This One's for You: Musical Monday

Before Phil died, I was that friend. The one you called when you were mad at your husband and needed to tell someone what he did who wouldn't hold it against him later. I was the person who could be counted on to answer the phone at odd hours; watch your kids if you needed a break; or the one person who would remind you of your new years resolution in March. I learned early in life how to be a friend, and worked hard to be a person that earned the title. Then death stepped into my life.

As the waves of grief washed over me, I lost my ability to think outside the box...my box. The world I was living in became so dark that I wandered around my life bumping into walls that I couldn't see. Each time I hit something in the inky blackness I became more disoriented. Grief made my head spin and my eyes blind to anything but my own concerns. More than a few less than appealing traits became the norm when dealing with other people: impatience, intolerance, exasperation, bitterness, and I am sure there are a few others I am forgetting. When listening to another person's woes I had to bite my tongue to keep from spewing the litany of responses that flew into my brain..."Ha! It could be worse, trust me." "At least he is alive for you to hate." "I am sure that losing your job was very difficult." "The fridge broke again, how awful." " Tell me again, what exactly are you complaining about?" I couldn't hear another person speak about themselves without comparing their troubles to mine. And in my mind, death trumped all. 

I read somewhere that grief is a selfish state. When I first saw those words I was offended. Obviously the person who wrote them wasn't actively grieving! Clearly no one would make that kind of judgement if they were living the nightmare that begins the minute after a loved one dies. But once I got past the negative connotation, I realized that I needed to be selfish in order to survive Phil's loss. I needed to come first. In order to find my way through the dark maze, I required every available reserve. My needs could not be pushed aside in order to put others first because suddenly the things I needed were so basic that my survival depended on them being met. Selfish was okay, even necessary, for a time.

Eventually I missed the friend I used to be. As time passed my needs became less pressing and no longer required my undivided attention. Slowly I could see that trouble is trouble, and you don't know the trouble of death until you live it, period. As time passed and bitterness started to wane I trained myself to hear the emotion in other's voices and to listen with my heart instead of my head. The futility of comparison became clear and my natural ability to care returned with a new twist. Having known the deep sadness of grief I am grateful for each and every problem that doesn't take me, or someone I care about, there

Five years ago this song would have immediately reminded me of all that I have lost. Today it reminds me of all that I still have to give. I needed my selfish stage in order to reach my shining stage. This song speaks to the power of peer based grief support. We are the light for each other, even as we find the way through our own darkness. 
As the waves of grief washed over me, I lost my ability to think outside the box...my box. The world I was living in became so dark that I wandered around my life bumping into walls that I couldn't see. Each time I hit something in the inky blackness I became more disoriented. Grief made my head spin and my eyes blind to anything but my own concerns. More than a few less than appealing traits became the norm when dealing with other people: impatience, intolerance, exasperation, bitterness, and I am sure there are a few others I am forgetting. When listening to another person's woes I had to bite my tongue to keep from spewing the litany of responses that flew into my brain..."Ha! It could be worse, trust me." "At least he is alive for you to hate." "I am sure that losing your job was very difficult." "The fridge broke again, how awful." " Tell me again, what exactly are you complaining about?" I couldn't hear another person speak about themselves without comparing their troubles to mine. And in my mind, death trumped all. 

I read somewhere that grief is a selfish state. When I first saw those words I was offended. Obviously the person who wrote them wasn't actively grieving! Clearly no one would make that kind of judgement if they were living the nightmare that begins the minute after a loved one dies. But once I got past the negative connotation, I realized that I needed to be selfish in order to survive Phil's loss. I needed to come first. In order to find my way through the dark maze, I required every available reserve. My needs could not be pushed aside in order to put others first because suddenly the things I needed were so basic that my survival depended on them being met. Selfish was okay, even necessary, for a time.

Eventually I missed the friend I used to be. As time passed my needs became less pressing and no longer required my undivided attention. Slowly I could see that trouble is trouble, and you don't know the trouble of death until you live it, period. As time passed and bitterness started to wane I trained myself to hear the emotion in other's voices and to listen with my heart instead of my head. The futility of comparison became clear and my natural ability to care returned with a new twist. Having known the deep sadness of grief I am grateful for each and every problem that doesn't take me, or someone I care about, there

Five years ago this song would have immediately reminded me of all that I have lost. Today it reminds me of all that I still have to give. I needed my selfish stage in order to reach my shining stage. This song speaks to the power of peer based grief support. We are the light for each other, even as we find the way through our own darkness. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km98jsSi9gM


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