Over the last 24 hours, I have struggled to put into words, even in my own mind, why I feel affected so strongly by this past weekend. On the face of it, there are no particular traumas direct enough to affect me:
I didn’t experience the storm that ravaged Ottawa — I missed the rain before 4:15 p.m. as I was at work, and by 5:15, I was at home with Jacob hanging out and playing board games by flashlight, no real issues;
One of the tornadoes hit our “area” and in theory it *could* affect me, but it wasn’t MY neighbourhood, proximity is more tangental in that it hit close to Jacob’s school. However, the school itself wasn’t affected and while the actual neighbourhood is near where I used to live, that was 20 years ago, and I never went over near the area that was hit…it’s pretty removed from my life, and I don’t feel any internal, personal resonance to the location; and,
I was without power for 60 hours, but well, so what?
Just under a year ago, I posted a message about feeling loss around the time of Easter (An emotionally difficult weekend). Basically, it’s a holiday that for me has always been associated with my mom. Not that she was a giant “Easter” person with egg hunts and stuff, maybe just because it is at heart a religious holiday and my mother symbolized my Catholic heritage. Since her passing, I’ve struggled with grief in varying forms.
For the first year, most of the time was taken up with logistics of her estate and the grief was kept at bay, at least in part. Then, as time passed after closing the estate, I noticed that I was run down. My normal psychological tools weren’t working either. Normally, if something is bothering me, I have three tools available to me.
First, self-reflection. If I think about things, try to quiet my mind, and simply reflect on the times when things are bothering me and what some of the triggers might be, I can often figure out pretty well who, what and sometimes why. » Read the rest
Grief is one of the strangest emotional processes that I have ever experienced. I never knew my grandparents really, so their loss was quite minor to me. Equally, I wasn’t super close with aunts and uncles, so when they passed, it was relatively unaffecting. My first brush with death was when I was in about grade 3 and one of the kids in our school drowned in a winter creek. I wasn’t close to him, didn’t know him that well, but kind of in line with some of the emotions you see in the movie Stand By Me, there was some sort of effect.
Fast-forward to age 28, and I lost my father. The exact cause wasn’t determined, we didn’t do an autopsy, but he had been a heavy smoker and he had had several heart attacks over the years. In the end, he was having blood clots and the bypasses were only partial remedies. » Read the rest
Just after the Easter weekend, I posted an update about my tough weekend (An emotionally difficult weekend). Mostly what I described was how I felt disconnected from my roots since my mother died, and that I felt a bit lost. Lots of my friends chimed in, some with support, some with their own stories of loss, isolation, disconnection, even potentially feeling like an orphan despite being an adult. Some suggested ways to reconnect with the community or my own new family, although disconnection probably wasn’t quite the right sentiment that I was trying to describe. It isn’t like I feel isolated, no family, no friends, but rather more like an inexperienced sailor who has sailed out into the ocean but who now notices that he can no longer see the land that originally oriented him to his point of origin. So, lots of reactions, lots of support, and I appreciate all of it. » Read the rest
For those who know me in real life and not just online, you know that my mother passed away just over 2 years ago from ring-cell cancer that had spread through-out her body. It was a frustrating experience for everyone — a failing body with no obvious cause, with the final diagnosis only coming with the post-mortem examination (i.e. an autopsy). But, on the positive side (to the extent that there is ever a positive side to losing a parent), it wasn’t “sudden” with no opportunity to say goodbye.
My father had passed away 17 years before, so that basically leaves the six surviving kids, of which I am the youngest. For some people, the loss of a parent can be a bonding experience, showing what the kids are made of as they pull together. In our case, it really showed that of the six kids, two see the world in a radically different way than the other four. » Read the rest