Sep 07

Pain to Peace, Theoretically

The title, Pain to Peace, is the title of a section of the book I mentioned yesterday (Turning the Corner on Grief Street by Terri Daniel). I read the entire book by the way already. It gave me some comfort, and it was constructive. She writes it from a higher perspective, so if you are grieving and you aren’t ready to find any value in your life situation, this book isn’t for you.

I do want to stop here for a minute and say, that yes I am absolutely looking for meaning and value in the experience of Erin’s death. There HAS to be value in this, value for my soul’s growth and for hers. If not, then this is just a cruel, awful world and nothing that we do in our life matters. So yeah, I’m looking for answers, meaning, value, and anything else I can find. And that’s my higher perspective. I do not want to wake up in 10 years, or 20 years, and still live my life around this grief. I love Erin, and I will never forget ANY of this. But I do not want to live here on “Grief Street” forever. Where would the value in that be?

With that said, I find it interesting that during our ICU stay, Chaplain Mark at Children’s of Alabama came in one day and gave me a “worry stone,” and he had ordered them printed with many different mantras. He said that he was going to give me another one but he pulled out Peace, and wondered if that spoke to me. It did. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted peace in my life. I have had very little of it. I grew up with utter chaos and debauchery in my home, entered adulthood dysfunctional and full of my own drama, and without boring you with the in-between, I was burdened with my mother after 2007 when her husband died and left her destitute. In 2012 she moved in with us, with dementia, and we hoped that when we moved her to a nursing home in 2012 we would have PEACE. We did not, because Erin was sick, and it was a roller coaster. I needed peace so that I could find strength and balance while we were in the hospital. With peace I could overcome whatever I had to face, because then I could be more than just on autopilot. If you have ever meditated or something, you know what I mean. You connect with your soul and the universe (or God if that helps you to understand).

As you know I still do not have peace. And yes, I have considered that I am doomed to live a shitty ass life full of conflict, drama, and sadness. Why has so much happened to me? Ok, that’s victim mentality. Let’s remove the “to me” and let me restate – Why have so many upsetting things happened during this lifetime? I feel like a rat in someone’s maze. I perform then they change the maze on me. It stinks.

But I digress. Let me return to this lovely book that I enjoyed so much. She identified some items that help us through grief from a higher, more enlightened perspective. They weren’t foreign to me, but I did find her explanations helpful. The first one is, that we use painful situations to wake us up rather than put us to sleep. By we, she means our soul. This assumes that you have a belief that as she puts it, our life plans are done by “our own intention, our own higher selves or souls or God.” Let me just quote the entire paragraph:

“This means that we can choose to become angry and bitter, to shut people out, to feel victimized and to live a disconnected life ruled by fear. That would be sleep. Or we could learn to notice all the miraculous events that occur around the edges of any painful experience and realize that these events are roadmaps leading to new possibilities. Taking it one step further, it is, in fact, our own intention, or own higher selves or souls or God, whatever we choose to call it, that brought forth the painful situation and created its gifts in the first place.”

When I began writing this evening, I was very raw and had been crying for a little while. I had been playing the game Diablo with Shaun, but instead of enjoying it the last area we played through I had continuous flashbacks of the one day that they woke Erin from her induced coma. I could see her open her eyes, and move her arms and legs. I could see her nodding her head that she heard me. I do not know what I said to her, though. I remember smiling. I left that evening and went to the hotel to sleep, thinking she was better, and arrived the next morning to find out they re-induced the coma. She was never conscious again, and I never got a second chance to speak with her. It breaks my heart, and I wish I had told her so many things. I honestly, at least consciously, had no idea that would be the last time we would see each other as two awake, conscious people. I feel that I wasted it, that I didn’t comfort her enough, that Mommy wasn’t there. I wasted her last day before the coma too. My cousin and Aunt were there, and I visited with them for a few hours outside of the room. How could I not have known how serious this was? How could I not have seen it coming? This is something only I can get past, for myself. I am not done grieving.

I am not done grieving. But I know what I need to do, and I know other things too. I know that I have already received gifts from her death that I would not have received otherwise.

  • Her death left me empty, as if someone had completely burned me up to nothing but a shell. I now have the opportunity to move forward without some baggage I previously carried. Realizing that none of the crap I focused on prior was important, I can move forward without it. For example, I seemed to have a focus on lack of money before. Now I could care less – the fear is gone. I have nothing of value to lose. Things are just things, and I can get new things. I cannot replace Erin. What else is there to fear losing? What else was more important? The answer is nothing.
  • I reconnected in a loving, kind, positive way with old friends, some of who I haven’t seen or spoken to in many years. Their kindness has been overwhelming. I met new friends, some who just happened upon our story, and I have had the same experience with them. Erin’s spirit just lit up the kindness out there and showed it to me in a huge way. I admit I had become jaded about people, because us Humans have the tendency to suck. I am now filled with gratitude.
  • I have been forced into change. Change, sometimes, comes harshly as it has for me. But change always brings about, well, change. It’s up to me what I do with it. Perhaps if she had been here, I would not become whomever I am to become. What if I was the one that brings world peace, and I don’t because I had a child at home I don’t want to leave, or because I feared for her safety? Yes, I know, unlikely examples but they made the point. I have no idea who I am going to become, but I hope that I honor her with whatever it is.

I can’t come up with anything else constructive right now, as this has made me cry some and I’m emotional. I am still grieving. I am still very sad, and I still would give up absolutely anything to have her back. But I know that’s not happening in this timeline, and since there are no time-travel machines handy, I know I have to move on without her. I still don’t know how, or when, or even if I will succeed in doing that.

Tomorrow I’ll include the second item in this chapter of the book. I think it will give me a lot to talk about and ponder.

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