years with out her there still exists a hole, perviously filled with comfort love and familiarity, that lies empty, and probably always will. the raw sadness fades but the hollow will always remain.
Which is what brings me to my thought train of the new year. On the 29th of dec one of my dearest friends lost her father and it brought about a reflection (in an effort to try and express some comfort in the face of the ultimate discomfort) I being much further along in my process of grieving…. not sure if I like that term the grieving process, adds a mechanical element to it that I don’t believe in anyway comes close to describing it. it is not mechanical or logical and not really a defined process at all, more like a struggle against the very basic emotional being, a battle of wills between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. its a mess and no mechanism employed by our rational selves makes it a methodical “process”….
The comfort and advise I offered her was edited down from what I was actually thinking, but I do understand that there are the basic elements described in all those pamphlets you get about grieving that are true of all of us. We do seem to all experience roughly the same range of emotions when dealing with this loss. Currently she is in the anger stage… yes we all go there…the shock… the denial… the anger….etc…..
I have always viewed grieving as a slightly narcissistic emotional indulgence, yes my own grieving I view this way as well. it is very much about self. If you are to look at it from a purely analytical view point what are we truly grieving, where and why is there that hollow space (of course not believing in god or an afterlife I am not looking at the idea that our loved ones are still feeling or thinking anything) The person is gone , their suffering their happiness are now immaterial. our sense of loss is our empty chairs at the table, the missing number on speed dial. one less ear to bend one less voice to make us laugh, all our personal experiences now have on less element enriching them, we are in fact grieving for ourselves and all those now missing things in our lives. this has actually helped me a good deal in the last couple of years not because it stops me from feeling any of these things but because I have a perspective on it. my mother had a long death of suffering and though she did not want to die there must have been some acknowledgement of the fact the pain was going away for good during those last breaths. She was ready to die at the end and I think simply because she did not want to continue to live as she was. but that is probably why we all are ready for death at the end, those of us that have the long downward spiral, perhaps not those sudden death victims, then there really isn’t any time to prepare. thats it the though, dead don’t care. our grief is immaterial to their non existence and we can’t fool ourselves that the tears we cry in anyway are of benefit or solace to them, they are for us and about us, those left behind to find our new path without them….. of course even if it is mostly narcissism it doesn’t make any difference to the fact that we feel it.
That leads me to the next train i hoped… loss of trust in reality….Interestingly enough i have never read in any of these pamphlets about the loss of trust and sense of betrayal …. maybe these are at the root of a lot of the grieving we do….
My father believed in magic, I mean not just card tricks and dragons, but really believed that human beings had some special energy they could use to direct the course of reality astral projection, ESP, telekinesis, he believed all these things were real. He believed he had had out of body experiences, he claimed all through my childhood that his mother “knew” things and could communicate with the spirit world…. as a young child I believed these things as well, but my questioning of the world lead me to abandon these ideas through lack of credible evidence and large doses of reality… reality… My father continued to believe right through to my mother death… I think he thought, no believed, that part of my mothers first remission was due to all the meditating and energy he directed towards healing her (not the reality that her immune system fought off the first round). Of course when she was diagnosed with a return of the cancer he worked himself into an otherworldly froth. you could tell that he was straining his inner being in an effort to bring some magical healing, that along with investigating every alternative medical option, which I decried bullshit loud enough I managed to stop a complete financial ruin from being visited upon them. The point… through all my fathers expenditure of energy and effort my mothers disease progressed in textbook fashion to its inevitable and unhappy conclusion. and as sad and traumatised as I was, I was no where near as ruined as my father. reality had betrayed him, everything he believed to be true was now brought into question, and it continued to be shattered in the months following my mothers death. because try as he may to reach out to her through meditation to receive some evidence that she had continued on a journey somewhere, nothing presented itself. there was no feeling of being loved, or being watched over no messages no comfort just the harsh reality that the woman he loved died a slow painful death and that nothing he did or could do was going to change that…. he no longer trusted reality to deliver the routine or the love he expected….
that is only one way in which we can experience the loss of trust in our world, I think it is one of many ways those who believe in anything can feel betrayed, but it goes far beyond that, even for those of us that attempt to keep ourselves grounded in the rational….
We wake up each morning with expectations of how our reality is going to present itself. For me currently now unemployed I would expect I will start my day with a thick cup of coffee to keep me awake while I’m lighting the wood-stove. at some point closer to lunch time my daughter will crawl out of bed and proceed to bitch at me about the mess I’ve left in the kitchen…etc… of course everyday is different but your mind knows what is likely going to happen in a predictable order, you have tasks goals you know what the world looks like on the way to work, what the menu is at your favourite lunch spot….. or do you? what if all the houses disappeared on your morning drive? what if the sun didn’t rise, or the colour of sky was purple instead of blue. Loss of someone close is like waking up in an alternate reality, one where you can not trust that anything you know will actually be there. an integral part of ever routine you had and everything you knew is no longer there. they say that your brain fills in gaps in your vision with information from previous experience to make a complete field of vision. well when someone dies its like those gaps in vision are no longer filled in. everything is full of holes and you don’t know where to walk… all of a sudden (or maybe not so suddenly) you can’t trust whether you or anyone else around you will wake up tomorrow, and well someone didn’t…… you not only question your own mortality and the mortality of all those around you but whether anything will remain the same because anyone of any of those you interact with may indeed die leaving yet more of the world not filled in… and there is a deep maybe unnoticed feeling of reality having actually betrayed you, not only can you no longer trust anything to be as it “should be” but it seems as though perhaps there was a malevolent intent from reality itself to undermine your happiness and security. If you can’t trust the world you wake up in everyday then wtf can you rely on?
Ultimately I don’t have any advice or any answers for anyone, just opinions and experience not any more valid than any other monkey. I do know I resent shopping for my own pjs because my mother always bought them for me for xmas, having to go pyjama shopping means facing the fact that my reality no longer includes her and that I still have holes in my vision that will always be there.
I tell my daughter to appreciate the fact that I always buy her socks and pjs for xmas because one day she is going to have to buy her own and it will be allot more difficult than she thinks.
For those who lost the children and not the socks, I imagine those holes are sometimes so vast that you can’t see where your going and perhaps reality has ceased to exist entirely…
moment by moment
one foot in front of the other
until we fall off the edge we can no longer see….