Wishing you courage

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow'."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rewriting the story

I listen to self-help, meditation, and positive affirmation podcasts all night.  This has been going on for over a year.  After my husband moved out I would turn the TV on immediately upon arriving home and it would often stay on all night on low volume.  One time I woke up to a crime show and realized that something more soothing going on in the background would be a good idea.

Music doesn't help me sleep.  During the frequent nightly awakenings hearing voices helps - I get up to pee, just in case that was what woke me up (but most of the time a cat or dog is the culprit), then listen to the speaking until I fall back asleep.  When it's dark and I'm tired it's too easy to remember the sad things and slip into nightmares or stay awake all night without the gentle voices to distract me into sleep.

Anyway, last night I was listening to a new favorite podcast "Why Shamanism now?" and one topic was "rewrite the story".  This morning I woke up thinking "rewrite your story!".  The idea is not new (I've written about it before) but it was explained in a way that made it more attainable.  Bear with me as I explain this because I heard this in the space between wake and sleep.  Life changing losses are so intense they can be all consuming...hmmm...like, sometimes that's all you can deal with and it is appropriate to be right there wading through your muddy, sticky grief, but it's not appropriate to stay there permanently.

During the early afternoon of October 31, 2007 the news that my son would die sucked the breath out of me and during those hours where what was expected to be a normal prenatal visit turned into an immediate appointment for a level II ultrasound and consultation with a perinatologist and the findings turned worse and worse until we were back in my OB's office discussing what to do next.  The story I was working on took such a dramatic change that it's like a new book had to start.  The story where I was in love and loved and joyfully waiting for my son stopped abruptly. The story of being admitted to the hospital, inducing labor for a pregnancy that I wanted, holding my dead son, then the years of grief could not be combined with the story of happily expecting a baby.

Then there's the story of my husband leaving for greener pastures where grief did not exist, that overlaps with the story of becoming adjusted to deadbaby motherhood.

Dead son.  Husband can't stand me.  These are all consuming stories and for a long while it was not possible to be in any other story.  But it's been almost 3 years since Toren died and going on 2 years since my husband left.  If I let the stories of loss drift to the background what is here?  Well, surprisingly I'm still standing.  There were so many times when I thought I could not live through the pain of so much loss.  It seemed impossible that the heart that ached so much could continue it's rhythmic beating.  How is it possible that this body that screamed in rage and sorrow did not just crumble to dust?  It must have been held together by all the wine ;)

But seriously, to get through that took hours and hours of therapy, lots of antidepressants, patient friends, and then re-finding love.  The turning point from total grief to some relief took years.  And apparently a lot of rambling.

Those stories of loss are in the past, and they are incredibly important parts of my past so I'm not wishing them away, but it's time to start honoring the current story.  The rough draft goes something like this:

  • I am safe.  For the first time that I can remember there is no one controlling me in negative ways.  There is no one physically near me with the desire, and the balls, to pursue their own interests with no thought given to how their actions would affect me.
  • I am in love.  Cautious love but it is beautiful just the same.
  • There is potential for a great career.
  • There is potential for a family.
I guess it's not so much rewriting the story as tapering off adding chapters to the stories of a failed pregnancy and a failed marriage and instead spending more energy on exploring this new story. 

.....

I hope that makes at least a little bit of sense.  It's exciting.

Wishing you all lovely stories.

21 comments:

Ya Chun said...

What a wonderful post.

That's a very positive list. I am so glad you found real, healthy love.

Sounds like you are starting a new chapter. The themes and events of the previous chapters don't go away, but they can be transformed and the storyline can go in a new direction.

YAY :) <3

cgd said...

I have chills and tears in my eyes reading this. I often think these things myself, how is this my life? how did I get here? I firmly beleive that we are a product of our experiences and the fact that we are both still standing means something. I wish brighter days ahead for you. I am so glad that you can tap into a story that has some hopefulness in it.

Donna said...

I love the idea of adding positive chapters to your story. Just because your story took an unexpected turn in the middle does not mean it needs to end that way. I'm very happy that I got the chance to find your blog.

Carly said...

I love this. It's beautiful and honest. You know those voices, those distractions and the time between wake and sleep are the most profound!

It's so easy when you are wading through the mud to forget that we ARE still standing and we didn't turn to dust. So easy to forget that this depressing sad and horrific life changing loss isn't our ONLY story.

Thank you again for the inspiration. I feel a blog post coming with my very own story. ;)

Sophie said...

Beautiful, powerful post Anna. I am so happy for you. Loving the 'potential for a family'. I think that is AWESOME. xx

Quiet Dreams said...

Beautiful post.
In social work school, we talked a lot about "reframing." It's the same picture, but with a different perspective we look at it in a different way. I'm so excited for you.

Lavender Luz said...

Wow, Anna. This is so inspiring. I now need to learn more about Shamanism.

One thing I heard once is that when we mourn, we are in our emotional bodies, in the past. When we worry, we are in our mental bodies, in the future.

Only when we live in our physical bodies are we present. And in the present moment, there is no good or bad. Just is-ness.

Catherine W said...

This is beautiful.

I'm sorry that you have had such heartbreaking stories in your past. I like the sounds of your current story. A lot. All that potential, love and safety. Sounds good. x

Gail said...

I found your blog through Mel at Stirrup Queens and love the idea of writing a new story. Hope yours turns out happily ever after.

Krista said...

Just popped in after reading the blog round up on Mel's page. What a moving post. All my best to you as you write these new chapters in your life story.

sharah said...

Here from the roundup. Loads to think about now...

Kristin said...

Here from Mel's roundup...all I can say is wow. This is such an incredibly powerful and positive and moving post. Wow!

~Hollie said...

wow, that is all I can say is WOW. Very moving.

cowgirltn said...

I am so joyfull that the sun is finally shining on you. I pray that it continues to shine bright.

jill said...

Very thought-provoking post. I often spend time mourning for things in the past and this is a very nice way to try to change perspective.

I'm sorry for the loss of your son and husband. I wish you wonderful things for your current story!

areyoukiddingme said...

All great stories have a wrenching plot twist in the middle. I hope that your story has a very happy ending.

Mrs. Spit said...

I haven't checked in, in a while, but I was thinking of you the other week.

I'm glad LFCA reminded me to check in, sorry it's been so long and thrilled to read this beautiful piece.

Sarang said...

Here from Mel's Round Up...I love how you are "exploring this new story." Am hoping it continues to be a lovely one for you~~~

R. said...

I'm here from the roundup. What a moving post.

Rachel said...

From the round-up.

I love the idea of re-writing your story. I think all of us could stand to do that.

awomanmyage said...

Here from the round-up. Thank you for this inspirational post. Here's to the future life awaiting you.