to recall to the mind by an act or effort of memory; to think of again.
This time last year I wrote a post that I argued over in my head for a long time. I sent it to a mate and asked her point of view. I worried that in writing a post about the bad it would negate the good. To remember is to relive and to relive is re traumatising.
There is power in remembering. It allows you to see where you have been as a way of predicting where you will go. To watch the hands of time and make sure they keep moving. In the chapters I submitted to my supervisor this week I wrote a section on the way in which counsellors sit with people, remember with them – as a way of finding new ways to cope in the future. We look to the past to see the ways that we craft little coping mechanisms to see if they might fit with what is happening now. We are all experts on our own experience.
Between research, parenting, relationships and writing I’m forced to remember over and over. Remember the snippets of joy families have shared with me when they have worked out new ways to survive catastrophic losses, remember the smiles of the day I birthed my babies, remember that to be truly in a relationship I have to remember my potential to fall back on old ways of doing things. I stop myself and start again. I remember to write in a way that is true and honest but doesn’t find me in the foetal position in the corner of the room.
Strangely enough every time I type corner it comes out as coroner. My work in the death field has ruined my touch typing skills.
In 2007 I got to spend a week at the Dulwich Centre in Adelaide. The lovely Micheal White spoke for 5 days about narrative therapy – about helping people reauthor their own lives. I think that I learnt a lot about the skills I might need in the counselling space but more importantly it gave me the power to reauthor my own life. Michael used to talk about ‘saying hello again’, about the bonds we could establish between people that are here and the people that are lost. A continuing bond that can occur even after a loss has happened.
I learnt that week to say hello again to myself. To remember that in all the connecting we do, we have to reconnect with ourselves.
In November, we remember.
What do you know about remembering?
Link up an old or new post below and then pop around and read the other posts x
I loved this list from the late, great Nora Ephron. I think I have seen ‘When Harry Met Sally’ 72000 times.
It got me thinking what Id put on my list. It got me thinking about the anti-bucket list I developed last year. It also got me thinking about the impact parenting has on me.
Its Red Nose Day today here in Australia. Chrissie Swan wrote a lovely, eloquent piece on what she remembers from being a kid when she first released that people sometimes lose their kids. I was watching a TV show last night and my girl was perched on the side of the lounge. How is it that there can be 3 other seats available but kids have to sit right ON you? The story was about a mum who lost her little boy to SIDS last year. My daughter sobbed for about half an hour after the story – she asked to go in and check on her own brother to make sure he was OK. I kept asking her to talk to me while also thinking why the hell did I let her watch with me – but like Chrissie said I dont know how you hide the world from your kids – do you shield them from it hoping to keep all the yucky stuff out or do you open it all up for them to peer in to. Being asked questions that start with ‘why’ mean that I always stumble for an answer, because after 10 years working in the grief world there will never be an answer for those questions. I talked to her about life and love and we made a list of things that we should be grateful for, the things that will stick out when we’re old and wrinkly, the things that wont even rate…it went something like this.
Waking up early for swimming
Homework (that was me)
Friends, best friends
Laughing Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â until your tummy hurts
Uno (or Unit as my girl calls it)
I calmed her down and she opted to sleep in my bed until I popped her into hers later on. I carried those big, lanky limbs out of my room, around the corner to her bed filled with 100 toys and tucked her in. The face still looks like the baby I used to stare out, like most mums I held my breath after both my babies had started sleeping through the night worried as I stepped in the room that something dreadful had happened during the night. I still check on all the kids at random times through the night. Watching. Waiting. Admiring (and secretly relishing the quiet)
You can donate to SIDS and KIDS or to River’s Gift or just raise awareness where you can. Cliched as it as, hold your bubs tight, talk to them openly and wipe away the tears when they learn that it isnt all rainbows. Im not sure if I tell my kids too much, I also know that I cant take away their empathy for other people. I figure its better to have it, than not.
Share this post if you think that coping with loss is about sharing the message.
Whats on your hit and miss list?