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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Finding your 'Piece of Paradise'

Life is often funny, sometimes crazy and a little bit sad, but then again, if this wasn't the case, we would be bored silly. My life is all this and more, and there is very little I would change. For example, weekends at my house are quite interesting, very seldom is it quiet, and honestly, I love it. There is comfort in being surrounded by family and friends, in knowing that people enjoy gathering together, that it is still great to want to have a family dinner. What makes it even more fun, is you just don't know who will show up next.

But yet, isn't that life? We are going along, doing our own thing, when the doorbell rings, there is a knock on the door, or we get a call about something totally unexpected. Now comes the choice, do I answer the door, or just pretend I am not home, do I pick up the phone or totally ignore it. The outcome is totally dependent on our decision. Maybe I really don't want to have company, maybe I rather not talk to anyone. None of us are immune to this, we all feel this way sometimes. Hoping the world will go away.

I have always enjoyed having company, visiting, sitting around my table sharing a meal with family and friends; but when Rachel died, for a time, I wanted to be alone. I didn't want to answer the door, speak on the phone, or even deal with simple tasks like cooking or eating. This was hard for some of the people who were close to me to understand, especially since I was always outgoing, not afraid to have a great time, often the 'life of the party' cracking jokes and making others laugh.

I still have my moments, where seclusion is what I want and long for, but I have learned to create these moments. I have found a way to shut out the world, and allow myself to just be. The beauty of it all, is that I take the opportunities as they come. I often have to pick up my son from practice, and I will make it a point to get there a little earlier, bring a book along and just give my self 10-15 minutes while I wait. It may sound silly, or really 10-15 minutes, how does that help? It is amazing, giving myself those few precious minutes to be alone, to sit quietly, or to read, is enough to clear my thoughts, to allow my self to do nothing at all,or something I love to do. It is my oasis in the midst of the desert, it gives me so much, re-energizing me, and allowing me to quiet my world.

After Rachel's death, I sought the quiet, the solitude and longed to find ways to shut out the world. It was not that I was hiding from reality, on the contrary, I was trying to find my way through it. This was what I wanted, what I needed, it was what was right for me. I have spoken to others, and I have seen among my own family, how the opposite is true. I wanted the quietness, others needed the noise, did not want to be alone, dreaded the moments of silence and solitude, they looked for any excuse to envelope themselves in busyness.

Neither scenario is right or wrong! Everyone has to find their way through tragedy, through grief, through crisis and through life. And as I have mentioned before, and so many others have echoed, our ways of coping, living and existing, is as different as each and everyone of us. The most important thing anyone of us can do, is to find what works, what helps us keep our sanity, re-energizing us and keeping us going.  

There are so many ways that you can find your 'little piece of paradise' amidst the chaos.  For me, reading, taking a walk, or simply just sitting quietly, is enough.  For my husband, he will watch re-runs of a favorite show, and allow himself to laugh, to slip away from the cares of the day.  We all need the find our 'happy place,' a place where we can draw the strength we need to carry on.  A place that allows us to forget or remember, even if only for a few moments.  After Rachel's death, I had a couple of quiet places.  My bedroom was a calming haven, when I wanted to be alone before bedtime, I would just close the door and allow myself to cry or do nothing at all.  When my home was to chaotic, I would go to the seashore or for a walk.  And if I wanted no one to bother me at all, I would go and sit at my daughter's grave (trust me, no one bothers you, even if there are others visiting graves as well). 

We often forget to take care of ourselves especially when we are grieving.  Regardless of what you are grieving for, learn to take time for yourself, give yourself a few minutes a day to just unwind, to re-energize.  Give yourself permission to do nothing at all, and stop listening to those who keep telling you that the only way to make it through the grief, is to keep busy.  Just keep in mind, what will happen to you when there is nothing to do?  Eventually, even the busyness becomes a burden.  Yes, keep active, live life, but remember to stop, slow down and give yourself time to 'smell the roses.'

Blessings! and until we meet again.


  1. Hi Rose Mary,
    I so agree that sometimes we need to slow down and just be alone and it's not always easy to accomplish this. I love the idea of finding my own little piece of paradise or oasis...
    Also, congrats on the two milestones you mentioned in your previous post!!

  2. Thanks Nancy. In this hurried world, we sometimes have to learn to create our own space.
    Take care, Rose Mary.