07 August 2010

The Dropoff

There's that scene in Finding Nemo where Marlin and Coral find themselves face-to-face with a huge badmutha of a barracuda.  The barracuda is hovering there in open water like a demon.  This image hasn't left my head since I saw it for the first time years ago.  I tell myself its only a movie, but my subconscious says otherwise.  This time of year, the demons hang close, reaching out to pull me into the deep.

As many long-time readers already know, it was in August seven years ago that my preemie infant son died, about 2-1/2 weeks after his twin sister had passed away.  The road out of the badlands of grief has been long and difficult.  The heart of summer has never been easy for me since that time, although I had begun to achieve some balance.  It had been a delicate balance with constant adjustment.  This balance was lost and any peace of mind was lost last year.

Also as many readers already know,  my Big Bro suddenly passed away last August just one day after my son's date.  So the dog days of summer began then, and continued this year, with a horrific 1-2 punch to the heart and soul of me and others.  Suffice to say it is understatement to call August a 'difficult' month, emotionally. This August has been particularly bad.  Well, this summer in general has been bad. I've been brittle and melancholy and snappish and exhausted and out of it.  Now I know why, although I'm always surprised now at how I'm surprised by these feelings.

I feel as if the road out of the badlands has been a steep climb up with a sudden plunge into the abyss.  I find myself clinging to the precipice as tightly as I can, but my legs are dangling out over depths that fade from violet to purple to black.  Over my shoulder, I can see that barracuda hovering above the inky black, eyes and teeth aglitter in the pale light from above.  He darts in now and again to test my defenses but hasn't gone in for the kill.  I flail and swing, hoping to fend it off for another day.

I'm not sure how long this state of affairs will last.  Part of me keeps fighting, and that part is exhausted.  Another part just wants to let go and get it over with.  All of me wants to get away from the dropoff.  It is mighty cold and lonely when you miss your blood, so much.


  1. *hugs*

    There's no way out but through. I know that some parts of that abyss. There are a lot of ups and downs and no way to predict them, really, and I feel you on the exhaustion and wanting to let go. I haven't been at it as long as you have, but I have some idea of the pain. It has been a hell of a summer. I hope you get some good rest (that seems to go first, the ability to sleep) and spend time with good friends and, if you need it, let yourself fall apart.

    Good luck. You aren't as alone as you feel right now. *more hugs*

  2. I cannot begin to imagine the loss of a child. My mother lost her 18 month old son and was never the same. Let these experiences make you a more full version of who you are meant to be - don't let it break you. Be the man your babies would have grown up to adore, and you are living for them in the most beautiful day.

    The only thing that helped me with my own grief when I lost my father, truly, was talking to other people who'd lost a parent. The only people I knew who truly understood. If you haven't already, find people who share your pain. Because guess what, it will never go away. The reminders may distance themselves in lesser occurrences but as I'm sure you know, the scars will always be there. It's how we choose to live our lives without these individuals that will help define us.

    PS - the book "Good Grief" is amazing. My friend who lost her mother loaned me this and it was a tremendous help in understanding the depths of my own pain.

  3. I'd like to offer to share a story with you that has touched me in a profound way. It is a real story about the loss of a loved one. As wendryn said, there's not a way for you to magically skip through any of the steps in your journey, you actually have to take each step. We all do. And then sometimes a few of the pieces of our puzzle of life snap into place and the sun shines a little brighter for a while. Anyway, that's the way I responded to this particular story. Let me know if you are at all interested in a retelling. I don't presume to have any answers and certainly don't want to pass along anything that might be considered unsolicited advice.

    take care! more hugs from TX

  4. I've never lost a child. I've lost a parent. I've lost blood.

    My parents lost their eldest son when he was 11. My brother. They never dealt with the emotions or spoke about it and it changed our family dynamics forever.

    Walk through the fire my friend. Cry. Talk about it. Don't avoid it.


  5. i can only echo what others have said, sugar. the only way to get through such profound loss is to go through it. we can't hide from our grief and sorrow. i tried and it nearly killed me and what was left of my family. you have my heart and my support. xoxoxo

  6. Have faith Irish. You will come out on the other side.

    I was hiking this morning with my I-shuffle and the CCR song, "Have you ever seen the rain" came on. It hit home as this last year has been a very difficult one for me. The calm. The storm. The rain that washes you clean, just before the sunshine.

  7. "Another part just wants to let go..."

    The mighty Step One. Do it. Cry, sleep, wail, whatever it takes.

    On many occasions, I tell myself "you've got to get through this" when what I really mean is "You've got to get past this." Getting past it is a lie, and a dishonour to those you loved, and still love.

    Go through it.

    I don't mean to sound flip, but if I were you, I'd consciously declare August an official Grief Month. Resign yourself to the fact that you'll be angry, sad, unsociable, weepy, needy, and stuffed to the gills with comfort food.

    August therapy? Redouble the time you spend giving love to those close to you.

    And that means giving love to yourself, too. Love in the form of time. Time alone, time with friends, time with family, time with a lover, time in the gym or cinema or bar or church or pizza parlor or mountaintop.

    Grief is shock and shock is physical. The sheer physical sensations of grief, in a perverse way, can be life-affirming. If you hurt, you sure as hell know you're alive. And life, above all else, powers love.

    (I seem to have written those sentences to grieving friends rather a lot, of late. Perhaps Ausgust is a bad month.)

    Grief is an irresistable force. Bend to it, IG.

    Love to you and yours.

  8. let it last as long as it needs to last...and not one minute longer. Grief is not a quantifiable entity. it takes its time and does what it wants. When you are ready to be done with it, you will be.

  9. you grieve because you love. and you, friend, are an intense sort of fellow, so both grief and love are going to affect you intensely. give yourself permission to have both.

  10. Seven years? I remember those funerals like yesterday also.... but I wasn't aware of the loss of your brother so close in the calendar. I'm so sorry to hear it.

    I think maybe losing the weight of grief is not unlike losing excess physical weight: the only healthy way to go about it is a frustratingly slow process. There's no quick fix that doesn't ultimately make things worse, but in time, the change accumulates.

    You are so strong and capable, and adept at finding light. Hang in there.

    Also - there's this: http://www.youtube.com/user/guillaumenery#p/a/u/1/uQITWbAaDx0

  11. Good luck as always Irish, the abyss has a strange way of opening our eyes sometimes...

  12. So much death is hard to take so grieving is needed. All the aspects of grieving. It takes a while to get over the loss of those we love. Yet, I am glad to have grieved and to have had the loved ones in my life. From the moment we are born, we begin dying. It is a process and understanding that has helped me to move on.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...