Monday, September 20, 2010

Death = Discomfort

It was an exhausting weekend for me - on many different levels.

I'd had an idea that my friend Jim would pass away on Saturday. He'd had emergency surgery on Friday that was extremely risky. I was already worried about losing him most of last week. I was in a deep sadness after seeing his last Facebook status on Wednesday that said, "I'm sorry, everyone. I did my best."

This weekend was also my daughter Rose's 9th birthday. She'd asked to host a sleepover and invited 10 of her closest friends.

Yes, you read that right. 10 9-year-old girls.

And Grace was there with her 6-year-old friend too.

12 girls, ya'll.

I should be given the Mommy of the Year award for that. I'm just sayin'.

Most of the day on Saturday, before the party, I sat at my computer with my cell phone in my hand. I knew the news was coming.

Rose and Grace were my little party planners all day. Rose was obsessively cleaning house and Grace was putting together party bags.

I tried to be present with them. I tried.


The party was a huge success, thankfully. My girls are growing up fast.


This weekend is also the 3 year anniversary of my father's death. And Gentleman Jack lost his father 5 years ago this week. I remember September 1... Gentleman Jack said, "September sucks."

Yeah well...

Funny enough, he's been having some difficulty with MY processing of losing Jim.

I'm sure some of it is subconscious jealousy. I mean, I am mourning, feeling extreme emotion over this man that he doesn't know. And to top it off, I knew Jim from the blogosphere... something else Gentleman Jack doesn't understand. He can't figure out how someone could mean so much to me when I'd only spent the maximum of one weekend with him.

But countless phone calls with Jim over the past few years have brought us close. When we met, we clicked as we knew we would from our blogs. Jim was the sort of person who always cared for everyone else. He SHARED who he was... not just with me but with many others in the blogosphere and elsewhere in his life.

It's difficult to explain...


My man wants me to be happy. I understand this. I honestly think that when I am sad, when I am processing something, he fearfully thinks I will get stuck in some sort of quagmire and never crawl out.

I ALWAYS crawl out!

Sadness and death are two things that seem to make people uncomfortable. In my experience, most of the time, the people who are the most disquieted by them have been the men in my life. I know it is a helpless feeling...

"I know you're just an emotional person," he told me last night, "but I don't like to know that you're sad. It's not like you didn't know Jim was going to die. I thought you'd be better prepared for it. I don't want to sound heartless but I almost feel like you're choosing to feel sad."

I've thought about this. Yes, I do choose to feel sad at times and I told him why.

"This world feels like a VERY heavy place for me. Many times I feel the weight of it and need an outlet. My 'choosing to feel sad' means that I am acknowledging the pain of it, the heaviness of it and now that I am sad, I can find release with tears and emotion. Once I've done that, I can be buoyant again."


I've witnessed the discomfort of death plenty over my adult years.

I've seen people grieve before and after a death. I've seen others not grieve at all. Some grieve silently while others look for someone to share the loss with. Some grieve for minutes. Some grieve for years. Some postpone their grief for some not-so-convenient future date.

Some people get angry. Others feel that they weren't involved enough. Guilt sets in. Some will show up out of the blue and lay claim to the person as if they'd held the hand of the dying when, prior, they were no where to be seen.

Others lay claim to the property of the dead. We become such scavengers in this place. Our belief in lack makes us appear very ugly at times.

Death is change. Change causes fear. Fear is the cause of most everything we do or see that we perceive as 'bad'.

I understand this.

I also understand the human psyche and how my personal processing goes.

When I feel that the world is attack, a place of torture and pain and guilt and sin and death, I most surely cannot find support or peace here. Not in the world of attack.

But when I turn it around and see the world as a place of love, blessings, birth and rebirth, joy, lightness, then my peace is acknowledged. I am aware of the gifts that I've received, no matter how briefly they appeared in my life.

I am turning it around now that my friend is at peace.

I'll be buoyant again soon.


  1. I can completely relate to death being uncomfortable and the signal of change itself with death is hard for me to cope with too, almost the same as with new life (except, of course, in completely different circumstances!). Take the time you need to cope and celebrate his life, and I guess that is all that can be done until the grief starts to wane. (and ps, you are a rockstar for handling that many little girls for a sleepover!)

  2. I think that when we lose someone important from our lives, sadness is an appropriate choice to make. Mourning a loss takes time, whether it was expected or not.

  3. I am glad that the suffering of your friend is over and that he is now at peace.

    It does sound like Rascal maybe a little jealous. That isn't me being critical of him rather talking from experience. It can be very hard to understand the relationships that can develop within the blogging world when you are outside of it. I know that I could never understand my partner when she talked about her blogging friends and I was outside of the blogging world. In fact I still find it strange at times.

  4. A few years ago, I lost a very close cousin to cancer. I saw him a week before he passed - he was living with my mom, and she brought in hospice care during the day to take care of him. I was at the barn bringing in my horses from the field when she called. When she told me he had passed, I literally screamed and let go of the horse I was bringing in, who went galloping off back towards the pasture. My first husband was with me at the time, and it scared the living crap out of him - all he could do was hold me, while I was a crumpled up mess on the barn floor. It was so awful.

    But yes, everyone takes death differently. Even before death people start their act. Like with my grandma - our family barely had anything to do with her when we were in VA. Now that we've moved back to CA, everyone is trying to lay claim to her. It's so annoying - especially since it's only my mom and me dealing with her for the last 3 years.

    ANYWAY! Grieve and recover at your own pace, T.

  5. First of all, I'm so very sorry for your loss.
    Secondly, I love what you said to him and totally agree. And here's the thing: I believe that it takes being able to express sadness in order to truly appreciate and feel happiness.

  6. You, and Jim's family, are in my thoughts and prayers, I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.

    12 girls? If I had a mom-of-the-year award to give out, you'd surely get it!

  7. It's been a tough weekend because of losing Jim. It's good to know that the Blogosphere has each other to rely on in times of sadness, though.

    It's just too bad that you won't be able to see him one last time as you had planned.


  8. So many things you wrote resonate with me. I did not know of Jim or his blog until I saw your post today. I hopped on over here after seeing your picture on Mandy's post today about my century ride.

    "Choosing to be sad" is an interesting concept. I also choose to be sad at times. I look at it as being a necessary part of life. If we do not FEEL the emotions we are experiencing, we will never get through them. If we choose to push away our sadness, it will come back in some other, not so healthy way.

    My thoughts are with you.

  9. My Father died of cancer.... It sucked! He was my partner in business, my friend and the person I turned to when I needed something.. I miss him every day.

    Sorry for your loss T.
    In the Zen way of thinking... only his "shell" gave up.. he's still a part of us all.

  10. I never really followed Jim much but did through a few others who did follow him and blogged about him.

    It is terribly sad :( He was one of us - a single parent! Its like we lost one of the team you know!

    Glad the party was a success and yes WELL DONE for having all those kids in your house!

  11. You are my hero in the parenting department. When I grow up...I wanna be just like you! And I wish I had known Jim, but as I was discovering who he was, he had decided to stop blogging. I have only been able to 'know' him through those who loved him. It's your gift. You get to keep him alive. Mourn. Grieve. And know that I feel your pain.

  12. We all deal with everything differently. Right or wrong, it is what we do. It is our right!


  13. This world feels like a VERY heavy place for me. Many times I feel the weight of it and need an outlet. My 'choosing to feel sad' means that I am acknowledging the pain of it, the heaviness of it and now that I am sad, I can find release with tears and emotion. Once I've done that, I can be buoyant again.

    Yes, yes, yes: Choose to be sad. What's wrong with that? Sometimes the world is a sad place, and you don't do yourself any favors by ignoring it.

    Love your explanation.

  14. Some people don't understand grief, but you explained it beautifully in this post. Everyone grieves differently, and it's okay to choose to be sad for a little while, you are human, and it seems right to be sad over the loss of a friend. Rascal doesn't have to understand it, but he should accept it for what it is. Good for you, for not being afraid to show that you are human and you feel.

    Also, I didn't follow Jim's blog (I didn't even know of him until a couple months ago when Jolene told me a bit of his story) but I am sorry for the loss any of his friends, family, and of course blog friends, feel. I am sad that I never got to know this man who was so obviously well liked, but also grateful in a small way as it would be so sad to have lost a friend.

    Anyway, sorry about your friend.


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