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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oh, come on, not again!

Frustration, such an exhausting feeling.  We feel frustrated when we get stuck in traffic, when the line is too long, when we can't seem to get the answers we are seeking.  

The definition according to is: 1: the act of frustrating; 2a: a state or an instance of being frustrated; b: a deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs; 3: something that frustrates. 

When we are grieving we sometimes feel as if we cannot handle it anymore, we feel overwhelmed as if everything is crushing in on us.  We may feel tired and drained, sapped of energy.  We might lack sleep or get plenty but still awaken as if we never shut our eyes.  We feel totally frustrated with the situation, with the death, with ourselves, with everyone around us, nothing seems to be working. 

The death itself is frustrating in that it leaves us with so much that remains unresolved, so many dreams that will no longer be fulfilled.  Grieving is hard work, it is not easy, and it demands a lot from us, it is exhausting.  Death leaves us with a deep wound, that takes time to begin to heal.  Like any wound it takes time, may reopen time and again, and eventually leaves us only with a scar.  A scar that serves as a reminder of the love we shared and had with our loved one, regardless of our relationship with them. 

I remember the frustration I felt as people around me said what they felt were healing words.  I remember wanting to scream if one more person told me to be patient, to accept what had happened, to move on.  What was all this really going to do for me, would any of this change the fact of what had happened.  If it would, trust me I would try them all, and more.  There was so much more that caused me to feel unsure of who I was, what was happening and how I was handling it.  There were times that I felt I had failed as a parent, as a mother.  Occasionally, I questioned myself, had I been there for her, did I do okay by Rachel, what could I have done differently, how could I have prevented it.  As these thoughts ran through my mind, I could feel my anxiety rise, I felt as if the walls of my home we closing in on me.  

C.S. Lewis, writes in 'A Grief Observed,' 'And grief still feels like fear.  Perhaps, more strictly, like suspense.  Or like waiting; just hanging about waiting for something to happen.  It gives life a permanently provisional feeling.  It doesn't seem worth starting anything.  I can't settle down.  I yawn, I fidget, I smoke too much.  Up till this I always had too little time.  Now there is nothing but time.  Almost pure time, empty successivenss.'

He speaks of being in suspense, waiting for anything, something to happen.  It is as if we hope that maybe something will come along that will take away all that has happened, erasing all the bad and hurt,  making everything new again.  

Frustration will come and go on occasion, it will show up as we watch others doing what we will no longer be able to do or enjoy with our loved one.  We will experience it when we see someone accomplishing a new first in their lives.  If like me, you lost a child, attending a wedding, learning that someone just recently became a mother, or simply watching a young adult or child graduating can be very painful; and is frustrating to say the least.  

There is a beautiful passage form 'Anna's Scrapbook - A Journal of A Sister's Love' by Susan Aitken and her daughter Sarah Aitken (who is 11 years old).  In it the author writes in journal form: 
     'February 14

     'I see empty places all over the house these days.  Everywhere I 
     look it is as if Amelia should be there.  I know everyone also feels
     like I do. Last night her empty chair at the dinner table was 
     SCREAMING at us. One by one we started to cry and had to 
     leave the table.'

The child in this scenario is feeling the same frustration as the adults around her, she feels it in the emptiness, the vacant chair.  In knowing that her sister should be sitting there with them.   She continues at the end of this entry to say, 'Empty, empty, empty, I feel empty.'

As the years go by, the frustration is less dominating, it may still appear occasionally, but it definitely is much easier than what we went through originally.  It is okay to feel frustrated, to feel as if nothing is right in the world.  We will survive, we will grow beyond our frustrations.  We will learn to handle situations and to cope with all the changes to will occur in one's life.  

So know that this too shall pass and we will live again, experience new joys, and welcome others into our lives, not as replacement to our loved ones, but as additions to our circle of friendship and love.  

So allow yourself to work through your frustrations, know that you will often find yourself frustrated.  It is okay, it is a part of the healing, of the wanting to accept, to believe that we will meet again.  To live each day fully, without fear, letting go of our frustrations.

To allow the love to be all encompassing.

Blessings! and until we meet again.

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