My Morning Do . . . Tears

Tears of Grief — Grief of Tears

~~ by tkbrown — ≥∑

28 November 2020 — The worldwide loss associated with the Covid-19 pandemic has, is, and will have far more impact on us as individuals, as families, as communities, as states, as countries, and as a world than we might ever imagine. There is nothing to reference in responding to these losses. Yes, there have been pandemics before, but the world population, the interaction of countries around the world and the commercial interdependence around the world are far greater than ever before, so the impact of this type of phenomena is unprecedented.

The manner in which some of the losses have occurred, the extent of loss one individual must bear, the burden on families trying to somehow fill the shoes of a person, or persons, no longer with them–these are just a few of the personal losses being experienced. Similar losses have occurred in the professional/work realm, and at the governmental realm–and we are far from done with the related losses.

I believe these losses may be part of the impetus behind the need to protest to such extent as we are seeing in society today. There is no visible, touchable culprit causing these losses in our lives. There is not a “person” we can blame and vent upon, because it is not a person who caused the losses. This invisible force is ravaging our world, and the only way we know to let others know how much we are hurting is to savagely molest something that physically represents some other area in which we feel an intangible loss.

I would encourage caution in this approach. The one thing our families, governments, world do not need right now is another area of major loss. We need to shore each other up and find healthy outlets for our grief. A house divided is a house that falls. The same applies to governments and countries. Learn to grieve in healthy ways rather than creating more pain and grief. I know the tendency may be to lash out at the first possible expression of tangible loss. Remember, this only creates layers of losses. Do what you can to relieve the situation rather than add to it.

True grief, the cleansing kind of grief, involves the shedding of tears. If we do not ever cry, we can never release all of the negative. This release allows us to truly hold the good close to our heart. Many times, I have cried for the loss of someone I love. Many other times, I have told myself to “suck it up and be and adult.” Big girls don’t cry is the message I was sending myself. The question is: “Why did I send myself that message?”

Society teaches both girls and boys not to cry. “Big girls don’t cry” and “Big boys don’t cry” are phrases children are taught as they grow. No one wants to deal with a whiney crier, so it is deeply ingrained into a person by adulthood. We all “need” to cry sometimes. When we experience a loss, it is oft important to acknowledge that loss with tears. If we do not do this, we are never truly cleansed of the negativity associated with the loss (i.e., self-talk: “I can’t go on without _____.” “I can’t do this alone.”). There are any number of negative things we may say to ourselves when loss occurs.

This, “big boys and girls don’t cry” is much more deeply instilled in boys than in girls. It is generally acceptable for a woman to cry–sometimes. After all, women are the weaker sex, so we cannot be expected to go through life without crying. Men, on the other hand, have to “suck it up.” The message sent to men says it is never ok for them to cry. To that, I say: “Hogwash!”

All of us need to cry sometimes to release the pain associated with loss. Men hurt, too, when a loss occurs. We need to make a special effort to teach boys and girls it is ok to cry when we are deeply hurt. We also should accept that there are times tears are shed from joy or gratitude–and that is ok too.

The grieving process in the loss of a dear loved one is never complete until tears are shed. If we want to let go of the negative aspects we associate with that person’s leaving us, we must release those associations with our tears.

When my Daddy and Mama died, I didn’t cry at all until the funeral (just before–on the way to it) for Daddy. When the tears started, they would not stop until I had emptied those feelings of loss and–yes, deprivation–I was feeling. I cried so hard it worried so me who were there. I knew I would never be able to see them, hug them, tell them I loved them–ever again. The pain associated with knowing this had to be released. Only then could I know I would always be able to talk to them, because they are both a part of who I am.

Just as God dwells inside me because I am His temple, there are bits of the people I have lost inside me too. It matters not whether they are family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers–whatever the interaction that made us care for them as a person–to some extent, we need to release those feelings of loss. The death of a loved one–other than Mama and Daddy–has never pulled so many tears from me before I could stop them. Yes, I love my siblings–and I cry when they die–but it is not as intense as losing Mama and Daddy. The important thing I must stress here is: the tears did not occur with that intensity again. Yes, I would tear up occasionally; sometimes, I would cry for a minute or two, but I never cried like that again. I released the intensity of the loss with those tears. This left me with the ability to remember the good parts of my life-giving interaction with them–to hold those parts of them close to my heart. It also left me able to meet the responsibilities of job, family, etc. in the days and months that followed.

This need to cry when loss occurs applies to men too. It is not likely they will cry as hard as I did, but they may. It depends on the extent of loss they are feeling. The loss of some loved ones is no less painful for them than for a woman. Society tends to instill the “no tears” approach much more deeply in men. Whether it is the loss of a person, a thing, or a place–either permanently or for a time, tears may need to be shed. The more dearly and more closely held to our heart, the greater the need for tears. This is true for men as well as for women.

I believe this message allowing tears to be shed at times can be conveyed through learning, in books, the media, social studies, and via other means. It can begin during early childhood and progress into adulthood. In this way, we can give each other–both male and female–permission to release the pain through tears. It is when this is not allowed, the grief of tears becomes a negative concept–so we learn to “suck it up, be an adult.”

The grief of unshed tears can be far more damaging to our psyche than tears of grief ever could be. Tears held in and never released may sometimes be seen as anger toward self or others, negative views of self and/or others, or in other ways too difficult to explain or discuss in a brief manner. It can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and require the need for extensive processing to facilitate the healing of release. Whatever the setting, eventually those tears of grief must be shed or the grief of tears begins to become the norm.

If we think we cannot release our grief–that it must be held in until it is gone–we will never allow ourselves to properly grieve. It will not go away if we hold it in. So, if we can ever truly overcome our grief, the freedom and permission to cry will be a part of the path we take to the ultimate, healthy acceptance we desire to achieve. Healthy acceptance will never mean we do not miss the object of our loss. It means we accept the loss and its importance in our lives; we give ourselves permission to grieve for that loss when the need arises. This allows us to move past the grief and back into productivity.

I know, we don’t typically think of our familial and friendship relationships as an area of productivity, but a lack of productivity in these areas means those relationships die. Thus, a lack of interaction with family and friends–when it is within our ability–signals the probability of a loss that has not yet been resolved within. An unwillingness to interact signals that irreparable damage has been allowed to develop at some point in time. If not addressed and worked through (processed)–with or without the other person–healthy relationships are not likely to occur in the future because there will be a lack of trust. This lack of trust will impede the closeness of all relationships.

So, when loss occurs, give yourself permission to cleanse the unhealthy pain by allowing the tears to wash it away. Holding that pain in will cause its own grief–separate and apart from the loss. Big girls and boys do cry sometimes. These tears allow us to go on meeting other responsibilities so long as they do not dominate our life. Don’t allow your tears of grief to become the grief of tears not released.

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Sources:

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth & D. Kessler. (2014). On Grief & Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss. Scribner. New York.

Kirby, Stephanie. Med. Rev. by Santa, Melinda. (17 September 2020). “The 7 Stages of Grief and How They Affect You.” betterhelp at betterhelp.com. Mountain View, California: betterhelp.com. (28 November 2020). https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/grief/the-7-stages-of-grief-and-how-they-affect-you/?utm_source=AdWords&utm_medium=Search_PPC_c&utm_term=_b&utm_content=80082676786&network=g&placement=&target=&matchtype=b&utm_campaign=6459244691&ad_type=text&adposition=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwqrb7BRDlARIsACwGad7NNf5XmV3-_em0YWLV2asKoQx8ZSJ4JJZ5K4bxBrDIFplE2zwlaWoaArSQEALw_wcBl.

Eds. Web MD. Reviewed By: Goldberg, Joseph, MD. (13 April 2018). Grief and Depression. WebMD at webmd.com. (28 November 2020). https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-grief#3.

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Photo Above: by pen_ash at pixabay.com.

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My Morning Do . . . Grief and Proactivity

~~ by tkbrown

26 September 2020 — As I mentioned in my previous post, depression associated with grieving is a normal reaction to loss. There are myriad possibilities as to what the loss may be, and one will be dealt with a bit differently from another. If addressed proactively as the grieving process progresses, oftentimes serious depression can be avoided. However, if one does begin finding it difficult to engage normal daily living activities, it may be necessary to schedule a few days to work on specific areas of concern. This can be accomplished alone or with the help of a person who has already proven to be a trustworthy support person in the grieving process.

Depression slows one down during the grieving to aid the introspective work necessary to move past it and into some level of acceptance. Taking some time for inner exploration will speed the path to recovery. There are ways to address the depression on your own, without any outside help if these activities are begun before recognizable impairment develops.

One way to move into and through depressive thoughts is to journal. Set aside a time each day to record thoughts in a composition notebook. Sitting in a quiet place, away from any possible interruptions, begin writing–whatever you are thinking at the time. If what you write does not make sense, this is ok.

The purpose of this portion of the journaling activity is to see the organization of your thoughts. Try not to miss any words — stream of thought is important. Write quickly; slow transcription of thought to paper can cause thoughts to wander due to distraction which causes inaccurate reflection. Recording of thoughts should continue for five to ten minutes. Set a timer or an alarm so concerns about the time do not interrupt the flow of thought.

When time has elapsed, take five minutes to free your mind. Then, read over what has been written. Try to note any patterns or specific lines of thought. Note topics and related concerns on a clean sheet of paper. Then take fifteen minutes to write about worries–concerns noted since your last journaling exercise. Elaborate a bit on each. Discuss specific thoughts noted to be interrupting normal activity.

Now, list some enjoyable activities. Hobbies of a creative nature are often helpful in overcome disruptive depression. If drawing or painting are enjoyable options, express feelings in the art. Draw or paint feelings onto paper or canvas. There are no right or wrong approaches. Just draw, sketch, or paint using charcoal, coloring pencils, pastels, or paints as mediums.

Other creative activities to consider include writing (i.e., poetry or prose), needlecrafts such as sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, cross-stitch. Cooking, (i.e., making breads–rolls, loaf breads, even cookies) anything that allows complete distraction from the loss. These activities will assist the process of moving through the depression to beginning life again after the loss. Acceptance involves learning to live with the loss. Fill time, previously engaged by the loss, with activities and people you enjoy.

As enjoyable activities continue, begin taking ten or fifteen minutes of daily journaling time to discuss the previous day’s activities. Describe your perceptions of the creative activities and endeavors being pursued. Write anything coming to mind. The goal is to slowly notice movement back into a normal activity level.

The loss will always be a part of the person you become. As you remember positive aspects previously brought to life by the loss, begin to focus on ways related memories are transitioning into strengths and creating the “you of tomorrow.” Proactive approaches, such as journaling and conscious activation of hobbies can be very helpful to resuming normal daily living.

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My Morning Do . . . On a Barren Shore

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Just a Note: by tkbrown

Since we are also looking at the grieving process midst all the suffering from so many different sources, I decided to share with you today this poem. I penned it 4 November 2018, but it covers many concerns in our societal grieving process. It seems, we see a few days of reprieve, and then it starts all over again. As I mentioned a few mornings ago, society addresses the same concerns as individuals, it is just multiplied many times over because individuals, families, communities, regions, economies, countries, and the world are all grieving at the same time. So, I deemed it appropriate to share it this morning because so much grief can make everything and everyplace seem like a Barren Shore.

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. . . On a Barren Shore

~~ by tkbrown
I see your suffering,
understand that your pain is deep
as the ocean and wide as the universe,
that it holds your soul captive
midst the struggles of life.
It stifles your heart song,
makes even small inclines steep;
the best of days stretch forth -- an unending curse
cast with punishing missive,
stuffed with ripples of strife.
Making weakness seem strong,
the waves that powerfully creep
in from some deep untimely soulful immerse
as nauseous retchings that grieve
wounds like a sharp-edged knife.

If my understanding
can lessen the depth of your pain,
gladly will I cover the highest sharpest peak --
my body a shield to ward
off such murk from the moor.
Such inept grappling
I offer as shelter from rain,
saturating clefts of hiding, when dark hours sneak
to sharpen and hone the shard
hacking your inner core.
Still, it's an offering
of my heart, to lessen the stain
wrought by the effort to be strong when weak
due to loss that leaves one marred,
scarred -- on a barren shore.

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Photo Above: by pen_ash at pixabay.com.

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My Morning Do . . . “Losses”

~~ by tkbrown
19 September 2020
Midst all the grieving and lamenting
with such intensity the heart doth ache.
Whom can I trust? The pain, the not feeling
is more than this old, feeble soul can take.
One disaster hits, and then another.
Before I can stand up straight, I smother
the screams of anguish inside, and I hide
the pain because my neighbor cannot find
half of her belongings. How can I scream?
I need to be strong and help mend the seam
the storm ripped open before something else
renders it irreparable. Immense
are the threats to my survival, but I
am not important right now, and I sigh--
deeply, longingly--and look to the sky.

There is death and dying all around me.
Ash and charred wood, far as the eye can see
and I wonder, how will it ever be
the same; and I just want to run, to flee
and forget the loss stretching, engulfing
all. No home, no  business, no feeling
to express the emptiness entrenching
the dried riverbed; ash coating, drifiting
between the stones--gray, forlorn, seemingly
afraid to hope for better day. Achingly
eyeing the chard remains, desperately
recalling beauty--incongruently.
This is not a scene one would ever want
to revisit. Even new growth could not
erase the scars, the memories so scant.

As I contemplated the losses our country
and my fellow-citizens have experienced this week--
from fires and storms,
I grieved with them--for them;
and I penned these words
as an expression of my condolences.

To those not suffering loss at this time,
if you are ever in the path of such powerful forces,
evacuate!

Leave hearth and home!
No material belongings are worth your lives!
This cannot be stressed too much. 

The country, the world is already reeling
from unfathomable loss,
and the grieving process has begun.

The five stages of grief:
Denial,
Anger,
Bargaining,
Depression,
and Acceptance
have begun.

No two persons experience them in the same order
or to the same depth.
Oftentimes more than one can be seen at the same time.

Therefore,
no two countries will experience them the same.

Denial is not yet past--for us--
here in America!
The Anger has begun,
mostly in the form of rioting,
looting,
violence,
and mayhem
focusing on other areas
rather than the death and dying
all around us
directly related to coronavirus--

in our families
and in society.

So, the Denial has not passed.
It is still going on
along with the Anger,
and some Bargaining.

Expressions of Anger are being blamed
on events not truly related
to society's loss from the pandemic.

It is hard to separate personal loss
from societal loss.

Is that even possible?
I don't think so. 

Be strong enough to feel--more than the anger!
Be strong enough to heal--more, more than yourself!
It will take introspection refueled
to collectively grieve and to rebuild.

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Photo Above: by Dylan Nolte @Unsplash.com.

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Source: Kubler-Ross, M.D. and D Kessler. (August 2014). “On grief & grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss.” Scribner. New York. (16 September 2020).

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My Morning Do . . . “Loss and Grieving”

~~ by tkbrown

18 September 2020 — The loss being felt by every person in America is unmistakable, but indescribable. The amount of economic security that existed, for the most part, prior to the onset of coronavirus was more than ever known. A mental review of our nation’s good times–and bad– show an economy never so fully engaged with the world. Now, the trust linking countries and economies has been severed in many cases. Some–stronger–are weathering the storm, but so much worse for the wear. This loss is not limited to that of individuals within the country. This loss is of the country. Our nation is hurting right along with every citizen, resident, and alien. We are not alone in this loss. Every nation in the world is reeling with us.

The sheer number of deaths in the six months since the pandemic struck American soil are unprecedented. For many, there has been no time to truly grieve for want of trying to survive. Those in the health professions have been too busy trying to save lives to properly grieve losses in their private lives. The illness is so insurmountable, neither individuals suffering from the virus nor those caring for them have been spared the trauma of long-term suffering. Post traumatic stress disorder is a given for many of the survivors and for their caregivers.

Here in America, a “lockdown” perse could not be implemented. Such is the cost of freedom. Most other countries do not enjoy “freedom” to the extent Americans do. Our constitution engenders the right to refuse such imprisonment, and our citizens did just that. The consequence of that refusal has been the insurmountable death toll we are seeing because that refusal brought with it a spread of the virus not seen in other countries where true lockdowns could be enforced. Our government has told its citizens, “you are free to choose; so, you have the responsibility to choose wisely or suffer the undesirable consequences that accompany poor decision making”. The whole country has this freedom, and much of the country did not choose wisely.

The losses associated with preventive efforts, such as self-quarantine, has been the closing of many thriving businesses. Even with efforts to minimize the impact, the individual lives scarred by sacrificing all will never be the same. Jobs, businesses, schooling, production, productivity as a whole has been limited to such a degree it may take years to overcome the setback.

No one saw it coming. No one had a plan because there was no guidebook. Nothing outlined before even came close to including all losses being experienced today. It is a “one step at a time” endeavor. We have made mistakes, but much has been done right too. For every choice, there is a consequence. When we do not know what the consequence will be for a particular action, we make regrettable mistakes. However, we do not have the time to moan and groan over those mistakes, and we do not have time to point fingers regarding mistakes. No one is immune; everyone has made mistakes.

The blame game wastes precious time. It is a form of denial regarding the true severity of the situation. Our citizenry must stop the infighting and admit the feelings associated with the losses without hurting self or others. The anger being expressed in the violence and rioting must stop. It is hurting innocent people, and it is hurting those inflicting the harm.

These societal losses are experiencing the same stages of grieving seen in individual loss, but on a much larger scale. The anger is a symptom of being ready to address the underlying feelings. So, it is time to begin communicating those underlying feelings. To do this, it is necessary to understand the stages associated with grief. Our society, as we knew it, has died–worldwide–and it is left to us to pick up the pieces, one at a time.

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Photo Above: by Dylan Nolte @Unsplash.com.

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Source: Kubler-Ross, M.D. and D Kessler. (August 2014). “On grief & grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss.” Scribner. New York. (16 September 2020).

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My Morning Do . . . “Grief”

~~ by tkbrown

16 September 2020 — The world’s anticipation of the year 2020 was something of a phenomenon. The 1920s were known as “The Roaring Twenties.” Perhaps we were wondering if the 2020s would be remembered in similar fashion. As the year began, we were looking at a world where economic recovery seemed to take hold, then it began to grow. Hopping a flight to the other side of the world was as commonplace as a trip to the next state was in the Twentieth Century. The concept of the end of the year being less was not one the world could grasp. There was no anticipation for the grief that lay ahead.

Today, six months into the coronavirus pandemic, the United States is groaning with grief. The country is coping with grief from losses no one could have dreamed of as the New Year took hold nine months ago. Now there is loss of loved ones, loss of work, loss of family gatherings, loss of in person worship services, loss of businesses, loss of seeing school friends, . . . the loss of life as we knew it. The United states is not alone in these losses. In many ways, the world is groaning too.

There is also anticipatory grief for the loss possibilities which lie ahead. The questions are just under the surface in most minds: “What next? Will I lose a loved one? Will I get sick and lose my life as I know it? Will I die too?” Everyone is thinking these things, but few will admit it. According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler, the anticipation of future loss is a grieving process in itself.

Are you grieving a loss? Are you anticipating future loss? Both forms of loss create the need to grieve, but few will acknowledge the fact. “Hold your chin up!” “You will survive!” “Suck it up and go on!” “No one wants to hear you whine!” One or more of these statements–and others–are heard by most as the struggle to get through the death and dying around us goes on. People are exhibiting every stage of the grieving process, but few feel free to let it show. Grief is discussed so very little–even though it is happening all around. Most probably do not even recognize the symptoms.

I am not going to discuss the various stages of grief in this writing, but over the next weeks I will describe the stages and some of the societal symptoms of those stages. Even the violence seen in this country, and in others, is a symptom of societal grief. I believe it is time for us to look at the multiple sources of grief around us and begin to embrace the associated needs–in society and in our own lives. It is time to truly begin the grieving process for all of the losses we are trying so hard to pretend do not matter. They do matter! Our societal ills are saying if we do not allow ourselves to admit the reality of it all, human behavior will regress even more.

Yes, we must go on, but we must also stop and take some time to grieve the loss of a close family member and of other losses. The losses in areas of daily living as we once knew it need to be waded through. It is important to remember, “We must go on!” Somehow, we must pick up the pieces and patch them back together. We must, and we will, survive! This is ‘the scraps’ life gives us sometimes. So, feel it and move on.

Have a Blessed Day!

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Photo Above: by Dylan Nolte @Unsplash.com.

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Source: Kubler-Ross, M.D. and D Kessler. (August 2014). “On grief & grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss.” Scribner. New York. (16 September 2020).

Taking Some Time to Grieve

by tkbrown

I will be absent from my site for a few days. Two of my siblings have passed away in three weeks, and I am allowing myself some time to grieve. I will be back with everyone soon. Please continue to peruse my site, read posts you have not read before, don’t forget to “Like,]” and “Comment.” I look forward to reading your comments when I return.

Thank You for your understanding during this time. Blessings to all!

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