Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

21 June, 2015

SADLY THERE ARE NO DO-OVERS IN BEING A FATHER

Fathers Day 2015...Hmmmm!

What kind of father have I been over the course of the last 55 years?  That's a difficult question to answer.  Truth be known, I am rather afraid of the answer.

The only father I was ever exposed to was Ken Wright and he died when I was 13-years-of-age.  The impressionable years of my life were smack-dab in the middle of World War Two.  My father's business was in Chatham during that time period and because of the war "rationing" imposition, he was only able to accumulate enough gas coupons to allow him to make a once-a-week, 18-mile trip to our home in Dresden on Saturday evenings after closing up his shop.  He slept on a cot in the second floor King Street West location in Chatham through the week.  I do not know where he ate or what he ate.  He was subject to migraine headaches and I do know that he went through countless bottles of AlkaSeltzer each week...It was often my job to empty the garbage.

When the war ended, Ken had the better part of five years to be with us full-time at home in Dresden before his untimely death at 52 years of age.  In those few short years he taught me the meaning of fatherly nurturing, support and dedication.  We got by with very little in terms of material necessities, but we were together as a family unit and that was all that mattered.

As a father myself in the 1960s and '70s, I too was pre-occupied with a demanding career and making a living.  In addition, I always had one or two part-time jobs and found time to be involved in minor sports and the Boy Scouts/Big Brothers movements, just to mention a few volunteer activities -- giving back to the community, as it were.  In between times I was the "dad" of two young girls who I suspect grew up to be beautiful women (and mothers) in spite of me...All due credit to their mother.

I was a cautious father, not wanting to smother my girls but at the same time being fully available to them -- when I was not otherwise involved outside the home.  For some unexplainable reason, I fear that I withheld a certain amount of affection, you know of the hugs-and-kisses variety...Still do for that matter...And that bothers me, and no doubt down deep it bothers them too. In retrospect, I fear that I could have done a better job. How much better, I cannot really say.  Maybe it's self inflicted fatherly second guessing in wishing that I could do it all over again

But, know what?...You only get one crack at being a father and you have to live with what was, not what should have been in a perfect world.  With any luck, you do some of the important things right...And your kids love you in spite of yourself, and because in there mind you did your best.

Children are very forgiving in that way...Thank God!

I love you too girls!!!

20 June, 2015

FATHERS DAY, 1938-2015

My father Ken first showed me the light of day, March 1, 1938...In that same context, I've been looking for another glimpse of it most of my life.
Fathers Day 1943

14 June, 2015

WHAT'S A GUY TO DO ON A LAZY, RAINY SUNDAY?


It's a lazy, rainy Sunday...And I planned to do so many outside chores today.

Oh well, I can always do the laundry and some vacuuming.  I also notice that dust has accumulated in certain areas of the house and I really should take care of that too.  Then there's bedding that needs to be changed and a lunch to consider before long.

Makes me tired just thinking about it!

Maybe I'll put wife Rosanne on notice and just lay down for a while with my girl Lucy and watch a bit of the Blue Jays ball game on TV -- and grab a few winks while I'm at it...Whichever comes first.

After all, it's a lazy, rainy Sunday!

12 June, 2015

A DAD WHO TAUGHT HIS YOUNG SON TO BE "A MAN”

Occasionally on Wrights Lane I share with readers stories about people who have touched a certain chord with me.  Now that Father’s Day is just around the corner, I cannot think of a better time to introduce new author Joel L.A. Peterson who brings to his writing a unique personal background as a biracial international adoptee and combines it with penetrating insights into multiple cultures to create an exceptionally enthralling and inspirational story.  By special agreement, I have arranged to publish the following touching story in which Joel writes about “Being a Real Man:  Lessons From My Dad”.  This is really more than a Father’s Day story, however…It is about two people who chose to be the adoptive parents of a young boy from a far-away land and subseqently taught him a life-altering lesson about “being a man” when he needed it the most.  More about his new book later…Meantime, over to Joel.

By Joel L. A. Peterson

“Let us pray!” My dad’s bass voice rumbled as he bowed his head.


JOEL PETERSON
I was a 16-year-old who had been adopted at age six – a fact about me that would play a crucial role this day. Our house was Mom’s pride and joy. Anyone who walked into Ellen Linquist’s home knew exactly what holiday season it was—all the major and minor holidays and everyone’s birthday.  I think Dad loved our home all the more for the “Ellen Lindquist-ness” of it.  He was an accountant and it appealed to him—order, seasons, rules.  But this day Mom’s rules – and Dad’s words – would change me forever.
After grace, I reached over to the box of Raisin Bran when mother fixed her bright blue eyes on me.  “Noah, isn’t that the same shirt that you wore yesterday?” I drew my hand back from the cereal box.  “You need to go back upstairs and change your shirt, young man.” 

“But it’s not dirty!” I objected.
“You know the rules in our house, no son of mine is going to leave this house wearing the same shirt two days in a row.”  Something about her words seemed to pull a grenade pin inside me.  “So changing a stupid shirt is what makes me your son? It’s good to know what makes me fit to be your son. Since I’m NOT your son, I am not changing my shirt!”

I didn’t know what had come over me. I shouted these last words at my mother. There was something about the words “no son of mine” that set off that emotional grenade inside me and shattered the shrapnel of my teenage insecurities along with other inner demons – demons that hide inside most adoptees – who now were screaming things through my mouth at my mother. I was shocked and enraged at the same time.
There was always a trickle of blood inside my soul from a wound that could never fully heal. And there simply existed too many questions surrounding my identity that no one else could comprehend.  And in the mirror, my Asian face screamed at least one of the answers every day, an answer I did not want to hear.  “No son of mine.”

I ran up the stairs and into my room, slamming the door behind me.  A few minutes later, there was a knock on my bedroom door.  “Mind if I come in, Son?” My dad’s voice sounded muffled through the door.
Dad stepped through the door into my small bedroom. I kept staring out my window as I sat on my bed. Dad sat down next to me. The bed sunk down noticeably under his weight. He too stared out the room’s window.

Elmore Lindquist was not a man for elegant words or eloquent phrasing. And though my dad would later completely forget this episode and this conversation, I would not. I would remember every word.  And Dad found an eloquence—at least that day, at that time.
He almost never called me by my name, Noah, but nearly always addressed as me “Son.” It never occurred to my father how much that simple word always meant to me, coming from a man like him. I had never had a man in my life until I was adopted at age seven.  Most of the men that I had met before adoption were through my birth mother, and there was always something off-putting, something not right. I could feel that the men were there for a purpose not linked to me. They were creatures focused on my mother as she prostituted herself to feed and care for me.  And my birth mother was a world apart from Ellen Lindquist.  But they shared the same intense love for me.

I had grown with up seeing nothing very positive regarding men or being a man -- until Elmore Lindquist.  Elmore was married to a trim, attractive woman who had the classic blond haired, dancing blue-eyed combination of her Swedish blood and an air of energy and efficiency that hinted at her nursing school training. She smiled easily and often and had a musical laugh. She was Doris Day, but slighter and far more intelligent. And she was everyone’s “go to” girl.  Her sense of what her faith required was amazing to behold and led her to embrace the hardest jobs, the least desired tasks.  Every neighbor and community member said so in our small Minnesota town.
Dad was a new sort of creature to me. At six-foot two, he was a physical presence, but was never physical. He never seemed to get sick or tired or impatient or demanding. He would drive endless hours along endless miles of highways during summer vacations, enduring endless hours of children squabbling about touching each other and whining for bathrooms. He could execute unending honey-do lists and chores he would never have thought to invent. He just was. He was a constant, dependable, working, providing presence of strength and good humor, perfectly paired with a smarter, stronger, and more faith-driven Doris Day of a wife.

Dad cleared his throat. “Son, I just want to share with you a little something I’ve learned. There are two people in this world that a man shouldn’t argue with. One is his wife. The other is his mother. Just because.  It’s that simple. A man just doesn’t argue with either.  And your mom is truly your mother in every way that is meaningful.” 
He paused and from the corner of my eye I could see him glance down at me. I didn’t look back at him, but instead, kept staring out the window. “Son . . . because . . . being a man is about . . . it’s about . . . it’s . . . It’s NOT about how loud you can yell or the hurtful things you can say or how hard you can hit something or someone. You’re going to learn that the hardest fights that a man will have in his life will be inside himself . . . with himself. Being a man is about winning against the pettiness of your own ego. It means saying you were wrong, even when you know you were right; it’s saying you are sorry, even though you’re not . . .Because . . . it just doesn’t matter. Of course, sometimes it does.  And if it does matter, if you truly believe in your heart and soul that the world will be a better place, that the course of history and your corner of mankind will truly be better off, then of course, stand up and be a man. But if you know in your heart—deep down inside you—that it doesn’t really matter, except to you and your ego, then be a real man. Say you are sorry, even when you’re not. Say you were wrong, even though you are right. Because a man should only stand up for things that truly matter.”

I still gave no reaction though his words were like a parting of storm clouds that suddenly reveal a shaft of light. But I remained silent and staring straight ahead.
“So . . . Son, if you truly believe the world will be a better place because you wear that shirt, then by God, wear the shirt. But if you know that it doesn’t matter to the world at all—only to you—then be a man, Son. Be a man and wear something else. Tell your mother that you’re sorry – for what you said and how you acted – even though you really aren’t.  And that you were wrong, even though you may feel you are not.”

Dad stopped talking. His big, bass voice stopped filling up my small bedroom.  The silence went on for minutes. He finally stood up. “Well, I have to get going to work now, Son. I’m late. Be the man I know that you are. I know you’ll do the right thing, Son.”  With those words, Dad turned and went out my bedroom door.
I knew that my dad was right with a profoundness I’d never felt before.  I now saw it so clearly and his words made perfect sense.  And I knew that what my mother had really meant was that she wanted me to live up to her high standards because I was her son.  I felt so stupid and so ashamed.   And so not like a man.  I knew what I had to do – be the man that my father was.
As I came down to the kitchen with my book bag over my shoulder, my mother looked up from her cup of coffee. I was wearing a different shirt. 


“Uh . . . hey Mom? I’m really sorry for the things I said . . . And…you were right.” I could visibly see the relief and the release of more tension than she had likely been aware of.  And in her eyes, I thought I saw a forgiveness and understanding – and joy – because she could see that I only saw her as being my mom.  And she could see me trying to be a man, just like my dad had revealed to me.
“Thank you, Noah. You’d better hurry. You’re already late for school.” I could sense she wanted to say more, maybe to say how sorry she was about my bleeding soul, to let me know that she loved me and worried for me.  But she didn’t need to say anything…I knew!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In writing his new biographical fiction book, Dreams of My Mothers, Joel reflects on some very unique experiences, at extreme ends of the human condition, he has been privileged to bear witness to during a time when society struggles to find a shared identity -- with race, culture, and what it means to live in North America. And, through his upbringing, he has realized the incredible influence our parents can have on building that identity, no matter our race.  You can ask for the book at a book store near you.

05 June, 2015

YOUNG WIDOW LEARNING NOT TO DIE WHILE SHE IS STILL ALIVE

Several posts ago I published a short piece on "the secret to carrying a grief suit case."  Continuing in that vein, today I give this space over to an outstanding young woman of Jewish faith who lost her equally young husband, Dave Goldberg, due to a freak accident a month ago.  There is an exceptional message in the words of Sheryl Sandberg published on her web site.  I'm sure you will agree that she brings to a difficult subject meaning and clarity that is deeply inspiring.  This is published here for my readers who would have otherwise missed the story.

By Sheryl Sandberg

Today is the end of sheloshim for my beloved husband—the first 30 days. Judaism calls for a period of intense mourning known as shiva that lasts seven days after a loved one is buried. After shiva, most normal activities can be resumed, but it is the end of sheloshim that marks the completion of religious mourning for a spouse.

A childhood friend of mine who is now a rabbi recently told me that the most powerful one-line prayer he has ever read is: “Let me not die while I am still alive.” I would have never understood that prayer before losing Dave.  Now I do.

Sheryl and Dave 
I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning. These past thirty days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well. But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning. 

And this is why I am writing: to mark the end of sheloshim and to give back some of what others have given to me. While the experience of grief is profoundly personal, the bravery of those who have shared their own experiences has helped pull me through. Some who opened their hearts were my closest friends. Others were total strangers who have shared wisdom and advice publicly. So I am sharing what I have learned in the hope that it helps someone else. In the hope that there can be some meaning from this tragedy.

I have lived 30 years in these 30 days. I am 30 years sadder. I feel like I am 30 years wiser. I have gained a more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother, both through the depth of the agony I feel when my children scream and cry and from the connection my mother has to my pain. She has tried to fill the empty space in my bed, holding me each night until I cry myself to sleep. She has fought to hold back her own tears to make room for mine. She has explained to me that the anguish I am feeling is both my own and my children’s, and I understood that she was right as I saw the pain in her own eyes.

I have learned that I never really knew what to say to others in need. I think I got this all wrong before; I tried to assure people that it would be okay, thinking that hope was the most comforting thing I could offer. A friend of mine with late-stage cancer told me that the worst thing people could say to him was “It is going to be okay.” That voice in his head would scream, How do you know it is going to be okay? Do you not understand that I might die? I learned this past month what he was trying to teach me.

Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not. When people say to me, “You and your children will find happiness again,” my heart tells me, Yes, I believe that, but I know I will never feel pure joy again. Those who have said, “You will find a new normal, but it will never be as good” comfort me more because they know and speak the truth. Even a simple “How are you?”—almost always asked with the best of intentions—is better replaced with “How are you today?”

When I am asked “How are you?” I stop myself from shouting, My husband died a month ago, how do you think I am? When I hear “How are you today?” I realize the person knows that the best I can do right now is to get through each day.

I have learned some practical stuff that matters. Although we now know that Dave died immediately, I didn’t know that in the ambulance. The trip to the hospital was unbearably slow. I still hate every car that did not move to the side, every person who cared more about arriving at their destination a few minutes earlier than making room for us to pass. I have noticed this while driving in many countries and cities. Let’s all move out of the way. Someone’s parent or partner or child might depend on it.

I have learned how ephemeral everything can feel—and maybe everything is. That whatever rug you are standing on can be pulled right out from under you with absolutely no warning. In the last 30 days, I have heard from too many women who lost a spouse and then had multiple rugs pulled out from under them. Some lack support networks and struggle alone as they face emotional distress and financial insecurity. It seems so wrong to me that we abandon these women and their families when they are in greatest need.

I have learned to ask for help -- and I have learned how much help I need. Until now, I have been the older sister, the COO, the doer and the planner. I did not plan this, and when it happened, I was not capable of doing much of anything. Those closest to me took over. They planned. They arranged. They told me where to sit and reminded me to eat. They are still doing so much to support me and my children.

I have learned that resilience can be learned. Adam M. Grant taught me that three things are critical to resilience and that I can work on all three.
  • Personalization: realizing it is not my fault. He told me to ban the word “sorry.” To tell myself over and over, This is not my fault.
  • Permanence: remembering that I won’t feel like this forever. This will get better.
  • Pervasiveness: this does not have to affect every area of my life; the ability to compartmentalize is healthy.
For me, starting the transition back to work has been a savior, a chance to feel useful and connected. But I quickly discovered that even those connections had changed. Many of my co-workers had a look of fear in their eyes as I approached. I knew why—they wanted to help but weren’t sure how. Should I mention it? Should I not mention it? If I mention it, what the hell do I say?

I realized that to restore that closeness with my colleagues that has always been so important to me, I needed to let them in. And that meant being more open and vulnerable than I ever wanted to be. I told those I work with most closely that they could ask me their honest questions and I would answer. I also said it was okay for them to talk about how they felt. One colleague admitted she’d been driving by my house frequently, not sure if she should come in. Another said he was paralyzed when I was around, worried he might say the wrong thing.

Speaking openly replaced the fear of doing and saying the wrong thing. One of my favorite cartoons of all time has an elephant in a room answering the phone, saying, “It’s the elephant.” Once I addressed the elephant, we were able to kick him out of the room. At the same time, there are moments when I can’t let people in. I went to Portfolio Night at school where kids show their parents around the classroom to look at their work hung on the walls. So many of the parents—all of whom have been so kind -- tried to make eye contact or say something they thought would be comforting. I looked down the entire time so no one could catch my eye for fear of breaking down. I hope they understood.

I have learned gratitude. Real gratitude for the things I took for granted before, like life. As heartbroken as I am, I look at my children each day and rejoice that they are alive. I appreciate every smile, every hug. I no longer take each day for granted. When a friend told me that he hates birthdays and so he was not celebrating his, I looked at him and said through tears, “Celebrate your birthday, goddammit. You are lucky to have each one.” My next birthday will be depressing as hell, but I am determined to celebrate it in my heart more than I have ever celebrated a birthday before.

I am truly grateful to the many who have offered their sympathy. A colleague told me that his wife, whom I have never met, decided to show her support by going back to school to get her degree --
something she had been putting off for years. Yes! When the circumstances allow, I believe as much as ever in leaning in. And so many men, from those I know well to those I will likely never know, are honoring Dave’s life by spending more time with their families.

I can’t even express the gratitude I feel to my family and friends who have done so much and reassured me that they will continue to be there. In the brutal moments when I am overtaken by the void, when the months and years stretch out in front of me endless and empty, only their faces pull me out of the isolation and fear. My appreciation for them knows no bounds.

I was talking to one of these friends about a father-child activity that Dave is not here to do. We came up with a plan to fill in for Dave. I cried to him, “But I want Dave. I want option A.” He put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.”

Dave, to honor your memory and raise your children as they deserve to be raised, I promise to do all I can to kick the shit out of option B. And even though sheloshim has ended, I still mourn for option A. I will always mourn for option A. As Bono sang, “There is no end to grief . . . and there is no end to love.” I love you, Dave.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
With thanks to Greg Writer for drawing my attention to Sheryl Sandberg's heart-rending story. It is pertinent to know that Sheryl Sandberg is an American technology executive, activist, and author. She is the CEO of Facebook. In June 2012, she was elected to the board of directors by the existing board members, becoming the first woman to serve on Facebook's board. Before she joined Facebook as its CEO, Sandberg was V-P of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google and was involved in launching Google's philanthropic arm, Google.org. Before Google, Sandberg served as chief of staff for the U.S. Secretary of the Treasurer. In 2012 she was named in the Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine. As of January 2014, Sandberg was reported to be worth more $1 billion, due to her stock holdings in Facebook and other companies.  Now you know the remarkable woman behind the story.

04 June, 2015

03 June, 2015

TEASER, JOKER, WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT -- I AM ONE

Truthfully speaking, I am a bigtime tease.  I have many ways of venting what I have come to recognize as a compulsion to tease, or one who runs the risk of having fun at other people’s expense.  I even hit on unsuspecting complete strangers and come away with the (misled?) hope that I have given them a chuckle or that I may have helped make their day.

I am also a slow learner…It has taken me all of my life to come to the conclusion that my teasing is not always understood or appreciated.  I walk a very fine line with my teasing.  Psychologists liken it to balancing a teeter totter.
I do not really understand what it is within me that makes me want to tease other people.  Maybe I have a personality shortcoming or a suppressed need of some kind, but it has become second nature and it seems to roll out of me with little provocation.  Many times I am half way into a tease before I actually realize it.  While most of my teasing is accepted good-naturedly, there have been times when it has backfired as if going over like a lead balloon, especially when done by means of the written word in the absence of body language and associated nuances.
I feel terrible on those occasions when my weird sense of humor (as my wife calls it) hits someone the wrong way and I am hard-pressed to make amends or to explain myself.  Usually, I end up with the justification that the particular other person “just can’t take a joke”…And maybe they could not but in retrospect I should have been sensitive enough to take that possibility into consideration before inflicting my kind humor.
Often, teasing is done in a spirit of affection and playfulness, and teasers attempt to convey these intentions through subtle nonverbal cues. However those who are being teased tend to miss these benign aims.  And that is where we get into trouble.  I have been rebuked in no uncertain terms by individuals whom I have offended with what I thought was a good-natured quip or tease.  Needless to say, friendships fall by the wayside at times like that.  I have learned the hard way.
Synonyms of teasing are joker, mocker, clown, josher, teaser, tormenter, and leg-puller.  All of the above apply to me. Guilty on all counts.
In an effort to curtail the jokester within, I have had to take a look at a continuum of communication possibilities: 
-- Humorous jokes, funny remarks, perhaps a pun or play on words, with no personal target.
-- Teasing, poking fun, wisecracks, directed at another person.
-- Picking, needling, short negatively toned messages directed at another person.
-- Biting humor, hostile remarks toward another person purported to be funny.
-- Sarcasm, clever comments which belittle others under the guise of humor.
-- Cynicism, insults, communications to another when hostile intent is less disguised.

The fa├žade of humor is increasingly lost across this continuum, while the amount of direct hostility increases toward a personal target. Pure jokes are not a problem. Any of these kinds of communications delivered without a real personal target can also be funny or entertaining. Many standup comics use this type of negative humor which does entertain because the intended target is not a real person. Sarcastic comments can provoke spontaneous audience laughter based upon the comedian's wit and dexterity with words. The audience laughs with relief that the hostility in the comment is directed toward a hypothetical other person. For example, a few remarks by Groucho Marx: "No, Groucho is not my real name. I am breaking it in for a friend." "I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.”
When can teasing be ideally playful, affectionate and bonding between two people, one might ask? The answer:  When it is reciprocal between individuals of equal personal power, mutually agreeable as to the tone and content of the teasing, and when there is no direct or indirect hostile undertone
It is certainly true that some people are more able to use teasing — i.e., making fun or mocking someone playfully — in a nice way.  Some people like me can use teasing as a way to make people feel closer, as a way to show friendship — which is obviously a good thing. But maybe that’s more in the nature of “joshing” (teasing lite) than real “teasing.” Some people are good at using teasing as a way to bring up a difficult subject in a way that’s a relief to everyone — very tricky to do well.
In the final analysis, the true test of whether or not you’re being funny is when someone else finds you funny. The test of whether or not your teasing is friendly is when the person being teased finds it friendly.  Simple as that!  But there is always the risk of having it all go wrong.
I have engaged in this test numerous times recently and have come to the conclusion that it behooves me to make a concerted effort to refrain altogether from the impulsive teasing that heretofore turned my crank so gleefully.  It is safer that way!  Cold turkey as it were.
I simply cannot be a selective half-teaser any more than I can be half pregnant, if I could be pregnant.  But you know what I mean!!??
Please bear with me friends if I fall off the wagon from time to time though…It is going to be tough.  No joking about that!
Withdrawal symptoms are about to set in.  I they had a support group for recovering teasers I would be the first in line.

02 June, 2015

"ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN, ANYTHING HAPPENS ALL THE TIME"

I don't know what it is lately, but I have been picking up on poignant lines from television movies. There is something about them that stimulates a thinking exercise for me and I like that.

Take the Hollywood comedy, "This Is Where I Leave You," starring Jason Bateman and Tina Fey, for instance. Documenting the dysfunctional family of a man who lost it all, the film — based on the novel by Jonathan Tropper — follows members of a Jewish family who come together for a period of mourning after a father’s death. Along the way, they’ll probably find love interests and a new sense of respect and pride for their truly God-awful family.

One of the lines in the recently aired TV trailer for this production was, "Anything can happen. Anything happens all the time." What was is it about this prominent line, spoken by a couple as they lay on the ice of an abandoned arena, that haunts me since hearing it?

Well, there is a strong message here...Life is short. Anything could happen, and it usually does, so there is no point in sitting around thinking about all the ifs, ands and buts. Give anything a chance to happen in due course; if it is meant to happen it will. Believe it or not, the late singer Amie Winehouse expressed similar sentiments in one of her more sober moments.

But there were other lines in the trailer that also stood out for me, like:

"It would be a terrible mistake to go through life thinking people are the sum total of what you see."

"Today has other plans for both of us."

"Secrets are cancer to a family."

"Your father loved YOU, not what you did."

"It's hard to see people from your past when your present is so cataclysmically screwed up."

"I'm way too old to have this much nothing."


I'm still trying to wrap my mind around those exceptional utterances.

So much brain exercise for me stimulated by means of one well-written trailer script by the talented Jonathon Trooper. Hopefully the This Is Where I Leave You series is not cancelled by the network before I get a chance to see its debut in September. I'll be ready for more poignancy by then.

01 June, 2015

THE SECRET OF CARRYING THE "GRIEF" SUITCASE

"Grief is like a suitcase lying at the foot of your bed and when you wake up and take it with you in the morning sometimes it is too heavy to carry, and other times it is as light as a feather...That is what is known as getting through the day."

This was a line from the ABC network premier of "The Wispers", a TV special that I watched with my wife this evening. We agreed that it was a profound statement in an otherwise ho hum production.

Bereavement is an inevitable part of life and learning how to cope with loss is therefore an important life skill for young people and adults alike. Worden's theory of bereavement processing, outlines three tasks that must be accomplished in order to adapt to the loss: 1) acceptance; working through the pain of grief; 2) adjusting to the new environment without the deceased and, lastly, 3) forming a new and appropriate bond with the deceased that allows the bereaved to move on and reinvest their emotions.

Incomplete grief tasks can cause complicated or unresolved grief (Shear and Shair, 2005) which occurs when normal grief symptoms become acute and persistent and interfere with day to day functioning. Complicated grief can result in physical symptoms and is linked to higher levels of suicidal ideation, increased risk of depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Indeed, grief is a heavy suitcase to carry, but CARRY IT WE MUST!  It is HOW we carry it that matters.