11 Dec 2019

Recently, I’ve been pulling writings from a series of notebooks and adding them into my second book file. In some weird way it’s fun. Not just the transferring of written ponderings, reflections and observations into book format but re-reading all the other scribbles that are non-book II related.

Today I came across some notes I’d made when I was trying to figure out the title for my first book “Grief is… Thoughts on loss, struggle and new beginnings.” My working title had been “Really?!? This is normal?” To me, it was the obvious choice because first, it was the question I repeatedly asked during those early days and secondly, because as it became increasingly clearer that what was going on in the weird world of grief was indeed considered ‘normal’ I adopted “This is normal!!!” as my opening statement anytime I felt compelled to explain what was going on to someone who hadn’t experienced a great loss.

I still like that original title but was advised by the publisher to put “Grief” directly into the title, which I obviously did. In many ways this makes sense, especially for a previously unpublished author. That doesn’t ‘mean I still don’t like my working title better, cause I do. Ah but I digress. Back to my book title brainstorming notes and a sample of my pseudo-brilliance (lol).

Potential book titles included:
“Disbelief and other absurdities of living with grief”
“The Grief filled life”
“When Grief moves in”
and …
“When Grief smacks you between the eyes and leaves you breathing but bleeding”.

When I read that last one I laughed out loud. Grief does do that to a person. It does smack you between the eyes and it hits really hard. It’s kind of a wallop. And you are left breathing; sometimes it may feel more like gasping for air, but all the same you are ‘still breathing.’ Does it wound you and do you feel as if you’re bleeding? Absolutely. And of course, because it’s not a flesh wound but lies deep within you, the wound is not apparent to many. But this is what it is and somehow it’s still funny. Oh well. That was how I felt and thought back then. And it was bang on. Fortunately, this is now and though the sentiment is still true, I’m not sure I could have come up with that potential title today. *

Here’s the great thing. Somehow my laughing out loud at grief smacking me between the eyes and leaving me breathing but bleeding has turned into my wanting to remind all those who are grieving that when you don’t have the words that others want to hear it’s okay to simply tell it like it is. Apparently, brutally honest can also be funny. Funny is good.

For those of you who find that words aren’t your thing and verbally expressing what you’re living with to others is in the “no way, not me” zone, then, I’m hoping you will find a non-verbal way to express your grief. Try drawing, painting, planting a garden, sculpting, writing a song, building a cabin in the woods, restoring an old car – find something that can both consume you and allow the sadness of your grief to flow out from you. If none of these ideas appeal to you I’d like to suggest Axe Throwing. Somehow or other axe throwing has becoming a culturally acceptable means of entertaining oneself. I’ve been meaning to try it myself. I think it could be cathartic. There is something about heaving a large axe with intention and focus and watching it hurl through the air that just sounds good to me. It’s as if in throwing the axe I would also be able to throw away all the anger and hurt that grief has brought to me.  I suspect there are many other similar activities that could work equally well. However, this is not my area of expertise so I will leave it to others to fill in the blanks or share their suggestions in the comments section below.

The point is that it isn’t important how we release our grief but that we do release it and that we do it in a non-harming way. ‘Breathing but bleeding’ captured it well for me. I am grateful that writing helps me make sense of the world. I find it very helpful and I especially like it when I get to laugh at myself. It’s even better when I get share my somewhat perverse sense of silliness with others. It’s all part of the healing process. Good luck. I know you will find your way, axe throwing or otherwise.

Till next time,
Stay well,
Heike

* In case you’re wondering my sense of humour, though less raw, remains a bit dark and twisted and I have to admit I like it like that. Oh well. This is now.

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Looking for previous “Widow Wednesdays? Start here with Widow Wednesday #1
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