Yo-Yo-Butt

Countless times in the past two months I have settled in to write again only to become afflicted with a condition known in my home as “yo-yo-butt.” I’ll write a few words then jump up to make coffee or tea or grab a bite of something. Sometimes, I’ll check the mail or take the dog out. Once in a while I’m sucked into the often substantial, gravitational pull of the couch after deciding my mind will feel much better about this when I wake up. It’s taken me this time to realize it isn’t my mind making the decisions, it is this heart, and this heart still just wants to curl up in a ball some days; most days, in fact. Today is no different but I am resisting the urge with full reverse thrusters.

The events I wrote about in my last post were a big deal to me. My trip and the journeying that happened within it was a big deal. Physically, I picked up and flew out of my reality and landed in a different one but it didn’t take very long for the one I live in to catch up. At that point, my heart broke open releasing waves of grief, hollowing me out completely once again. Once that pressure is relieved, there is space; to sit quietly, to reflect, to seek comfort, to find peace, and to question everything. (I am now resisting the urge to make coffee. Reading the word coffee made me want some but I am staying put…increasing thrusters)

The questions generally consist of, “Who am I *really*?” and “Why the hell am I *really* here?”  Once in a while I will have what I feel to be a genuinely, divinely guided day where everything is a message that I actually understand and so much makes sense, even senseless things. But then the next day I’m asking those same questions again. I have this short-term memory when it comes to miracles, I guess. Whatever angelic company I keep must just shake their haloed heads and roll their holy eyes at this one because it’s never enough. I always want one more, you know, just to be sure.

I find that most things I do, now require recovery time and the past two months have consisted of a lot of recovery time.  I’ve had the beautiful opportunity to spend a lot of time with my step-son, Peter.  I got to hug the stuffin’ out of him as well as my other step son, Jordan.  We had the opportunity to talk and to cry and to laugh.  It was a bittersweet “so long for now” sending the two of them off again.  They’re amazing young men, striking out into the world, making their way as they should be.  I feel richly blessed and so happy to be a part of their lives but it has been an adjustment, again settling into the emptier nest.

Also since last posting, I have experienced loss and fresh grief again, twice.  Tiny beings, dear pets, my son Braeden & Dannica’s pets.  Each of these little passings was the loss of another living connection to our Dannica.  I’ve also done a lot of things in these two months. I’ve met new people, made new friends, become acquainted with new clients, begun leading a meditation group once a week, said yes more often than not to all manner of invitation and event and I’ve wanted to say yes to more than I have. I believe this is the equivalent for me of yo-yo-butt on a lifestyle level.

Doing, doing, doing, wondering when I decided it was actually good advice to “keep busy.” I’m not saying doing the things I’ve been doing is bad, I’ve just come to realize how important it is not to “keep busy” to the exclusion of allowing my heart to break fully open again on a regular basis. There’s always a message there, like cracking open a cosmic fortune cookie. Why wouldn’t I want to receive that message?

This is how far I got before the word coffee just yanked me into the kitchen. (25 minutes have now passed) You may not be surprised to learn that before I got to the kitchen, I saw my shoes in the hallway so, naturally, I put them on and took the dog out to get the mail then sat back down here having completely forgotten about the coffee, yet not even realizing it had been forgotten until I re-read what I’d written about being yanked into the kitchen. Crike. Welcome to the chronic yo-yo-butt of bereavement. Why do I do this? Why do we all do this?

I have a confession to make. I was guilty of this behavior even before my daughter’s passing. In fact, I’m not sure I remember a time in my life when I wasn’t guilty of this. It has been since my daughter’s passing, however, that I’ve become more fully aware of it because it has been since my daughter’s passing that I have had to begin learning how to be genuinely alone with myself, in a comfortable way.  Even now, sitting here looking this fear in the face, I am resisting the urge to put the laptop down, get up and leave this room.  There is an empty space within me that seems to believe that something out there is needed to fill it and its gravitational pull is more substantial than the one around my couch.

Of course nothing on earth creates a larger empty space than the loss of a dearly loved one; for me one of my children, my sweet girl, my daughter, Dannica.  Yet, despite realizing the necessity of taking this time for myself, I found the further in time I got from the previous post, the more I feared facing the next one.  I began to question myself for writing at all, for sharing any of this with anyone.  In fact, I received some pretty harsh criticism regarding Beyond A Shadow of Doubt, and nearly decided to hang it up completely.  I was called “despicable” for that one.  It takes one more despicable than I, however, to kick someone when they’re bleeding and bearing their soul in hopes of healing.  I realize there will always be critics.  I also realize that despite the fact that I am generally a very private person, I have decided to move through the process of debilitating grief in a very public way so perhaps that is to be expected.

So here I sit.  Hollowed out.  Again.  And it feels good to have wept again.  To have faced the eternity of Dannica’s physical absence on earth again.  To have allowed the gravity of mother earth to hold me tightly to her in affirmation of my own choice to live the best I can… here.  Also important to me is letting those I love and those who love me know how I really am.

5 thoughts on “Yo-Yo-Butt

  1. Thank you, you the yo-yo butt of bereavement! I loved that phrase. I identify so much with what you have written. Very early on in my grief over Sulien I found myself setting up his Trust. The website was up and running within two weeks. I announced it at his funera! People began to comment on how much i was doing and I began to feel a little guilty. Was I running away from my loss? I am grateful that it was one of my more earthy, anchored friends, who’d obviously been witnessing and wondering about my way of grieving Sulien who commented, “Frederick you’ve always been a doer and I guess your grieving is going to be of a doing kind”. I’m not sure I’ve told her how grateful I was to have my way of grieving validated at that point. Even if I wanted to run away from my deepest sadness, I couldn’t. If anything in my various ‘doing’ of things around him, I’m more drawn into my deepest and most bereft feelings and thus oddly closer to him. I think I’m more scared of eventually loosing that sense of and connection to him, than I am of the pain continuing. I am also a little surprised at how open and public I’ve been with my grief. I’m not quite sure why. It’s now over six months since Sulien died and I feel more than ever I want to talk about him and my grief. If im honest I’m angry that people have stopped sharing about him. I want to scream “You can’t forget him!” Or me! Ask me about him please because im beginning to think it’s not OK to continue exuding about him. Maybe that’s why I’m back here. Reading about your loss of Dannica and how you are, helps me honour my need to talk about Sulien and me. Thank you.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the Yo-Yo butt of bereavement 🙂 and I’m touched to know that what I’ve written helps. What a wonderful thing your friend said to you. It means a lot when we’re in the middle of this to have our feelings validated even when they’re not fully understood. What you’ve expressed beautifully is the difference between grieving and mourning. Of course, they’re inextricably entwined, but I feel that mourning is what brings healing; the doing of things around our dear ones bringing us closer to them, allowing us to love them more and more by remembering them. The mourning soothes the grieving. It doesn’t need to end. Not ever. The mourning is an HONORING.

      I’m absolutely an introvert, but I have also been far more open and out there with Dannica’s passing than I’d have imagined I could be. I think extreme grief, the loss of a child, affects us like falling in love… and I think love is why loss hurts so much. We want to scream it from the rooftops! It’s impossible to contain that kind of emotion! That is what brought me here to start a blog of my own. It feels quiet and private as I write but allows me to scream it from the rooftops at the same time and only the ones who want to hear me have to. Many who heard me in the beginning have tired of my exuding and have moved on.

      Never, ever stop talking about Sulien and you. It’s absolutely OK for you to continue to exude about him. The world does go on and the world does forget our dear ones and the world will forget how we earned the scars we carry. I realize this and sometimes it makes me want to scream too, but then I remind myself that everyone around me is scarred as well. If they’re not yet, well, they will be. So your job description has changed a little. You’re forever Sulien’s father but more importantly now, you’re his greatest Mourner. What an honor. ❤

  2. I’m not clear why anyone would call that post “despicable.” You know enough people that have signs from their kids to know what you’re experiencing is real. I’ve been writing about Philip and signs on my blog – and I’m still not done. It’s not just “signs.” It’s experiences I have where he’s teaching me.

    And yes, I know that never-enough thing. Every time I got a sign, I’d think it was my last. I’d talk to Philip about that, too; he told me signs are just pointers to the truth, reminders to pay attention. Every day I get something from him. But the fact that they’re around us doesn’t mean we don’t grieve for their presence; this is real loss, terrible, tragic, life-long loss.

    I know it’s going to be a year for you soon; I hope you’re doing okay. I’m thinking of you and wishing you peace. And maybe that sounds like something that can’t be, but I’m wishing it for you anyway.

    • Thank you, Denise… 4 days. I’m doing okay. I’m reminding myself that we lost our Dannica a year ago. We never have to lose our Dannica again; we did that already. I plan to fill the day with as much love for her as I possibly can and to keep that going by doing some really nice things for myself and in her memory. I’ll release some things I’ve held onto for a year. I’ll begin to do some things differently that I’ve been doing for a year. Some force in the universe has kept me living and breathing for a year beyond what I imagined would kill me if I dared think of it. For that I’m grateful most of the time. Loving thoughts and prayers are, I am convinced, what is helping me through this when I could have just let it steam-roller me into the blacktop. Bless you ❤

  3. I’ve missed reading your blog posts, so I’m glad your reverse thrusters did the trick and kept you at your laptop a sufficient amount of time to get something written. You’ve kept a sense of humor, despite everything.
    I’m amazed by all you’ve been accomplishing…far more than I’ve managed. The mere effort of trying to act “normal” at work each day leaves me drained and exhausted. I can never wait to get home so I can just be my miserable self again. I’m sorry that you received criticism for your last post. If someone doesn’t like your writing, they don’t have to read it. I do, and I’m glad you’re sharing with the rest of us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s