Complicated Grief
  I am haunted by unremitting waves of helplessness that threaten to engulf the futile thread of hope to which I cling – hope that I could somehow ease the pain pulsating through my daughter's veins. She has suffered a loss like no other: the death of her little girl  - a brave, remarkable and stunningly beautiful child who died over six years ago, shortly after her fourth birthday. I silently witness my daughter facing each day without herdaughter, resolutely putting one foot in front of the other as she attends to the needs of her family. Her pain lurks furtively beneath the surface, eager to pounce in the face of what could have been … shouldhave been … school plays ...  dance recitals … birthday parties. Her tears speak a language only grieving parents understand. Her loss is vast and untouchable, her suffering tenacious and enduring. It is not enough that I listen, or offer compassion - it will never be enough. I am powerless to expunge or diminish her grief, and knowing this supersedes my great sorrow at having lost my granddaughter. My daughter harbours no anger, no bitterness – not even towards the well-intentioned people who offer unhelpful platitudes (“It’s God’s will” … “It was meant to be”). She is a reservoir of tenderness and compassion, sprinkling shining drops of love all around her. A spiritual person who believes in a higher power, she does not blame her God for the death of her child.                  But I am less forgiving. Privy to the crushing sorrow that at times shatters her hard-earned composure, I am tormented ...
Comments Off on Complicated Grief
Is This For Real?
    Feigning an air of confidence to conceal the raging disquiet inside, I scanned the restaurant and headed for a table near the back, where I could observe him searching for the forty-something woman with whom he had shared a few words on the telephone. He had neither met me nor seen a photograph. The year was 1986, long before the advent of online dating. I had purpose-ly arrived early to give myself time to adopt that elusive veneer of tranquility. The dating game was indeed uncharted territory. Having been only 18 years old when I married my first husband, I was ill prepared for the complexi-ties of marriage. And here I was, at age 40, 21 years of marriage and five chil-dren later, newly separated, on a date with a man who answered an ad I had placed in the personal column of the local newspaper. "What was I thinking?" I muttered to myself. "This man could be an axe murderer!" I took a few deep breaths. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a tall, attractive, bearded man heading in my direction. Feeling both fearful and a little excited, I stood to shake his hand and exchange "pleased-to-meet-you" pleasantries. We quickly busied ourselves with menus and meal choices, a diversion that eased us into the dis-covery of similarities and the sharing of histories. "So far, so good," I thought to myself as I asked the obvious question: "So, what led to your separation?" "We just grew apart," he began, elaborating on the gradual process that left them with little to say to one another. I went in for the kill. "What do you think ...
Comments Off on Is This For Real?