Monday, June 2, 2008

deep connection

this weekend i went to my 10-year college reunion.
surprisingly, i really enjoyed myself.

i find, these days, that i can't- or maybe won't - put up a front.
when i'm feeling sad, or angry, or frustrated, or exhausted, you'll know about it.
i have less patience than usual and less ability to fake it.
when i'm tired, i'll cry at the drop of a hat.

so here i go, off to see people i haven't seen in 10 years and some other people
i've kept in touch with only off and on.

and they all ask me, "how are you? what's been going on?"
and what i want to say is, "well, my mom died. she died in february. she was
diagnosed with cancer in august and she was dead 6 months later. it's been a horrible year and
i can't believe i survived it but i think since i did that i must have this well of strength
somewhere that i'm choosing to believe will continue to carry me through as i try to heal
from this horrible thing that happened. how are you?"
but instead i settle for, "well, it's been a rough year but overall i'm doing great."

and suprisingly, i am able to tell people who want more than the typical reunion soundbite what happened. and i connect, with close friends and acquaintances alike, about loss. they tell me about the premature death of their mother. about a stillborn baby. i hear about other parents with cancer diagnoses. and it feels like maybe this is life.

and it feels so good to connect with other people who have experienced these terrible losses and survived. it gives me some hope. and it 's comforting that they get it. they get the exhaustion, the insanity, the depression that are a part of this thing called grief. they get dark humor. they joke about the stupid things that people say to people who are grieving. they get that these stupid things are better than silence. they get shock, and denial, and unhealthy coping mechanisms. they get incredible feats of strength at surprising times. how did we do all that the week after she died? and they get that all we have is each other. and so we have long, intimate conversations while those around us are doing the location-and-job-and-repeat game.


Michael Lerner said...


i found your blog again. it was really good to see you on saturday. i hope we manage to stay in touch a little more now, especially since we're only like 2.5 hours away.

yeah, so, i never know how to answer the "how are you" question either. i usually stick with "i had a really rough couple of years but things are looking great now." it's always surprising to see who pays attention to the "rough" part and who pays attention to the "great" part.

i still get caught up when people say "oh, is she your first child?" i suppose it's good to come up with a default answer, but i haven't figured out a good one.

anyway, that's enough of me rambling in your comments. it was great to see you again, and i hope we keep in touch.

f. pea said...

you are great!