A Quiet Wednesday Today

2012-03-02-11-45-06

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

 

Wednesday is my day for posting about death and dying.

Today just happens to be Ben’s birthday as well.

And for us, death and dying just came right to our front door, with the recent heartbreaking and sudden loss of our dear friend, Nurse Bert, the bestest and goofiest dog we have ever known.

I have tried, but I still can’t bring myself to tell you what happened yet. It was a little like being in a war zone for those last few hours of Bert’s life. We are still running on adrenaline and not enough sleep. We’re all still bruised and traumatised and too numb. We’re all still raw and feeling too much and not numb enough.

That’s what death brings to those who remain. A deep grief and sorrow. A total disorientation. An ocean of feeling and a desperate need to be able to find a way to navigate that ocean without our flimsy crafts being tossed around and going under.

On top of all of which I am undergoing procedures to help settle this intractable antibiotic-resistant UTI, which has been making life a misery.

While enduring a heatwave.

And with a dog left behind who is mourning the loss of his brother hard, and for whom there is currently only sadness in this world. Poor Cafe Dog, our sweet Harry, needs extra cuddles and care right now.

So, today we are having a very quiet day at home. We might just retreat to the only room with air-con – the bedroom – and all have a cuddle and a cry and try to catch up on some sleep.

Thank you so much for your outpouring of love and support. It has been such a comfort to us all.

Hug your loved ones, and be kind to yourselves and each other, today and always,

Much love to you from Nicole, Ben and Harry xx

Vale, Good Sir Bertle, the most distinguished Nurse, companion and burger connoisseur.

2016-11-07-17-50-39

2012-06-27-18-51-16

Nurse Bert

How to Connect with Unexpressed Grief and Emotional Pain

Image from weheartit.com

Image from weheartit.com

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
~ Sigmund Freud

 

It’s never healthy to swallow our grief, to stuff down our pain, to ignore our heartache.

And I also know that sometimes you just can’t fall afford to fall apart in the moment. You might be a care-giver. Or there’s no-one else to support you. You have to get to work on time. You got the bad news on a bus. There’s so much going on and it’s just one hit after another. You need to pick up the kids or keep going until you get through your final exams. One of those things. All of those things.

I understand.

But honey, it’s not healthy to bottle all that stuff up. Eventually those feelings need to be felt.

I have a prescription that works well, and it can be taken at a time that’s convenient to you.

Give yourself a decent length of time. It might be a night. It might be a weekend. It might be a week. You’ll know what feels right.

Get yourself ready by making sure that you’ll be on your own at home. Find some DVDs that you KNOW tap into your emotions and help you to truly feel and to cry. They will allow you to find a way back to your own repressed feelings through the journeys and stories of others.

Have some tissues on hand. Some food. Clean sheets, pyjamas, things that will comfort and nurture you.

Then sit on the couch and watch those movies.

Play the soundtracks that reduce you to tears.

Cry. Wail. Howl. Sob. Blubber like a baby. Scream with grief and rage. Storm around the house in despair and futility. Cry some more.

Get it all out.

Then sleep.

Go again.

Do this until you’re done.

You’ll know it because you’ll feel an easing. Sunshine will begin to pour into that space that’s been cramped and dark and musty. You’ll feel lighter somehow. You’ll come to a space of peace.

Feelings need to be felt.

Maybe it’s time to feel yours.

I’m holding that space for your healing.

All my love, Nicole xx

Image from tumblr

Image from tumblr

Life, blurred.

Typewriter as metaphor for Lyme by Nicole Cody

“I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” ~ Jack Kerouac

Sometimes, life gets smudged around the edges and my crisp lines fuzzle into fluffy lumps of something but I haven’t got the word for it.

No words is hard for a writer. Or when you forget the shape of things or what her name was. When you cry in your breakfast toast for longing. Wishing the words were perfect in your mouth and your mind was like a railway track, clicketty-clack, that knew where it was going.

Yesterday, or some other time, I wrote and I wrote. Because it all came back.

But now the drugs have bitten hard, and my Lyme is sending poison tendrils out that muddle my brain and leave me stranded.

Image from tumblr

Image from tumblr

It’s like dementia sneaks up and steals your soul, who watches you through a clouded glass, trying to call loud enough for you to hear the magic code which will unlock the words trapped in that other part.

So I will dream awake, and hope the tide leaves me on a better shore, one where words and ideas hang from the trees sweet as fruit and just as luscious.

Here it’s all bitter and lonely-making.  Here I am someone less, and I can’t remember what more tastes like.

Image from tumblr

Image from tumblr

Howling at the Moon

Image from Wikia

Image from Wikia

 Those are the same stars, and that is the same moon, that look down upon your brothers and sisters, and which they see as they look up to them, though they are ever so far away from us, and each other.

~ Sojourner Truth

It’s 2 o’clock in the morning and I’m wide awake; fretful and fitful and just a bit teary.

Maybe it’s the Full Moon…

Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve had three days of doctors, more tests and been given my new expanded treatment regime for Chronic Lyme.

I’m introducing three new drugs to the existing two.

That’s a lot of drugs…

And there’s a super-duper new restricted diet to go with that.

I don’t know why that should bother me.  I’ve spent thirty years following various diet plans, supplement and medicine plans and assorted other ‘get-me-well’ protocols. It’s not like I’ve gone from a normal life to this strangeness. This ‘strangeness’ is my normal!

I even have a helpful letter from one of my doctors, that I must use to release myself from a program I am now unable to complete.  I had to open the letter so I could fax it off to the recipient.  My doctor’s final words caught me by surprise, “her prognosis is guarded: I do not anticipate any form of recovery in the next twelve months. This is a most regrettable situation.”

Regrettable?  Yes, I guess it is.  And he makes me sound so sick.

Oh wait. That’s right.  I am.

I’ve been mostly coping okay, and I’m sure that after a bit more sleep I’ll be fine. But tonight, as my skin itches as if I’m being bitten by a thousand angry ants, as my left eye throbs and pulses from the bacteria inflaming my optic nerve, as my joins swell and pain, my head pounding, my ears burning, my gut a tortured length of misery, I am sitting in overwhelm.

I just want to howl.

I can imagine the wild dogs tonight, back at my farm, full voiced as they scream their collective angst and passion and solidarity to the sky.

I wish that I could join them.  The howl’s just there.  A primal thing pressuring the back of my throat.

But the neighbours in this respectable Brisbane suburb might think it strange to see a pyjama clad, tear-streaked woman howling her pain and frustration to the heavens. They’d probably call the police.

If I feel into this unvoiced howl though, if I lose myself to the pain, something comforting happens. Beyond the suffering and the infinite sadness at the loss of so much of my life to this damned thing, I find a strength. If I keep feeling into the howl I find a kinship.

I belong to a kind of fellowship, its members bound through the most primal and visceral of suffering. And I know something powerful about this membership – it transforms you.

Through this journey of chronic illness and pain I have found beauty, wisdom, courage and kindness. It has opened me up to a depth in myself I would never have otherwise explored.

I lay down on the couch, looking out the leaf-framed window to the silver moon above me. I feel the voices of the wild dogs.  I feel the kinship of the suffering on whom this same moon shines.

I am comforted. I am connected.  And I know it’s already okay.  I am okay.  I will be okay.

So I’ll keep gazing at the moon, bathe in her light, and wait for sleep to claim me.

Namaste ♥ xx

Image by Jess Newman

Image by Jesse Newman

Don’t be a prisoner to memories…

Image by Florian Imgrund: thisiscolossal.com

One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.
~Emily Dickinson, “Time and Eternity”

Memory is notoriously unreliable. Ask any detective or psychologist. Ten people could witness an event and each will have a differing version.  And that version will change over time.

Nothing stays the same. Few things end up looking like the images you store carefully away in your head like old photographs.

Have you ever been back to a place from your childhood and been surprised to find how small it is compared to what you had remembered? Memory gives a brilliance, a drama, a lustre that is added each time we access that moment in our lives. Over time we often embroider extra sparkles, or shade it a little darker.

Don’t get me wrong.  Memory is a wonderful thing. Recalling happy times, remembering and celebrating our relationships and achievements – all of that can have a positive affect on our lives if we’re only dipping into that stream occasionally.

But we can end up living far too much in our heads; wondering what might have been, or thinking about what we could have done differently, what we had, or what we lost. We can become a prisoner to our thoughts. Filled with regrets, or guilts, or suffering. We can harm or limit ourselves with our thinking, because we get stuck in our memories and lose touch with reality.

Fraulein, Roilly le Bas, 2002 by Ellen Von Unwerth

Life is lived in the Now. If we are caught up in regret about a past lover, we miss the soul mate right in front of us. We sit inside, lonely and cold on the couch, instead of running about outside in the sun. One small failure can stop us from ever again attempting the thing where we might shine. We may waste precious time mourning a relationship or situation that would never have delivered us happiness. One great moment can rob you of all of the future joy from the things you’ll never try, because of their perceived inability to match up to that one great thing.

And all the while we are in our head, life goes on, without us.

Let go of the past. Put your memories away. Life is waiting for you, right here at your doorstep. And if you run into ghosts from the past, you’ll most likely find they look nothing like you remembered them anyway.

Life is for living. Life is for experiencing and engaging. There will be time enough to live in your memories, but today go make some new ones.  Embrace life.  It’s a precious gift, and we never know just how long we’ve got, so make the most of it!

Image from bornagainsoutherner.blogspot.com