3 of Swords

downloadSo many of you have encouraged me not to censor myself here and I really appreciate that. I cannot think of a time in my life when I have felt so ripped open and raw. I guess that’s logical and when I write it, I have a moment of “duh-ness” but it still surprises me that I feel so wounded.

It’s not that I ever thought I would be “okay” when Jasmine died. I have given this time a great deal of thought over the past several years and wondered how I would cope. I had a clue – I did – but I just couldn’t have anticipated the depth. It feels like my heart has been pierced and every sorrow I’ve ever kept in there, even ones not directly related to Jasmine, is just spilling out. My heart is the 3 of Swords, except that instead of three swords, they are legion.

The main thing I am dealing with currently is a plethora of seemingly opposing emotions. I am deeply sad that Jasmine is gone, but relieved not to have to be so damned intimate with the medical world. I am joyful about the prospects of a move, a new house and closer proximity to family in Arizona, but mournful that Jasmine won’t be there to share it. I celebrate the completely oblivious joy that Nina brings every day while I grieve for the joy I miss without Jasmine. I used to feel like I knew my emotional landscape so well, but lately there are valleys I didn’t know existed and mountains I’ve never seen. Somehow, even though I feel like I am occasionally drowning in grief, my life is still going on and I still feel joy and anticipation.

I’ve vented to many of you recently about the general suckitude of the grieving books about bereaved parents I’ve been reading. The one that proclaims itself the “standard” is so woefully out of sync with what I’m experiencing that I’m glad I know myself well enough not to doubt my own evaluation of things. It tells me that Jeff and I should not be able to support each other, that Jeff (because he’s a man, of course) will not be able to access his emotions as well as I can (because I’m a woman, of course). Talk about having it completely backwards! There are lots of admonishments about grieving the “right way” which is, naturally, the author’s way, and if I am grieving in some other way, then I’m not doing it right. According to the book, I should be so in the depths of my grief, that I am unable to operate in the world and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I almost feel as if the author would accuse me of not caring enough if she saw that I have continued, albeit at a reduced pace, to live my life even though it sucks right now. The book is very dualistic – you are either this or you are that – and there is a lot of Abrahamic philosophy underlying the ideas about death, which I understand is hard to escape in our society. It was written in 1977, so I’m trying to cut the author some slack, but it’s been pretty frustrating.

I have felt called by this experience to write something (like something that I could publish). Many readers of this diary and the email updates I’ve sent out over the years have encouraged me also, and the other day I had a vision that was presented to me in a meditation of a book that I had written. Actually, it was a manuscript, but the point is, I can feel that book building inside me. So I’ll give myself a year to get through this immediate process, then I will try to write a book. Right now I’m pretty much thinking it needs to be a book for non-Christian grieving parents, but we’ll see how I feel then.

Anyway, we are continuing to live this life in the After world, continuing to experience joy in our other children. We are on for our move to Arizona and are beginning to earnestly research the opening of my store there. There is much to be done with our house here before we can sell it and leave.

Jamaica looms only a week and a half away. I am really looking forward to it. I have been writing a ritual in my head for the dispersing of Jasmine’s ashes and it is very basic, elemental and natural. It will be a nice way to return her physical remains to the Mother. I don’t know if it will help the ache I feel every time I think of holding her in my arms and then realize that I can’t, but I can only hope it brings some kind of peace.

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