A Letter to People in Pain: The Early Days of Grief Are a World of Their Own

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
A Letter to People in Pain: The Early Days of Grief Are a World of Their Own
I remember those early days.

When the life you expected to unfold disappears: vaporized.

When the world has split open and nothing makes sense.

When people talk at you and for you and around you, and not only do you no longer understand what they’re saying, you no longer care.

Your life was normal, and then, suddenly, it was not.

When out-of-order death enters your life, everything changes.

It’s like being in a crowded movie theater. Everyone starts out watching the same picture, exactly the one they bought tickets for, exactly the same one as advertised.

At some point, the screen rips in two, it shatters, and a whole new film begins. This one is surreal and strange, a horror show where there wasn’t one before. The characters have changed, the stage set is wrong. There are three moons in the sky, and this wasn’t science fiction when it started.

But the worst thing — the worst thing — is not that the movie has changed, but that no one else has noticed that it’s changed. They are all still watching as though nothing has happened. No one seems to notice that the screen has split and morphed, that everything is different now.

If you make a sound, if you say “Wait. WAIT — this is all wrong now!” They pat your arm and whisper, “Shh. It’s totally fine. It’s just a movie. It’ll work out fine. What a great story, and pass the popcorn please.”

You know that what they’re watching isn’t real. It’s a play of light and shadow that can stop at any time, mid-story, mid-sentence, mid-life. But until they see the screen you see, they will never understand.

If out-of-order death has shown up in your life, here is what you should know: Early grief is largely this — crashing again and again into a reality that can’t be real. Seeing the movie of your life shift reels with no warning; being forced to watch a story play out against a screen that cannot hold it in.

It’s an impossibility without release.

There is no neat-and-tidy road map. There are no answers. There is no way to right a universe that is so tilted, so completely wrong.

This is not the time for future plans. This is not the time for discussions about whether you will “be better later.” Later is irrelevant.

Now is all there is.

If you’re here, in the early days, and the universe has just split open and everything has changed, I’m sorry you’re here. Others have come before you, but that doesn’t really matter now. What matters is that the sky is wrong, and life is wrong, and you need someone to see it, to acknowledge it. To say — this is fucked up shit that just happened here.

You need someone to hold your hands while you stand there in blinking horror, staring at the hole that was your life.

Acknowledgement in everything.

Let’s call it as it is.

This sucks. It’s all wrong. There is nothing to do but to hold that horror, to send love down into that abyss.

This is all so horribly, horribly wrong. And I’m so sorry that you’re here.

Megan Devine is a writer, grief advocate, and clinical counselor. She stands beside that abyss of pain with people every day. Join Megan in the 30 day Write Your Grief e-course. Register by 3/23 for this session. You can also schedule a free 30 minute phone call to talk about your grief by clicking here to choose a time on her calendar.

The Intervention That Saved Me From A Life Of Burnout
Theresa Merrill knew she was devoting too much time to work when she got a dose of reality from her daughter.

Merrill’s work schedule as a consultant in clinical research meant she was always traveling, and she didn’t feel she was seeing her daughter enough, she told HuffPost Live’s Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. So when the opportunity arose to work at home, she took it — without realizing it would mean she’d be working for 12 to 15 hours every day.

“My daughter came to me and said, ‘You’re here but you’re not here, and I prefer that you get a job where you’re gone so that when you’re here I can at least interact with you,'” Merrill said.

Did you get a new job? New spouse? New city? We want to hear from you! Share your stories of life-changing breakthrough moments with HuffPost’s Third Metric at themoment@huffingtonpost.com.

The S&M Experience
Do you remember the first time you heard the “S” (sir) word or the “M” (ma’am) word when someone was addressing you? In the timeline of maturity this event stands stark in many people’s memories. The first time I got “ma’am-ed,” I actually turned around to see who the person was talking to. It certainly could not have been me! I was a mere 30-something.

After doing some very scientific research — I queried three of my brothers; two male business associates; four women friends; the man in my life; my hairstylist; and two complete strangers — I can report that it appears that men and women perceive the “S&M experience” in quite different manners. Men seem to swell a bit with the “S” word and women would rather misbelieve the “M” word has been aimed their way at all.

My younger brother recalls that the first time he heard the “S” word was when he was togged out in a business suit at the age of about 29. The “sir” appellation pleased him mightily and helped to square his shoulders as he was walking into a business meeting. “Well, I must certainly look the part,” he remembered thinking with an added swiffle of confidence.

The man in my life and my oldest brother said that they had both been “sir-ed” for so long that neither could remember the onset of this address mode. As both of these fine male specimens are well over 6 feet tall, I wonder if aerial design has something to do with the “S” word. Though, my eldest sibling did say that “boss” now seems to be replacing the somewhat more elegant “S” word. This is a sign of our cultural slant towards the more casual, I am sure.

The “M” word seems to have a much more powerful effect on the female of the species. My four female friends had some definite input on the subject. We as a sex are, for the most part, not at all pleased with being addressed as “ma’am.” Speaking from the receiving end of this mode of hallooing, the “M” word implies fustiness and a definite lack of sex appeal and feminine wile.

We gals will complain about a “Hey, baby!” while secretly enjoying that we still have “it.” But the mouthing of a “ma’am” our way causes an inward cringe and an immediate inventory. “When did I cross the line from cool to dowdy? Ouch!” This sentiment will quite often be followed by a covert checking of our reflections in a frozen-food case glass or a storefront window.

One of my business associates said that the first time he was “sir-ed,” he thought the person was talking to his father. His father was nowhere in sight, but that did not dissuade him from this firm conviction. The two strangers I queried looked at me more than oddly when I asked them about their “S” or “M” experience. Either they could not remember the event or they did not speak English.

My hairstylist advised me of one venue where the “S&M” question falls into an entirely divergent framework. This distinction occurs in the “True” South, which is geographically located north of Ft. Lauderdale, south of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi River. Here, the use of the words “ma’am” and “sir” are so inbred as the proper form of address for anyone over the age of their majority, that it is the lack of this prescribed polite conversational prelude that flicks an eyebrow skyward.

I began this exercise thinking that the “S” word and the “M” word were possibly perceived by both males and females as uninvited evidence that they had arrived at the “mature” mark in their lives. But my “study” seems to indicate that this is not the case at all. Men hear the “S” word as their “due” and women hear the “M” word as they’re “done.”

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