hope

Words For The Weekend (Dear Someone Struggling With Grief and Pain), Volume 46

Another unconventional Words for the Weekend post (for the weekend of 08/31/13, Volume 46) and an unexpected one as I had said I would be taking this weekend off. However, I received such an outpouring of support from “My Grace is Gone” and discovered so many of you are struggling right now with grief and with alcohol abuse, some of you with both.

Some of you are barely hanging on right now.

I received a touching e-mail from a lady who recently lost her mother. She was so brave to reach out and share some of her pain with me. What follows is a portion of my reply.

This week I also include some songs, quotes and a poem, some previously shared in past volumes, that bring me comfort. I hope they do the same for you.

This weekend’s volume is dedicated to her and to others in pain. It will be sunny one day. 

***

Dear __,
Bless you.
Thank you so much for reaching out to me and sharing your pain.
As much as I want to tell you “just don’t drink,” I know it’s not that easy. I know the pain is unbearable, and I know that desire to make it stop at any price.
It will get different in time.
Not necessarily better or easier, but it gets bearable. Scar tissue forms.
I do know drinking doesn’t make the pain go away. Nothing will, honey, so embrace the pain. If you used to run, you know this concept. You hurt and ache and you want to stop, but you keep going anyway. You run through the pain.
And that’s what grief is. You feel the pain, but you keep going anyway.
Embrace it and know it hurts because of how much you loved. The pain is a link to that love.
View the pain as a good thing. A reminder you are alive, a reminder of love, a reminder of your mom.
It hurts to do things sober.
But you do not want to vanish. You cannot. Your mom needs you to stay here, stay present. Remember her, you will feel her in your heart the longer you stay sober and clear-headed. You will see signs if you look for them…
Find solace in that love, find grace in the pain, and find comfort in knowing you are not alone. You’ll find no answers in a wineglass. I tried for years.
You are your mother’s living legacy. Use her grace to live well.
With love,
Christy

*

letter page 1April 10, 2006

Dear Crystal,

I’m so sorry to hear that life is getting you down at the moment. Goodness knows, it can be so tough when nothing seems to fit and little seems to be fulfilling. I’m not sure there’s any specific advice I can give that will help bring life back its savour. Although they mean well, it’s sometimes quite galling to be reminded how much people love you when you don’t love yourself that much.

I’ve found that it’s of some help to think of one’s moods and feelings about the world as being similar to weather:

Here are some obvious things about the weather:

It’s real.
You can’t change it by wishing it away.
If it’s dark and rainy it really is dark and rainy and you can’t alter it.
It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row.

BUT

It will be sunny one day.
It isn’t under one’s control as to when the sun comes out, but come out it will.
One day.

It really is the same with one’s moods, I think. The wrong approach is to believe that they are illusions. They are real. Depression, anxiety, listlessness – these are as real as the weather – AND EQUALLY NOT UNDER ONE’S CONTROL. Not one’s fault.

BUT

They will pass: they really will.

In the same way that one has to accept the weather, so one has to accept how one feels about life sometimes. “Today’s a crap day,” is a perfectly realistic approach. It’s all about finding a kind of mental umbrella. “Hey-ho, it’s raining inside: it isn’t my fault and there’s nothing I can do about it, but sit it out. But the sun may well come out tomorrow and when it does, I shall take full advantage.”

I don’t know if any of that is of any use: it may not seem it, and if so, I’m sorry. I just thought I’d drop you a line to wish you well in your search to find a little more pleasure and purpose in life.

Very best wishes

(Signed)

Stephen Fry

From site: Letters of Note, originally appeared in Volume 28. Letters Of Note: The Book will be published October 2013.

*

“But you can’t get to any of these truths by sitting in a field smiling beatifically, avoiding your anger and damage and grief. Your anger and damage and grief are the way to the truth. We don’t have much truth to express unless we have gone into those rooms and closets and woods and abysses that we were told not go in to. When we have gone in and looked around for a long while, just breathing and finally taking it in – then we will be able to speak in our own voice and to stay in the present moment. And that moment is home.”  ~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, originally appeared in Volume 35

*

“We stumble on… bring a little noise into the silence, find in others the ongoing of ourselves.  It is almost enough… The world spins.  We stumble on.  It is enough.” ~ Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spinoriginally appeared in Sunday Words

*

“There is no escape from the slave catcher’s songs
For all of the loved ones gone
Forever’s not so long

And in your soul they poked a million holes
But you never let ‘em show
Come on, it’s time to go

And you already know
Yeah, you already know how this will end”

How It Ends by DeVotchKa

*

“Grief can destroy you –or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. OR you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see that it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it. The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time, you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.” ~ Dean Koontz, “Odd Hours“, originally appeared in Volume 9

*

“Hold this heart when I go
sing my song when I go
sing it loud when I go
sing it proud when I go
some people are learning to die and some people are yearning to fly…

Oh the thought of death has yet to make me afraid
’cause I will march right off this world into the next like it’s a grand parade
but if you feel lonely just like you want to run and hide
then I’ll wrap my wings around you and give you strength and I won’t leave your side
and I’ll watch over you
I’ll watch over you
oh, my care will cover you just like the moon’ll do

you know I’d love to get to heaven
you know I’d love to see the view
but first I think I’ll stay and watch over you”

When I Go by Brett Dennen

*

“Whether you’ve seen angels floating around your bedroom or just found a ray of hope at a lonely moment, choosing to believe that something unseen is caring for you can be a life-shifting exercise.” ~ Martha Beck, originally appeared in Sunday Words

*

“If I ever leave this world alive
I’ll thank you for all the things you did in my life
If I ever leave this world alive
I’ll come back down and sit beside your
feet tonight
Wherever I am you’ll always be
More than just a memory
If I ever leave this world alive

If I ever leave this world alive
I’ll take on all the sadness
That I left behind
If I ever leave this world alive
The madness that you feel will soon subside
So in a word don’t shed a tear
I’ll be here when it all gets weird
If I ever leave this world alive”

If I Ever Leave This World Alive by Flogging Molly

*

nobody but you – by Charles Bukowski

nobody can save you but
yourself.
you will be put again and again
into nearly impossible
situations.
they will attempt again and again
through subterfuge, guise and
force
to make you submit, quit and /or die quietly
inside.

nobody can save you but
yourself
and it will be easy enough to fail
so very easily
but don’t, don’t, don’t.
just watch them.
listen to them.
do you want to be like that?
a faceless, mindless, heartless
being?
do you want to experience
death before death?

nobody can save you but
yourself
and you’re worth saving.
it’s a war not easily won
but if anything is worth winning then
this is it.

think about it.
think about saving your self.
your spiritual self.
your gut self.
your singing magical self and
your beautiful self.
save it.
don’t join the dead-in-spirit.

maintain your self
with humor and grace
and finally
if necessary
wager your self as you struggle,
damn the odds, damn
the price.

only you can save your
self.

do it! do it!

then you’ll know exactly what
I am talking about.

“nobody but you” by Charles Bukowski from Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way, 2002

This poem was recently shared in last month’s Volume 41 (Sometimes I Wish), but I felt it a perfect closing for this week. Save your self. Do it! Do it! You’re worth saving. Do not drown in your grief. Do not drown your sorrows. Your sorrows know how to swim. Better than you do. Save your self. Do it! Do it! You are so worth it. ~ Christy

(I won’t be responding to comments right away due to my marathon training (in fact, if you see me on-line this weekend, tell me to back away slowly from the computer and to take my “baby donkey” for a run) but if you have a song or poem that comforts you or some thoughts to comfort anyone else hurting, please, please feel free to share. Have a peaceful weekend, and for those in the U.S., a fun Labor Day holiday.)

Words For The Weekend (“There Goes a Fighter”, “It Will Be Sunny One Day”), Volume 28

This is the latest installment of quotes and words that move me for the weekend of 2/9/13 (Volume 28). I hope you enjoy them too.

As most of you know, Spot’s diagnosis came back as high-grade, large-cell, multi-centric lymphoma. We have opted to “get medieval on cancer’s ass” (see video below) with weekly chemo starting this Wednesday. I am immersing myself in canine cancer research and spending time with Spot, but I will try to put out the  occasional update post and inspirational weekend quotes and music post. Oh, it turns out my sugar-free January experiment may have been good practice because we will be making some big changes to Spot’s diet and nutrition (in a nutshell, sugar is bad, bad, bad for cancer patients as it feeds the cancer cells). The good news is, fat is good for cancer dogs- and bacon is full of it AND it’s sugar-free!

If bad-language doesn’t offend you, check out this video clip from Pulp Fiction… HERE… we’re pretty far from okay, but we’re going to fight!  (Link is not suitable for work or young ears due to language.)

~~~

“Until the referee rings the bell
Until both your eyes start to swell
Until the crowd goes home
What we gonna do y’all?
Give ‘em hell, turn their heads
Gonna live life til we’re dead.
Give me scars, give me pain
Then they’ll say to me, say to me, say to me
There goes a fighter, there goes a fighter
Here comes a fighter
That’s what they’ll say to me, say to me
Say to me, this one’s a fighter…”

~ Gym Class Heroes, “The Fighter”, on album “The Papercut Chronicles II“, video link HERE.

*

Alternate song: “Move Along” performed by All American Rejects from “Move Along“, video link HERE

“Go ahead as you waste your days with thinking
When you fall everyone stands
Another day and you’ve had your fill of sinking
With the life held in your
Hands are shaking cold
These hands are meant to hold
Speak to me, when all you got to keep is strong
Move along, move along like I know you do
And even when your hope is gone
Move along, move along just to make it through
Move along
Move along…
When everything is wrong, we move along
(Go on, go on, go on, go on)
When everything is wrong, we move along
Along, along, along…”

*

“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.” ~ Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

*

letter page 1

April 10, 2006

Dear Crystal,

I’m so sorry to hear that life is getting you down at the moment. Goodness knows, it can be so tough when nothing seems to fit and little seems to be fulfilling. I’m not sure there’s any specific advice I can give that will help bring life back its savour. Although they mean well, it’s sometimes quite galling to be reminded how much people love you when you don’t love yourself that much.

I’ve found that it’s of some help to think of one’s moods and feelings about the world as being similar to weather:

Here are some obvious things about the weather:

It’s real.
You can’t change it by wishing it away.
If it’s dark and rainy it really is dark and rainy and you can’t alter it.
It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row.

BUT

It will be sunny one day.
It isn’t under one’s control as to when the sun comes out, but come out it will.
One day.

It really is the same with one’s moods, I think. The wrong approach is to believe that they are illusions. They are real. Depression, anxiety, listlessness – these are as real as the weather – AND EQUALLY NOT UNDER ONE’S CONTROL. Not one’s fault.

BUT

They will pass: they really will.

In the same way that one has to accept the weather, so one has to accept how one feels about life sometimes. “Today’s a crap day,” is a perfectly realistic approach. It’s all about finding a kind of mental umbrella. “Hey-ho, it’s raining inside: it isn’t my fault and there’s nothing I can do about it, but sit it out. But the sun may well come out tomorrow and when it does, I shall take full advantage.”

I don’t know if any of that is of any use: it may not seem it, and if so, I’m sorry. I just thought I’d drop you a line to wish you well in your search to find a little more pleasure and purpose in life.

Very best wishes

(Signed)

Stephen Fry

From site: Letters of Note

*

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” ~ Maya Angelou

*

“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.” ~ Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

*

“The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

*

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” ~ St. Francis of Assisi, The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi

*

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ~ Neil Gaiman, Coraline

*

“Sometimes I go about pitying myself
And all the while
I am being carried across the sky
By beautiful clouds”  ~ Ojibway Expression

*

“Instead of feeling bad
Be glad you got somewhere to go
Instead of feeling sad
Be happy you’re not all alone
Instead of feeling low
Get high on everything you love
Instead of wastin’ time
Feel good ’bout what you are dreaming of…

Instead of feelin’ broke
Buck up and get yourself in the black
Instead of losing hope
Touch up the things that feel out of whack
Instead of being old
Be young because you know you are
Instead of feeling cold
Let sunshine into your heart…”

~ Madeleine Peyroux, “Instead” from album “Bare Bones“, VIDEO

*

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey

*

HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS-

BY EMILY DICKINSON

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops – at all -
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

Emily Dickinson, “‘Hope’ is the Thing with Feathers” from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

~~~

I Am Full of Insatiable Hope for 2013 (and an updated contact and resources page)

I’m a sucker for stuff like this (Google’s year-end video):

I’ve read and heard how so many of us are saying good riddance to 2012, but when I see videos like the one above, I’m reminded yet again of what a pretty awesome world we live in. (Don’t you love the polar bear at 2:22? Awwwww!)

2012, a leap year, was made up of 366 days that are now gone from our lives. We’ll never have those days or that time again. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to waste anymore of my days or squander time or spend my life living in the past when I have no way of knowing how much time I’ll have in the future. I’ve done enough of that. I’m ready to live.

I hope that everyone reading this is fortunate enough to live — truly live, not just exist – and to fully experience each of 2013’s 365 days. I hope they find you happy, healthy, kind and grateful.

I recently told a friend, “I am still full of insatiable hope.”

Insatiable… isn’t that a great word?

And it’s true, I am. Insatiable. I’m very very excited about 2013… Hopeful, optimistic, encouraged. I have a few key areas of my life I plan to focus on, and I look forward to using this blog as a way of capturing and sharing the highs and the lows of the coming year. Don’t worry, I’m working on that post now for later this week. While I’ve enjoyed my mini-hiatus, I’m excited about writing and running and searching and sharing with you.

* I recently updated my “Contact and Resources” page. If you would like to e-mail me for any reason, you’ll find my info there. And if you are starting this year a little less hopeful and excited than I, and you need some help from someone but you don’t know where to turn, I have a full listing of help and contact numbers and resources. Or if you are excited about getting sober or clean, you’ll find some links and info there too. (Don’t forget I keep a “Recovery Blogroll” of other great sober bloggers–many of whom focus primarily on sobriety in their writing. We all have our own styles and focuses, so check a few out if you are sober or working on it.)

I hope you all enjoy this first day of 2013! To my sober friends, isn’t it nice to not be hung over today?! To my non-sober friends, (in my whispered tone), been there done that haha, drink lots of water today and pop a few Advil and read this from lifehacker.

Good luck to my Georgia Bulldogs who play Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl today. Go Dawgs! Sic ‘em! Woof, woof, woof! (Yeah, it’s a Georgia thing. :) )

***

Waking up this morning, I smile,
Twenty four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment
and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.  Thich Nhat Hanh

***

It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.  Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

***

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt, crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can,
tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely,
with too high a spirit to be cumbered
with your old nonsense.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

~~~