Friday, May 1, 2009

Good Grief

There's something about grieving that's...mysterious.

That's what he said. And that's what I needed to hear.

Of course we'd also hit the basics. The five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. It's funny how you can hear this stuff over and over, think you're so emotionally intelligent, and then completely miss what's going on in your own life. Until your therapist points it out. So part of recovery is facing the grief of loss, even when the losing is intentional, as in letting go of your addictions and the people who've dragged you down.

Not that this is anything new for me. Losing Lita, now that was grief. Linsey and I were young, and naïve, and idealistic. Somehow we got the idea in our heads that we were supposed to adopt Lita, a seven-year-old foster child in my wife's classroom. It didn't work out. And I still don't really understand what happened there. She was never mine to lose in the first place, so why did it hurt so bad? The last day we ever saw Lita, I ran to the store to buy her a gift. Maybe no one noticed the grown man weeping as he looked for a “goodbye” card in the aisles of Food 4 Less, but I know I wasn't alone. Because for some reason that day every angel and muse of longing and heartbreak ascended on me to play me a song, and instead of background muzak I heard these words:

There are roads that can take you to places that you've never been.
There are people, when you meet them it's like they have lived inside your skin.
There are souls you connect with so strong, a bond that's so deep and so true.
And that's the way I feel about you.

There are times, like a magnet you're drawn into some body's life.
You don't know what you're doing or why you are there, but you know it's right.
There's a sense that the piece that was missing has suddenly come into view.
And that's the way I feel about you.

I believe in this world there is nothing that happens by chance.
There's a reason that at just this particular moment you came into my hands.
Like a gift that you never expected you treasure your whole life through.
And that's the way I feel about you.

Lita's ghost haunts my River Isis. I'm not afraid of her, nor am I ashamed of her presence. Because loving Lita was a good and beautiful thing, something that Linsey and I did together, with nothing but good intentions. And that kind of grieving I'm OK with. My struggle is in allowing myself to grieve those things that I'm ashamed of.

[Photo by tavopp under C.C.License]


  1. I'm going to catch up on your posts over at TSR. Thanks Eli.

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    mile 191

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