Category Archives: Learning

A mother’s words can be so black

Black Bird

These are a mothers words:

“Of all the daughters I could have had, why did God give me an ungrateful one like you? Everything I endured for you! How dare you! How dare you abandon me like this…”

Then she tried guilt.

“I’ll die if you go…”

These timely words, from the novel I am reading, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, mix into the rip tide of similar discourse that is swirling on the surface of my current mind. Lately, in my life, as in Hosseini’s novel, I am dealing with the heroic and not-so-heroic ways in which characters are struggling to survive. And experiencing how one can be consumed by anger and maliciousness, grief and yearning. Continue reading

Save yourself

Words that delivered

In her memoir, Lucky, Alice Sebold said, “No one can pull anyone back from anywhere. You save yourself or you remain unsaved.”

It is true.

You have to save yourself (no one can pull you back from this place). You have to trust yourself. You have to be the expert on you, and your grief.

In my case, after the sudden death of my son, I withdrew, cocooned from the world, and ignored those who told me to do otherwise. I was the expert on my grief. This was my way.  Continue reading

My Butterfly: An Elegy

Butterfly

Landing on the Lantana beside my driveway and posing, a Passion Butterfly

Then when I was distraught
And could not speak,
Sidelong, full on my cheek,
What should that reckless zephyr fling
But the wild touch of thy dye-dusty wing!

I found that wing broken to-day!
For thou are dead, I said,
And the strange birds say.
I found it with the withered leaves
Under the eaves.

– From My Butterfly: An Elegy (published in 1894) by Robert Frost, American poet (and willower)

Finding New Meaning

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.

– Friedrich Nietzsche

How Do We Go On In The Aftermath Of Pain And Traumatic Loss?

The answer offered by well-known author and Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl is consistent with positive psychology, definitions of post-traumatic growth and the nature of the human spirit to hope.

Book Life

He suggests that we find new meaning in life, something that he recognizes as difficult in face of the tragic aspects of life–pain, guilt and death.

Frankl suggests that it is not a search for happiness, but for a reason to be happy despite suffering.

In his wisdom, Frankl clarified that finding a new meaning in life does not mean arriving at a single goal that will direct the rest of your life, or make sense of evil. Rather finding new meaning in life should be translated to finding a reason to go on, to having a purpose, to feeling valuable in the hour, the day, the week.

There is considerable power found in re-framing suffering into meaningful action. Be it walking for a cure, helping others with similar illness or turning suffering into human achievement.  Continue reading

Rebecca, my friend and confidant

Depression afflicts millions directly, and millions more who are relatives or friends of victims. It has been estimated that as many as one in ten Americans will suffer from the illness…which, in its graver, clinical manifestation takes upward of twenty percent of its victims by way of suicide.

– William Styron (1990), Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness

In memory

In memory of my longtime and loving friend, Rebecca Pratt (December 24, 1964 – January 28, 2013).

Rebecca

R was one of the wittiest, most intelligent, caring, and beautiful people I have had the privilege of knowing. She was my friend for almost three decades. She was my confidant and sometimes my therapist. She was an incredibly thoughtful card sender. She loved searching for and sending the perfect card in which she’d write, or quote, the perfect words. And her timing was perfect. If I mentioned to her that I had finished a writing piece and felt good about it, lo and behold, a one-of-a-kind congratulatory card would show up in my mailbox 48 hours later. Continue reading