Friday, June 19, 2009

Grieving and Healing

RantWoman's sense of the year is all out of sorts with respect to many around here.

A couple weeks ago during Meeting for Worship, a Friend rose and ministered about how she was so full of gratitude that it felt like November. It was a bright sunny magical summer day and RantWoman wanted to screan "Bite your tongue" lest the ministry summon the dark and grey and soggy of November. Summer is barely here and the world needs its green leafies, not the dark sweet roasted veggies of fall.

More to the point, had worship wanted for additional vocal ministry RantWoman would have ministered about being grateful in whatever season one is grateful and might have ventured to share "For the Beauty of the Earth," a hymn of gratitude RantWoman was so deeply grateful to have had sung at her father's memorial years ago.

RantWoman felt equally out of sorts about a recent effort to hold a meeting for grieving and healing in her Meeting. RantWoman would not have minded something solemn related to Memorial Day somewhere during Memorial Day weekend perhaps with special care for stupid wars and young people coming back in horrible shape. Instead she was served up something small and a little stifling the week AFTER memorial day, held indoors on another day when a proper Northwesterner absolutely ought to be outside soaking up vitamin D.

RantWoman could of course have simply skipped the festivity; RantWoman was in fact only there because she said she would make coffee for the potluck afterward. Well RantWoman exaggerates: it was indeed tender to hear people speak of what was on their hearts but RantWoman was much more clear to uphold what everyone else was speaking of than to speak herself.

Now it's RantWoman's turn

RantWoman will admit it: she still misses her beloved cat Ms. Fuzzface who had to be put to sleep last year due to mouth cancer. This ache had subsided quite a bit but flared up oddly for a few days with the appearance of Guest Kitty, a sweetheart with a completely different temperament than Ms. Fuzzface. It does not even help that Guest Kitty is a strikingly different color from Ms. Fuzzface. For one thing, Guest Kitty is a lot harder for RantWoman to find. For another Guest Kitty does not yet get as well as Ms. Fuzzface did that RantWoman does not see all that well.

The Fourth of July also looms bittersweet for RantWoman, and this before we even get to patriotic rituals. RantWoman had a friend who breathed his last one Fourth of July evening, after a long and horrid illness, just as a nearby firework fizzled.

Then there was the partner of the friend above. another friend of RantWoman, the sort of person who might appreciate the irony of dying on the anniversary of the Sandinista revolution. He was another scholar of languages and had learned Chinese during the travels that came with his father's military service. This friend spent the last couple of months on this mortal coil ranting at the TV newscasters "It's Tien AN mien, not Tien A mien. RantWoman has been thinking with particular tenderness of this friend this year because of certain 20th anniversaries and the tales behind different faces, how they were able to flee, and the ups and downs of protest and public participation.

RantWoman's father also expired during a different July. RantWoman was grateful in that case to find a book by a couple hospice nurses about how people sometimes time their deaths. RantWoman had previously made a very big surprise trip to MT for her father's 60th birthday; RantWoman is not sure what to make of her father's exit on the Monday after RantWoman's next birthday. This was years ago, and MUCH has settled in RantWoman's heart, but RantWoman is still surprised now and again by dreams, some of them quite weird involving her father.

RantWoman listened to sharings from several Friends of lovers and aunts and other figures. RantWoman does not even know where to begin when talking of one dear, dear friend who has recently discovered that she in fact has several different people living in her head. This is the sort of shocking revelation that is greeted with DEEP skepticism by many.

RantWoman without even knowing she was doing so picked up on memories that different voices know different pieces of and "temporal discontinuities" worthy of bad Star Trek episodes during memory of daily events. RantWoman is also struck by how much learning her friend has done of these people during LONG periods of Buddhist meditation and by the spirit of love and acceptance with which her friend has encountered these newly-revealed parts of herself. RantWoman has also gone on enough long walks among blooming trees with this friend to deeply appreciate her friend's sense of basic phenomenology, something else at the core of how her friend is experiencing this reality.

RantWoman remembers her friend hesitating on the phone about telling RantWoman of her discoveries. RantWoman became very clear very fast that if her friend has no choice about living with these parts of herself then being a friend means RantWoman too will do the best she can to live with them. This friend lives hundreds of miles from RantWoman and RantWoman checks often that her friend has other support both professional and by affinity. RantWoman can sort of guess from a few indications that some of her friend's selves might in fact be a little dangerous and RantWoman for now mainly parks that concern.

Finally, if RantWoman is going to grieve she can always grieve her eyeballs, the way people react to her changed sight, RantWoman's own vississitudes of coping, not coping, acceptance, raving exasperation. RantWoman actually suspects this last topic merits at least one post in its own right, but the world will perhaps immediately grasp why RantWoman likely had much too much to attempt to say in one worship, especially one she has to, wrinkle nose childishly, share with others.

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