Saturday, September 20, 2014

To live expectantly not with expectations

I have put off writing this for so long, I now have people emailing me or asking what’s up?  Seems strange as I write this for myself in order to understand and process. Partly I have slowed the blogging down as I write and process enormous amounts through my Arts therapy training, after that there seems little else to say.

One month ago

I am sitting out on my deck with a warm norwester wind blowing. Mango and a piece of the moon are keeping me company. Its a break from the winter of the past month and the cold has disappeared for a smidge .I expect with all of this that snow isn’t far away but for the moment its strangeness is appreciated.
I have found it difficult to know where to start writing this time, my energy has been so dispersed between various things, Study , nursing , volunteering at plunket plus house and kids. It seemed like a good idea at the time to do all of this, I have been accustomed to being super woman for so long what else was there to do. Plus in grief you either stop and don’t move at all or you just keep moving - I guess to get somewhere else, its natural to move away from pain.
 But my body has finally given me the message to stop. I hurt my back in Pilates on Tuesday and it has been in spasm ever since. My body reflecting my life. I over extended and it has had consequences. Tonight for the first time I sense some relief happening. The meds are totally messing with my head, it has been problematic concentrating on study and boy is there a lot this month.
I came back from Auckland this time prepared to make some decisions about what to let go as I knew I was stretched, but when it came down to it I was still working out how to manage everything. I don’t like letting people down but in that process I was letting myself down.
I hit what is sometimes called rock bottom a few weeks back. It’s surprisingly ok down here. It was excruciating on the way down, but now I am here I feel very calm and peaceful. There is no where else to go.  It’s restful , like on the bottom of a pond. I can peer up and see light way way up through the water. The weeping started up again once I landed, not the normal crying that I have got used to but different, but a steady insistent weep. A soaking rain of tears. I talked with Zach about this, he shared that he was in the same place and described his tears the same way. Softer. There are so many layers to this grief and so many different types of crying.
Someone said to me ‘I guess you get a fright sometimes and get sad when something happens to remind you.’ Such a strange comment I guess they have never experienced the death of someone close.  How to explain to them that there is never a moment where he is not with me. I carry him so close. Its not some thing you choose or a decision you make consciously, it just is.

This month I have noticed a shift in where I am. It feels like at a cellular level,like all the plates in my body have shifted. A seismic shift.  I don’t know how else to explain it. It has come about through some intense self work in arts therapy. I did a drawing the other day about voice. I drew a warbler singing in a dark forest. I was not particularly happy with what I drew but as I wrote into the picture I realized that it was what it was and sometimes we just need to sing anyway regardless of the situation Acceptance as a word rose up from this.
I am looking up and out and through it. I can note with a little irony that I am exhibiting a textbook example here of the grief process, In this I also aware of its mercurial nature.  A book I m reading at the moment discusses the alchemy of grief.  I am being transformed from the inside out.
I would have Gary back but I wouldn’t trade what I have learnt and who I am becoming in and through this process.
I have been practicing Gratitude (yes practicing) and it is worthwhile. Up to 21 days so far and counting. Every night before you go to bed write down three things you are grateful for in the day and then expand on the why of them. That’s the important part and that is what will guarantee you continue.
I feel quieter, the practice of gratitude is something that is so simple but really quite profound in how it works. It promotes being mindful as I look for things in the day to write about and therefore notice, sit with and appreciate them at the same time.
I have been dancing, I made myself a playlist of music I can move to and it is so good. I am moving and loving that.
Loved the paper I have just completed. Incredibly full and challenging as always but I can see how and where I might work. Getting some skills together.
Now all this is good stuff and I am moving, I would like to add that in amongst it I also trolleyed myself on honey bourbon a few weeks back. Actually felt like a right of passage and a really good letting go. I just felt like doing whatever I wanted so I did. I put music on( loud) and I danced and drank and let go. Was a bit urgh for a few days after but worth it.
I looked forward to coming away to Auckland this visit and feel settled here now. Not so much of the homesickness that has been with me. Appreciating the adventure and the opportunity.
I just had a night out at a pub with a young friend listening to live music. I had googled gigs at home looking for some live music. Delighted that it was right on my doorstep in Parnell. It was great I felt filled up and energised.
I went frock shopping with an old school friend in Ponsonby for a couple of hours this weekend. Was such fun, lots of laughing. Easy and familiar and I came away with a smile and a frock at the end of the day.
My back is on the mend
Zach is leaving home. This is good and and sad and timely.
Hana is settled with her boy in Welly, and thinking about career options for next year.
Macker in Cairns for a bit longer selling the coconut and loving being outdoors and fit. Also doing some web development. Heading to Melbourne at some stage soon.
My darling Mango is a tad older and slower but still my constant wee companion. He’s funny and good company.


  1. Dear Kat, Love this post. Respect your courage, love your honesty. Love you. Hope your back continues to mend. Self kindness is a wonderful thing...Jo F


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