Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Settling In

I'm back at seminary. We are on a quarter system and my first class was yesterday.

Last night, my friends at home gathered after a Taize service, around an altar lit only by candles, to mark the year since Musical Friend's husband died. My husband described it as "terrible, somber, the family much less controlled than they had been at the funeral." That initial shock creates such a protective veneer, seared away a year later. And I had not really thought ahead to what it would be like for my husband, just as I had not thought ahead a couple of weeks ago to what it would be like for me to go into a funeral home. I keep forgetting that we are not who we were.

I have already written in other places that I had read that the sixth to eighth months are bad, really bad, as the shock finally wears off and the real reality sets in. Now, on the outside, we look functional. I go to class, I take notes, I laugh with friends over lunch. I have moments off and on all day when something reminds me of that real reality and I stop breathing and wonder whether I can get to the next minute, but I do. I had a meltdown during an exam a couple of weeks ago as I looked at the questions and the words swam off the page and I realized that I knew nothing, absolutely nothing -- but I was able to compose myself in a few minutes out of the room and return to fill a bluebook with -- something. Yesterday there was a moment in class when the professor said something, something meant to be encouraging and inspiring, and I wanted to flatten myself into the floor and melt away. Intention and effect so seldom merge these days.

Gal wonders whether the word trauma is too dramatic. Oh ~ no. I responded in her comments that if this were physical, we would be covered in bruises, our joints would be swollen, our bones cracked, our blood sometimes seeping through our skin. It only sounds like a melodramatic word because on the outside we look like ordinary people living ordinary lives.


Last week-end, two of my friends, in two different contexts and conversations, referred to blogging as navel-gazing. I decided both times that it probably wasn't the moment to reveal that I have been blogging away for ~ I think it's five years this month.


But I do hope I don't sound whiny. Grief is a self-absorbed process, but I am merely trying to record it as I experience it. I'm not under any illusion that I am the only one.


Cross-posted from
Desert Year, my other navel-gazing home.


Presbyterian Gal said...

You've lost a cherished part of yourself. You can try all you want to think of it as the part living in another space, but it's still physically missing from your physical body. That takes getting used to. It's not something one would ever be happy with. The best one can achieve is peaceful coexistence and acceptance. That takes a chunk load of time.

Many well intentioned, caring people accidentally knock scabs off.

And if you need to whine, I'll be happy to listen.

Carol said...

Whiny? GG? NEVER. Introspective and open at the same time? Absolutely. I'll continue to navel gaze as long as you continue to let us into your world. You have taught me so terribly much.

Lisa :-] said...

Navel-gazing? Why do people have to dis what they don't understand?

After my sister died, I literally could not go inside a hospital, or any kind of large medical facility, without having a panic attack. For quite awhile. I was still having trouble with it four years later when my dad became ill.

Those things stick with you and just become part of your life.

Ruby said...

Navel gazing? Nope. It can't be just navel-gazing when your words are so thought-provoking. Your posts are challenging, sometimes searing, sometimes comforting, and always worth reading and considering.

Please take good and gentle care of yourself.

Julia said...

whiney? are you kidding? not a CHANCE IN HELL I would call this whining. I went through the death of my father 3 years ago and everything you write makes me remember specific moments of the horrendous grief process. only a person living an insulated life could call your writing whining. I think your writing is amazing and open and very brave. can you tell I feel a bit strongly about this? : )

Stratoz said...

personally I love whiny folk and that is the ONLY reason I stop by ;')

yes, MW got it right I am a goof....


Anonymous said...

GG, in no way whatsoever do you sound whiny. I am amazed at your controlled ability to express what you do. Just the fact that you can do this at all.... I'm sure I'm not alone in realizing that you are giving us but the tip of the iceberg and that even that portion touches and moves us readers deeply.

Trauma. What other word could possibly fit any better. At least, the one to use in "polite company".

I would think that blogging could afford one to express somewhat safely those things that we may chose to hold back from those closest to us perhaps in order not to overburden them or to protect them from our own ponderings. Sometimes, we've just got to unload some of our thoughts and get a different perspective. If that's considered navel-gazing by some, so be it.

Do what you gotta do, G. (((((((((((GG))))))))))))


Jan said...

Some people say contemplative prayer is navel gazing too. It's an important prayer we all need to be trying.

I would not call blogging navel gazing if others read and respond. Friends are made, which is much more than navel gazing.

That was just the end of your vulnerable post. Sorry I got carried away.

GG, you are going ahead, despite the loss and grief that are part of you. You are doing so much more than could be expected. You are doing well. prayers always.

Purple said...

If we never naval-gaze...we miss seeing/validating our lives from a unique perspective.

Anonymous said...

I NEVER read whiney in your posts. Introspective. Pain-filled. Aching. Funny. Observant. NEVER whiney.

I've not been a blogger nearly as long as you... but I don't blog to navel gaze... and I don't think anyone I read does either. It seems as if we blog to get the nasty stuff outside of us... so that we... along with others... can examine it... and discern what to do with it.

If on the off chance... you decide to whine... it's your blog... have at it!

((((o)))) because I haven't given you one in a long time!