Sunday, May 3, 2015

My Joy is Your Joy

It is 1 month and 6 days since Mom died. The funeral with the cemetery burial and gathering at the home is done. I have alternately been okay, yet not. My mind plays a continuous loop of "Mom died, Mom died, Mom died, Mom died," 24/7.

By day, I bury the grief mantra with a busy day job combined with Lyle Lovett tunes on my iPod. By night, I run errands and binge watch the 6th season of Private Practice on Hulu, and nosh on popcorn, cheese-puffs, gummy bears and Big Macs. It is my spiritual practice to limit wine at home.

I know this time will not last long; I don't pretend that this is the first time I am giving myself a break by chowing down my feelings, or tuning them out.

But feelings are different than a looped thought tape announcing "Mom died."

For several days after Mom first passed, I was overwhelmed with waves of complete joy. I decided this was Mom, and that she had returned to her happy Self before her long, slow decline.

"I want to be a published author" collage. 1.28.15

As an expressive arts teacher, I keep myself in tune by having a Vision board on standby. My theme for the year is "I am a published author" which was created in January. Four days after my mother died, this is the dominant hand/non-dominant hand conversation with the image of the Masked Woman. At the time I created the collage, I had no idea why I picked this image. (When selecting images for a themed vision board, the rule is to initially "grab what grabs you" and to allow the sorting / arranging/ gluing steps to determine what stays on the board.) 


DH: Dear Masked Woman, who are you?
NDH: I am a sub-personality of grief and mourning and weeping.
Masked Woman detail.
DH: How do you feel?
NDH: Honored.
DH: Why?
NDH: Because you give time and ceremony to me.  You are a healer woman.
DH: What do you want me to do?
NDH: Let me out when it is time and know that my joy is your joy and that happiness does not dishonor the grieving process at all.

DH: Thank you.

Making time for all of our feelings honors all parts of ourselves. Taking time to create art gives us room to catch our breath, catch up to our bodies and know that "all is well, everything is well, and all good manner of things, shall be well."