Aug 31, 2012

16 years

A couple of weekends ago I wore this dress.  The one other time I wore it? Sixteen years before.  I've saved all the dresses I've worn to school dances and proms.  This one was from a Valentine dance.

I needed something for a party where women were supposed to wear red, and since it was outside and hot this was all I could think of.  I had to do a side by side picture.  I'm posting and writing about this not for the reasons you might think.  Not to tell you to look how it still fits, that's not interesting.  By the time I was about 14 or 15 is when my body pretty much figured out where it wanted to be in terms of height and weight.  I have only strayed (both below and above) under circumstances that weren't natural for me.  Like recovering from a surgery (really skinny) and first moving to NYC where I drank and ate too much for awhile (the plumpest I've been).  My body knows and fights for where it wants to be.

So now that that's out of the way, what I couldn't get over was the person in the dress.  That's what was interesting to me.  What she's gone through in the nearly two decades since she last wore this very same thing!

Who she was before, and who she is now.

I couldn't believe the path that little girl had yet to go down when she went to her Valentine dance, what she would experience over the next sixteen years of her life.

And I wanted to try to write it.

Prom dates and roller skates
First kisses and first heartbreaks
Shorter hair and leading roles
Brand new friends and theatre goals
Platform shoes, a first job at the mall
Egging houses with friends and taking the fall
Coming of age with the first time
Getting sick from mixing liquor with wine
Holding a school office, graduation day
My second visit to New York City and wanting to stay
Westminster College for a year,
Meeting a new best friend to this day I hold dear
Moving across the country at nineteen years old
My world upside down with how New York unfolds
Meeting the boy of my dreams my first day there
Feeling I'd die when two years later he didn't care
Another graduation and in our final play the lead
Moving home when my family was my need
One chapter began when this one was past
Jumping into the wrong relationship and engaged too fast
Back to New York and this time with him
Breaking up and back home to do a new play on a whim
This is the part where life truly starts for me
Growing into the adult I was always meant to be
A new man in the picture, not at all like the rest
He would become my husband, he would be the best
A taste of what fame feels like, at last
YouTube, TV, news, press, runways, happening so fast
The goal of an equity card would at last come true
My first dog (a bird a cat and a frog) would live in my home, too
Many people many plays all add up the story of me
Then would come the summer of 2012, and from new eyes I'd forever see
The first funeral and loss of someone dear
His leaving taught me everything and what's precious I now keep near.
Brand new plans and the biggest chapters still ahead
To the little girl in the red dress, all this I would have said.

Tweet me: @DeenaMarie

Aug 28, 2012

Three months. Three things.

Yesterday was the 27th.  Three month mark.

What I've learned:
You don't know until you know.
You don't know what it is you don't know.
You do until you don't.
You don't until you do.
In all things.
In everything.

We are not our bodies,
yet we are at the mercy of what they decide to do.
Despite thinking that we are them/own them/know them.
Take care of them.
They house our essence.
They betray.

Halfway through with "The Book Thief".  Damn it's great.
It's like slices of the following,
"Fahrenheit 451", "Matilda", "Life is Beautiful" & "Meet Joe Black".

A Bonus:
Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. 
This includes every mosquito, every misfortune,
every red light, every traffic jam, 
every obnoxious supervisor (or employee),
every illness, every loss,
every moment of joy or depression,
every addiction, every piece of garbage, 
every breath.
Every moment is the guru.

-Charlotte Joko Beck

Aug 27, 2012

Dolores Haze.

I still can't get over "Lolita".  What words.  
What beautiful, beautiful, beautiful words.  
Humbert Humberts poem is in my head every day.  
One day, that last line will get tattooed on me. 

Wanted, wanted: Dolores Haze.
Hair: brown. Lips: scarlet.
Age: five thousand three hundred days.
Profession: none, or "starlet"

Where are you hiding, Dolores Haze?
Why are you hiding, darling?
(I Talk in a daze, I walk in a maze
I cannot get out, said the starling).

Where are you riding, Dolores Haze?
What make is the magic carpet?
Is a Cream Cougar the present craze?
And where are you parked, my car pet?

Who is your hero, Dolores Haze?
Still one of those blue-capped star-men?
Oh the balmy days and the palmy bays,
And the cars, and the bars, my Carmen!

Oh Dolores, that juke-box hurts!
Are you still dancin', darlin'?
(Both in worn levis, both in torn T-shirts,
And I, in my corner, snarlin').

Happy, happy is gnarled McFate
Touring the States with a child wife,
Plowing his Molly in every State
Among the protected wild life.

My Dolly, my folly! Her eyes were vair,
And never closed when I kissed her.
Know an old perfume called Soliel Vert?
Are you from Paris, mister?

L'autre soir un air froid d'opera m'alita;
Son fele -- bien fol est qui s'y fie!
Il neige, le decor s'ecroule, Lolita!
Lolita, qu'ai-je fait de ta vie?

Dying, dying, Lolita Haze,
Of hate and remorse, I'm dying.
And again my hairy fist I raise,
And again I hear you crying.

Officer, officer, there they go--
In the rain, where that lighted store is!
And her socks are white, and I love her so,
And her name is Haze, Dolores.

Officer, officer, there they are--
Dolores Haze and her lover!
Whip out your gun and follow that car.
Now tumble out and take cover.

Wanted, wanted: Dolores Haze.
Her dream-gray gaze never flinches.
Ninety pounds is all she weighs
With a height of sixty inches.

My car is limping, Dolores Haze,
And the last long lap is the hardest,
And I shall be dumped where the weed decays,
And the rest is rust and stardust.

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, Chapter 25

Tweet me @DeenaMarie 

Aug 26, 2012

And then I went to the hospital.

Last thursday I ended up in the ER.  What.  The.  Hell.  

Remember how I've blogged nonstop about all the changes that have happened in the last three months (three months tomorrow, to be exact)? And how these changes have been both emotional and physical? And how one of said changes is that I've taken up running? Yeah.  So I've been doing a lot of that.  Thursday I ran for nearly one hour straight.  That's big for me.  Running is so new.  I've worked out regularly for a couple years now, but never all this running.  When I run, I sweat.  Like, massive amounts.  When I get off the treadmill and come upstairs, I look like I've gotten out of the shower.  

There have been a handful of times I've gotten an exercise headache after I've worked out.  It happened twice after zumba, twice after the treadmill.  When I'd looked this up before, I learned I was probably dehydrated and or shouldn't drop my head below my heart.  So I gave up certain post zumba stretches and started to drink more water.  Thursday I drank a water bottle and a couple big glasses.  I felt the headache coming on again.  This was number four, and each time I've had one it's been worse than the last.  

I was trying to ignore it, and went to run errands hoping I could will it to go away.  I had so much to do.  Missing that nights rehearsal, or the next days audition was just not an option.  But by the time I was leaving downtown and on the freeway headed home that afternoon is when things got scary.

The headache was horrible.  It felt like my brain was so swollen in my head, everything was going to pop.  The pressure hurt into my face.  I could feel it in my nose.  My hands and feet took turns feeling tingly and slightly numb.  I was a little dizzy.  I started getting waves of panic where I'd get hot and short of breath.  I wasn't...right.  I was having a hard time staying present.  I felt like I could barely get home.  I have never been so not myself.  I thought I was having a stroke, or something was happening in my brain that shouldn't be.  At the rate things were happening, I figured I only had a few minutes before I would pass out or stop understanding english.  I knew I couldn't drive.  I felt claustrophobic.  I couldn't get to a spot to pull over fast enough.  The freeway seemed endless.  When I realized I wouldn't make it home, I at least wanted to get off the freeway.  

I was able to get off and park my car in a parking lot and call my mom.  She called my dad, who was closer to where I'd ended up and he was there in no time.  I called my sweetheart and I don't know what I said.  My parents called him back once they got me, and he left his studio to meet us.

I was having a hard time and was trying to calm myself, to no avail.  This was like nothing I'd ever felt.  I couldn't will myself to do anything.  I was totally silent.  I didn't want to talk because I was afraid I might not make much sense and I knew I'd need to save my concentration for talking to the doctors.  Yup.  Doctors.  I knew I needed to go straight to the emergency.  No way could I go home and wait for this to pass.  No way could I fight it off.  It was worsening.  I was getting worried.  

We pulled up and my mom got there at the same time.  They brought a wheelchair out for me and after I explained myself at the ER window, telling them it had to do with my head, I was taken back almost instantly.

Then came the IV.  I've had them a few times before.  This one was the worst.  It hurt! A combination of not being able to find a vein that anything would come out of, and my whole predicament made me cry like a baby.  

Long story short, I work out hard regularly, sweat like crazy and don't replenish my electrolytes.  Turns out water made it worse because I was diluting myself of them further.  He also told me I need to fuel myself.  I'll need to eat something pre workout.  I was low on potassium too, so I had a cup full of a potassium drink.  I sucked down the IV super quick.  I also had a CT scan (everything was fine) and morphine.  Woah.  When I have been at the doctor, or sick, or scared I start freezing and shaking and my teeth chatter like crazy.  Thank goodness for warm blankets.  

It was terrifying to me to experience what it feels like to not trust my body.  To not know what my brain is doing.  It was a wake up call to learn that the way I've treated my body for my entire life is now no longer working.  Once again, everything really has changed.  That if I hope to one day have a baby this stress on my body is exactly what I want to avoid.  I need to fuel prior to a workout.  

What I need to do, is learn.  What and when to fuel.  How much my body needs and wants to work out.  How much gatorade I'll need now with each workout.  

Good thing I love gatorade.  

I thought I knew what my body wanted and when.  Obviously what I'm doing is no longer working.  That's hard to wrap my brain around.  What didn't I know, feel, or see coming? And why?

I never, ever want to feel this shitty and have to end up in the ER like this again.  

Thank goodness for my sweetheart and parents who never left my side and took great care of me.
I don't know what I'd do without my favorite three.  

My dad sent me that pic in the hospital bed saying he's going to sell them to the paparazzi, ha ha. Me at my finest.  Hospital light and wardrobe is clearly not flattering for an impromptu photo shoot.  

Tweet me @DeenaMarie 

Aug 20, 2012


She parcels out her personality.  Only few end up with a rich sum.
Very few, indeed.

She keeps close and does not reveal the guts within the core.
Each parceled part, particle, varies greatly depending on environment and aura.
Depends on which version of her you met her during.

Letting out one sliver in one part of her life, she is at constant risk of misrepresentation
for it is not worth any riches to any in her presence.

To be next to her, to speak to her, is not to know her.

In another part, you get nearly all.  And if you are close enough and give enough in return, you affect and inspire and exchange.

A carefully crafted lifetime of being the asker of all, revealer of none,
she's certain no one sees past the smoke and mirrors through to the simplicity of her great trick.

To her own dismay,
doing this has taught her to shut it down rather than invite it in.

They only know she's made them feel important,
and if the exchange goes on long enough, a bit of her strength and other-wordly
qualities just might rub off.

Even so, when you walk away see if you can describe her.
Truly, try.  Make it meaningful.

You can't.

Sometimes so lost inside, she feels gone are those glory days when regal 
was a world used to describe her.
When she was special.  When she was the chosen one.

You see, it is because some days she experiences her physical presence as much larger, bulkier than it ever has been or will be because of the weight of the world that sometimes swells too much unseen inside.

These are heavy days.  It's hard to move through her atmosphere in this little slice of life on those days.

Other days she is certain she's hardly dwelling in her person at all, but beyond!
Radiating through her little space of world with all that is true in her heart.

In great danger of romanticizing everything and experiencing any and every exchange as too much, she seeks instinctually for more.  It is primal.  This need in her to have everything truly be as deep and and as worthy of the importance she assigns it.
She will make it so.

Her nervous system feels inside out sometimes and she is afraid it seeps closer to it's way out of her physicality the older she grows.

Her static feelers out to the world, translating back to her the various levels of sensitivity before she even gets that far, effective immediately.

Certain only of the fact that she is not at all her person, but a complex web, buzzing and alive, a star system too forcefully stuffed into something much to small to retain.

Constant restriction, because she is just too big.

Tweet me: @DeenaMarie

Above photo by Lauren's Photography 8/2012

Aug 19, 2012

Everything is fleeting

The shaved head.  An update. 

Picture above was taken yesterday on exactly the two month mark since the shave. 
Hard to believe it was first this:

And that I actually did this:

Everything is so fleeting.  Every stage, every age, every version of you and your loved ones.  In learning this, I don't mind one bit having to go through what you might call "awkward" phases of growing out my hair.  In fact, I like it.  I like that right now it wants to be in a mohawk.  Chances are, it never will be again so why not embrace it? Once that part's gone, it's gone.  

Just like when I did the initial shave.  I can't believe I crossed something off my bucket list and it's already behind me! Sure it was two months ago, but I've already forgotten what it was like to walk around with it all buzzed off.  

So many people ask why I did it.  If you don't know, please take a second to read this: 

I've never been as present as I have been the last (nearly) three months since CHUCK.  I've also never experienced such a rapid inner growth and had this much change thrust upon me.  It's made me appreciate change all the more.  I long for it.  

Forward momentum.  Metamorphosis.  Accept and allow. 

I've been meaning to post this TED talk for quite some time, one of my favorites and one that has really resonated at this particular time.  
Please take 17 minutes and watch this.  You'll be so happy you did! 

"The cashiers at your grocery store, the foreman at your plant, the guy tailgating you home on the highway, the telemarketer calling you during dinner, every teacher you've ever had, everyone that's ever woken up beside you, every politician in every country, every actor in every movie, every single person in your family, everyone you love, everyone in this room...and you...will be dead in 100 years.  Life is so great that we only get such a short time to experience and enjoy all those tiny little moments that make it so sweet.  And that moment is right now and those moments are counting down and those moments are always always always fleeting.  You will never be as young as you are right now." 
- Neil Pasricha 

Tweet me: @DeenaMarie 

Aug 15, 2012

"There shall Jane's heart always break"

It's hard to have a second to write all that I have swirling in me now that rehearsals have started, but there are a couple things I need to get out before they're too distant.

I've said before how it feels like you pick up a book and it feels like it's always the exact right time to be reading it?

I was in a play this time last year with an actress who said that pertaining to theatre.  I've thought about it ever since, trying to match up past roles with life and feel like it pertained.  But I kept coming up empty.  As far as a new challenge in an acting career, I agreed.  I've been lucky to keep getting handed a role that happens to be something unlike what I've ever done.  But in relation to life, it hadn't really happened.


Monday was the first night of "The Winters Tale" rehearsal, where I listened to the director talk beautifully and passionately about this play being a story of "forgiveness, healing and coming back to life".  The importance of the god Apollo mentioned through the story, who is of course, the god of healing.

I was choked up the entire night.

The read through was magical.  Time was suspended.  Everything was new.

This, along with the youth of the cast makes this feel completely fresh again.  The talk of bravery and guts (you all know brave is my favorite word ever since my favorite acting teacher introduced me to bravery in school in NYC) stirred in me the feelings I used to feel ten years ago when embarking on a play.  The kind of primal excitement and need to do this.  The tingle of the new.

So, clearly I am supposed to have this role, this play, at this time.  Synchronicity.

What a sneaky little universe!

I am beginning to heal and come back to life in my real life slowly and surely.  I want this theatre experience, this "The Winters Tale" to be my own personal Apollo, and I think it just will.

* * *

To remember only the rich parts.  To remember what I want, how I want.
To acknowledge, to get through mourning and to propel.
It does happen.  One day, you realize it's time to move.
Back to life.  Come back to life.
"Gone" is done.  The only choice is new.
Create.  Life.  Go.
To accept and allow and choose consciously.
Forward, forward, forward now.

* * *

I've still got bits of "Lolita" ruminating in me, too.  The last few days have been, well, a lot.  Another goodbye on saturday night, a new adventure beginning on monday.  Big time decisions being made for my life.  Feeling the need for profound change and moving forward now.  No longer time to stew in sadness, but to move ahead.

Dear New York City,
You took yet another away three days ago.  People always leave me on a Sunday.
I have lost (and gained) so much from you.  Lost people, lost loves, lost you.
New York City to me, is where I am Jane...

In me right now, fittingly...

"We all have such fateful objects -- it may be a recurrent landscape in one case, a number in another -- carefully chosen by the gods to attract events of specific significance for us: here shall John always stumble; there shall Jane's heart always break.”

Aug 11, 2012


How beautiful. What a poet. When you hear "gifted author" it's those like Nabokov they're talking about. What I would give to be able to write like him! This book is absolutely relatable for any human being who has ever experienced love. Love takes many forms. Love is never black or white, but grey, grey, grey. "Grey" being used frequently as the book goes on is fitting. 

It is for those of us (all of us) who have had "wrong", "misplaced" and unrequited love in whatever the form may have been or may be. What a deep portrait is painted for us in Humbert! Yes, he clearly is stunted in his sexual development due to his Ephebophilia. But it is a very real thing and the "controversy" comes from a book written with his point of view. It is taboo in society. 

But people are people and made the people they are by the strange string of events that make up a life. By what you endure, the hand fate deals you, and the cruel mistress of time. So why not hear this story? 

His story is told with great humanity and background, making us sorry for the love and happiness he'll never have. Lolita, too, is a character held accountable by her promiscuity, by the fact that the one she does love is also a much older man, and by the fact that she (dear reader!) seduces him.  Of course one can argue she's a child manipulated. But she plays her game too, and is not painted as an innocent by any means. If she were, we'd have a far different tale on our hands.

By the time they have the conversation when she is married and pregnant, I was choked up with my sorrow for Humbert. "He broke my heart. You broke my life". Even when he had her, he never had her. 

We can relate to the just out of reach kind of love. We can relate to madness, jealousy and paranoia that comes hand in hand with that just out of reach kind of love. The point of the book is when Humbert says, " It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight." 

I hardly considered this an erotic novel, since any descriptive or exploitative sex is omitted. What an author to build and describe the longing before anything actually happens that it is actually palpable to the reader. 

I also believe everyone has flashes (to various extents) of a "strange" attraction, or fetish. Most will deny or push away to fit a norm. We all have dark thoughts and feelings at one time or another, we just vary in the depths of it. How deeply we acknowledge, connect to, and live it. 

I am sorry for Humbert as his sexuality remains stunted, and his body ages (in wonderful and terribly sad words), knowing he is surpassing...the outside isn't a match for the inside. 

This sparks discussion of the double standard. This novel to some is "dirty" or "bad", but why is it "hot" or "okay" for "MILFS" to get excited over the heartthrobs of "Twilight" or "High School Musical"?

Youth is always attractive. 

Also, I'm sure parents feel something differently with this story as well. But, Lolita is not six (again, would have been a FAR different story). I also know how I felt and what I thought during her range of ages in the book and, well, I was not always in a "little girl" mindset, either. Given the chance, who knows what I would have been capable of?

It is not a story of right or wrong, but a meditation on crossing the line.  There is no going back, and what happens when the point of no return ends horribly wrong.  This is not a happy love story. 

I loved it. Every word. I was hooked from word one. In my top five books of all time. 

"And the rest is rust and stardust."

Aug 10, 2012

The Peacocks & a few other things.

I've been seeing peacocks everywhere lately.

It started with the return back home after Chucks burial, and ending up at a strange petting zoo at a rest stop.  There she was, a beautiful first peacock, which I got a lovely picture of.

I thought a lot about her after.

I've always liked peacocks but not overly so, yet since then I have been highly aware of them.  I have dreamed of them, I have looked up at the tv just in time to glimpse one, I have had friends post them on my facebook (for no reason other than they though I might like them, since I've never mentioned them) and saw a few more at the Hindu temple a couple weeks ago.

I decided to look up what a peacock symbolizes, knowing that they've been trying to tell/show me something and in a most obvious way!



Like a phoenix.

Further reading tells me they are an emblem of protection, nobility, watchfulness, guidance and holiness.  THe vault of heaven and the "eyes" of the stars who watch all life unfolding.

A peacock is a symbol of:




Of course.

* * *

Tired, inarticulate and with thoughts and feelings I haven't assigned a home to yet, I have today been a step (or more, many more) beyond any kind of tears or localized sadness.

I've also noted (and not noted my thoughts/feelings on this either) that Sunday is the day when everyone leaves.

The year of the new normal.  Losses in abundance, change running rampant.  Appearance, means of transportation, my very insides all altered.

* * *

Tweet me: @DeenaMarie

Aug 6, 2012

What were you driving when?

The goodbyes just don't let up this year!
2012 has proven to be the biggest year of ends and change I've ever had.  

The other day my car overheated on the freeway and stopped running.  It stopped with perfect timing.  I was able to get off the freeway on the exit I was already planning to get off and pull into a parking lot, slide into a shady stall just as the sound and the smoke started up and it quit on me.

After wondering the fate of the car through the weekend, today we found out there will be no saving my car.  

I feel guilty in saying this, because I've been so detached from things and from things that don't matter, but when I realized my car of nearly a decade would be no more, I may or may not have cried for a minute.  I just couldn't believe I had another end to add to the list! 

I was given this car by my parents when an ex boyfriend totaled my car.  It was my first car and I loved it and even though it wasn't his fault, it just figured he was the one behind the wheel when we crashed. He brought a lot of disaster and chaos to my life.  He'd just ruined my little white car and insisted on getting wasted that night, even though that was just more trauma for me and a source of our fights because of how out of control he got.  My first car, that I picked up all my girlfriends in the night I got it and rode all around the neighborhood in.  My first car, that I'd so carefully decided what the first CD was I wanted to play in it.  Missy Elliot, for the record.  

I was so sad to lose that car.  My parents gave me another.  The second car they'd ever given to me.  I was young.  I was almost upset that the car they were giving me was a green blue.  I hate cool colors.  

But this became my car.  This was my car for a long time.  For the longest I've ever had a car.  I learned I cared less about cars.  Whenever I've had to drive a nicer one, like my sweethearts or my moms I stress.  I don't know the feel of it, I feel nervous and I can't relax when I drive.  I can't wait to get back to my little car I know so well, and when I do it's a relief.  

Now it's gone! I have to get a new car! I have to learn a new car and I guess I should be glad but I'm not.  I just want my trusty baby back.  It's been with me through a lot!  

I have also realized my cars have marked times in my life.  When I was in high school I got to borrow my moms car.  I loved driving it, I thought it was really pretty and felt like anyone does with a new license.  On top of the world.  Then one day, right by my house a man pulled out unexpectedly in front of me, totaling my her car.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  Having to miss rehearsal for the musical, "Cinderella" where I was playing Cinderella.  Getting all kind of attention from my cast the next morning, and from the boy I liked because of this accident.  Being seventeen.  Seventeen.  What a magical age.  

Now, I'll mark the end of this car as the time that Chuck died.  He left, and took so much with him.  But he left us with so many seeds of new.  So much is happening and growing since he left.  

I have been so caught up in life and death and what I saw with my own eyes and how I observed my family that I haven't yet been faced with the day where I say to myself, "I want him back.  I miss him." That day was today.  Today I want him back.  Today I miss him.  It's suffocating.  I literally feel full of smoke from it.  I want to talk to him.  I smelt him, strongly, suddenly, while on a walk tonight.  What the hell? The same day I found out I'd never drive my car again.  The same day that was also the first day in a long time I ate, and didn't get physically sick right after.  

I hate parts of this process.  I can't stand parts of this process.  

One thing is for sure, everything around me is morphing to something new.  No use in fighting it.  

I hear you, universe! I hear you! 

Everything is ending and everything will be new.  I don't know why now, or what it all means, but I'm being given this message again and again and again. 

Tweet me: @DeenaMarie 

Aug 5, 2012

365 Mornings

I was given this yesterday.  I really needed to read/hear this.  I feel validated.  I feel like I'm not crazy, but completely normal.  I found this to be a big comfort.  I put in bold the parts that resonated most, and wanted to pass this entire careletter/newsletter from Russon Brothers Morturary on to anyone and everyone who also needs it.

From the moment we hear of a profound loss, we need to take ourselves out of circulation.  There is no sense in making believe nothing has happened.  Stop.  Cancel the party, speaking engagement, or opening night.  Yes.  The show must not go on.  There has been a a tear in the fabric of your life and it requires mending.  No safety pins! For the first week following a loss, consider staying out of your ordinary reality.  Cancel all obligations and go inside.  Go inside yourself, inside your home, with trusted allies and friends be they in the form of people, books, tapes or nature.  Go where you can hear wisdom voices speaking to you and not on the five o'clock news! The voices in your mind are beginning to form a place where you will hold this loss.  Take the time to listen.  Since each loss is unique, you can adjust how long and how deeply you want to disconnect from your ordinary reality, but there is a great wisdom in the face of a death in your inner circle to take a full week.  Time does not heal, but healing takes time.

For seven days ask nothing of yourself.  All professional and personal responsibilities are canceled.  You are instead held, fed, and cared for by family and friends.  The you that was in relationships to what feels lost has died.  Do you have time to sit for a week with your own death?

Returning to ordinary reality at the end of a week asks a great deal of us.  It asks us to trust life enough to return to it.  In the face of profound loss, we take baby steps back into life.  What kinds of places call to you? Listen to your inner promptings.  Who are the people to whom you feel drawn? Who repels you? Listen.  Few of us can afford to climb into bed and pull the covers up.  Most of us need to engage responsibilities around work and families.  This is a safety net so that we don't withdraw totally.  On the other hand, getting back to normal is not possible in the face of having to redefine normal.  Take the time.

There is no closure or completion in the face of loss.  This is a fallacy too many of us hear and then wonder, "what is wrong with me? Why don't I feel closure?" There is no completion, but there is integration.  As we move through the cycles of time that circumscribe our lives - the day, the week, the month and the year - our losses are woven into the fabric of our being.


The first year asks us to be gentle with ourselves.  To remember that our core has been dismembered, torn apart, by loss.  Healing takes time and healing is an active process! We must step up to our grief, meet it, embrace it, and invite it into our lives.  Once we do that, grief begins to teach us.  The first year is a year of firsts! We need to give ourselves 365 mornings where we awaken into the self that contains our loss.  Don't short-change yourself one day.  It's time to heal.

The journey through grief is a highly individual experience.  Rather than focus on a timeline, it is perhaps more helpful to focus on it's intensity and duration.  Initially grief is overwhelming and people can feel out of control.  With time, people find they have more ability to choose when they access memories and emotions.  The intensity of grief is related to the degree of attachment to the person, the type of relationship and other factors such as understanding and social support, personality, and specific details of the bereavement.

It will certainly feel like it at times! Particularly if the individual's need to grieve is out of step with social and cultural expectations.  Grief affects people physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.  People may be required to make adjustments to their lives by learning new skills, at a time when they feel least able to do so.  Validation and permission to grieve are powerful comfort to a bereaved person's experience.

People are individuals with personalities and life experiences, which influence the way in which they deal with grief.  People's style of grieving must be respected, and in this sense, there is no right or wrong way of coping.  However, it is generally believed that the amount of support people receive can ameliorate some of the impact of grief and facilitate recovery.  People often have an awareness about what they need to do to feel better, but feel inhibited or judged and don't act on their inclinations.  Talking about what is happening, what they are going through, expressing emotion and existing in a supportive and accepting climate is generally helpful.  Cultural factors may impact on a person's feelings of a "right" or "wrong way."

Grief does not follow a linear pattern.  It is more like a roller caster, two steps forward and one step back.  Ultimately, people manage to integrate the experience to the point of having a new life arising from the old.  The loss remains and is always remembered, but the intensity is no longer disabling or disorganizing.

Much of grieving is about expressing emotion - some may be unfamiliar and unacceptable to self or others (e.g., rage, guilt, remorse).  Finding a safe place and an accepting person for support to work through all the effects of bereavement is important.  The amount of support available from family and friends may be limited if they, too, are grieving.  Misunderstandings can arise when people are at different points within the grief experience.  External supports may then become a vital factor in surviving and continuing on.  It is important to know that you can survive the experience and that the new life that eventually comes about may have very positive effects despite the difficulty of arriving at this point.

You are now faced with the difficult, but important, need to mourn.  Mourning is the open expression of your thoughts and feelings regarding the death and the person who has died.  It is an essential part of healing.  You are beginning a journey that is often frightening, painful, overwhelming, and sometimes lonely.  This article provides practical suggestions to help you move toward healing in your personal grief experience.

Your grief is unique.  No one will grieve in exactly the same way.  Your experience will be influenced by a variety of factors: the relationship you had with the person who died, the circumstances surrounding the death, your emotional support system, and your cultural and religious background.

As a result of these factors, you will grieve in your own special way.  Don't try to compare your experience with that of other people or to adopt assumptions about just how long your grief should last. Consider taking a "one-day-at-a-time" approach that allows you to grieve at your own pace.

Express your grief openly.  By sharing your grief outside yourself, healing occurs.  Ignoring your grief won't make it go away; talking about it often makes you feel better.  Allow yourself to speak from your heart, not just your head.  Doing so doesn't mean you are losing control or going "crazy".  It is a normal part of your grief journey.

Find caring friends and relatives who will listen without judging.  Seek out those persons who will walk with, not in front of or behind you, in your journey through grief.  Avoid persons who are critical or who try to steal your grief from you.  They may tell you, "keep your chin up", or "carry on", or "be happy."  While these comments may be well-inteded, you do not have to accept them.  You have a right to express your grief; no one has the right to take it away.

Experiencing loss affects your head, heart and spirit.  So, you may experience a variety of emotions as part of your grief work.  Confusion, disorganization, fear, guilt, relief, or explosive emotions are just a few of the emotions you may feel.  Sometimes these emotions will follow each other within a short period of time.  Or they may occur simultaneously.

As strange as some of these emotions may seem, they are normal and healthy.  Allow yourself to learn from these feelings.  And don't be surprised if out of nowhere you suddenly experience surges of grief, even at the most unexpected times.  These grief attacks can be frightening and leave you feeling overwhelmed.  They are, however, a natural response to the death of someone loved.  Find someone who understands your feelings and will allow you to talk about them.

Feeling dazed or numb when someone dies is often part of your early grief experience.  This numbness serves a valuable purpose: it gives your emotions time to catch up with what your mind has told you.  This feeling helps create insulation from the reality of the death until you are more able to tolerate what you don't want to believe.

Your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you fatigued.  Your ability to think clearly and make decisions may be impaired.  And your low-energy level may naturally slow you down.  Respect what your body and mind are telling you.  Nurture yourself.  Get daily rest.  Eat balanced meals.  Lighten your schedule as much as possible.  Caring for yourself doesn't mean feeling sorry for yourself; it means you are using survival skills.

Reaching out to others and accepting support is often difficult, particularly when you hurt so much.  But the most compassionate self-action you can do at this difficult time is to find a support system of caring friends and relatives who will provide the understanding you need.  Find those people who encourage you to be yourself and acknowledge your feelings - both happy and sad.

The funeral ritual does more than acknowledge the death of someone loved.  It helps provide you with the support of caring people.  Most importantly, the funeral is a way for you to express your grief outside yourself.  If you eliminate this ritual, you often set yourself up to repress your feelings, and you cheat everyone who cares of a chance to pay tribute to someone who was, and always will be, loved.

You may find yourself asking, "Why did he die? Why this way? Why now?" This search for meaning is often another normal part of the healing process.  Some questions have answers.  Some do not.  Actually, the healing occurs in the opportunity to pose the questions, not necessarily in answering them.  Find a supportive friend who will listen responsively as you search for meaning.

Article condensed from original.  Reprinted with permission of Center for Loss & Life Transitions.  Article written by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph. D. For much more on this subject, go to:

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Aug 4, 2012

Reading List

What's in your purse on your reading list?

I think the blog posts of "whats in your purse" are silly.  I don't care what's in your purse, and I have nothing interesting to show you in mine...unless you really want to see my Little Mermaid makeup bag, gum wrappers, keys and kindle.

What I'd rather show you is my reading list and I'd like to have yours.

Just finished:
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
(I nearly lost all my brain cells with this one.  I will not be continuing with the 50 shades series.  Really.  It was so stupid it wasn't even worth it for the "sexy" parts.  Horribly written, very repetitive.)

Currently reading:
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self 
by Debbie Ford, Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson 

Waiting for me to read them:
How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Cosmos by Carl Sagan
The Great Gatsby F by Scott Fitzgerald
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
(all I know is that I loved in in Jr. High.  Time to re-read)
Aleph by Paulo Coelho
The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho
My Life Deleted: A Memoir by Scott Bolzan
My Life So Far by Jane Fonda
Destiny, Freedom, and the Soul: What is the Meaning of Life by Osho
The "God" Part of the Brain: A Scientific Interpretation of Human Spirituality and God 
by Matthew Alper
The New Atheism Taking a stand for Science and Reason by Victor J. Stenger

Self  by Yann Martel
The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times by Rabbi David J. Wolpe

That should get me through the end of summer :)

Tweet me: @DeenaMarie