Continuing correspondence on a grief forum: (My words are in bold)
I just thought of you, yesterday. I wrote on my blog about an eye condition I have been dealing with. I didn’t feel I was as empathetic as I could have been. Now I realize that simply knowing something might improve doesn’t extinguish each agonizing moment of the day while grieving.
I’m having a hard time accepting that my eyesight is gray in one eye. Every minute bothers me. That was nothing like the loss of my child, of course. But it was a reminder to me of your misery.
I am so sorry that you are suffering every day. It truly is a life sentence. I wish there were some way it could be easier for you. But that would only be if I could bring your son came back to life.
Judy, having gone through this, I know you understand my pain. You are indeed empathetic. How could you not be? You have been dealing with your pain for a much longer time so you see it from a different perspective and sometimes others don’t understand that.
This is a journey that must be taken alone. I look at you as a house along the way that started out as a shack. Over the years it has grown into a mansion that can accommodate many to give them a safe place of understanding along the way. I believe Jason and your dad are standing at your side helping you to help others. Thank you for caring.
AN EXCERPT FROM TERSIA’S BLOG:
I so desperately need to articulate my pain and yet I cannot. Words are inadequate and empty. There are not enough adjectives in the English language to describe my indescribable pain and longing for my precious child. Yet, my cyber friend, Judy Unger has articulated my emotions pretty accurately. So in the absence of my own words I am posting Judy’s email to me.
Thank you Judy. Your words do help. What a horrible area to be experienced in – the world of grief….
Post where my message of support can be seen: I Miss Being Mommy
Below, I am sharing some lesson clips with my new voice teacher, Kimberly Haynes. I cannot find the words to adequately share how thrilled I am with Kimberly. The progress I’ve already made since taking lessons with her is spectacular. I record my lessons because it gives me tremendous pleasure listening to them and I absorb even more later on.
Kimberly has pointed out to me something that my post also articulates; she has noticed that I have a great deal of judgment while singing. I definitely want to say goodbye to my “inner critic.”
It might be interesting to hear that my habit of singing solely with “blue voice,” was something that Kimberly also did. She said I was the first student she had that did this. Now she tells me that Julie Andrews also used only her “blue voice!”
Clicking the blue link will play audio:
It was a beautiful Saturday morning as I entered Connie’s guesthouse for our hypnotherapy session. I hugged Connie before I sat down. Although it was sunny outside, I was in a dark place. It was difficult not to cry. My eyes were teary as I told her that once again I felt beaten down by life. It was harder for me to smile because my eyesight was bothering me terribly.
As I explained my challenges to her, I noticed that I didn’t have much compassion for myself; I was even a bit harsh. I told her that I had even written on my blog that my eye problem was an opportunity for me to find more empathy. I wondered why I had not viewed my struggles in a gentler way.
I told Connie, “I’m seeing things in black in white, while ironically my vision is gray!” I wished I could bring joy and color back into my life somehow. But at that moment, my eye problem seemed insurmountable.
Connie wanted to help me while under hypnosis. I moved over to the reclining chair for that part of our session. She counted and I closed my eyes. I could feel tears seeping out of the corners and running down my cheeks. Within seconds though, I was drifting and floating somewhere else and my tears stopped.
I heard her voice clearly. She said, “Allow for an image to form that represents black and white thinking.”
There was no hesitation for me. As she asked me that question, I already saw a checkerboard of black and white squares directly in my vision. I described them to her.
“My image is of the black and white linoleum floor in the coop apartment where I am now living. I look at that floor every day. Although I replaced most of the flooring elsewhere, I kept the checkerboard linoleum in the dining room. I wanted to replace it, but was reluctant for some reason.”
Connie asked me to explain more about that.
I explained that it had scratches, bumps and was worn out. I tried not to look at the flaws. It was part of my new life, but keeping it reminded me of the familiarity of my childhood home and helped me to feel better. I had lived in that coop from infancy until I was married at the age of 21.
I said, “I grew up and played upon that floor. My mother still visits and it comforts her to see that familiar pattern. That floor is almost the same age I am, I was a year old when the coop was built.”
As I described more memories to Connie, I realized how amazing it was that I could see that floor from my childhood in my present life. It was something that “grounded me.”
Yet it represented not only the stable memories of childhood but also the very rigid ideas from my upbringing. My mother was very certain about what was “right and wrong.” She definitely saw things in black and white. My father was not as rigid, but he was fairly critical and I still hear his voice correcting grammar throughout my day.
Now Connie asked me go outside of myself and imagine that I was that black and white floor. She wanted to know if there was something that the floor would like to tell Judy. In the peacefulness of hypnosis, I allowed for whatever words came into my mind. I said:
“Judy’s appreciation for past memories translated into keeping me, and it was beautiful that she knew it would be comforting when her mother visited, as well. After five decades, I’ve been stepped on a lot and I have some wear and tear, but I am just like her. I understand her sadness. It isn’t always easy to replace old things, because holding onto something familiar lends comfort.”
There were a few moments of silence as I digested my own words. In speaking about black and white, I thought that even though my parents might not have approved of my divorce, they still would have been supportive of me. Before my father died, he told me that my happiness was very important to him.
I continued to drift peacefully in space until I heard Connie’s voice again. She asked me to find another image, a replacement image that would be an antidote to seeing things in black and white.
As I waited for an image to pop into my mind, I saw some flat two-dimensional images. They felt contrived and weren’t real for me. A few minutes went by and I hadn’t found anything I could latch onto. Connie patiently waited for me.
I felt judgment creeping in. Perhaps I wasn’t finding an image because I didn’t want to feel better. I started to panic. I wanted something colorful, but there was simply a black void within my brain.
Then it came to me.
I said loudly, “My image is the comforter set in my bedroom – Wow, I can see it clearly!”
Sure enough, I had a three-dimensional view now. There was my bed. Whether it was made or unmade, the colorful comforter with two large pillow shams made my room come alive for me. I carefully described them to Connie and was relieved that I had found an image.
I said, “I wanted a new bedspread when I moved in. I was very cold at night because the heater wasn’t working. A did have a few blankets, but I didn’t rush to buy a new comforter set because I wanted to find one that was special. I went to many stores, even expensive ones and nothing was really colorful enough for me. I waited two months.”
I continued, “Then one day while I was shopping at Costco, it caught my eye. When I saw it; I knew it was just perfect. Every day, I celebrate my new life and find pleasure with my colorful comforter!”
Just telling Connie about it had me smiling. It was the perfect image to counter the black and white in my life. This new purchase definitely represented adding color and sparkle to my life.
Connie wanted me to tell her more about those feelings.
I felt waves of sadness pushing upward as I described my old bed in my former house; I had kept the same bedspread for over fifteen years. Like many parts of my old life, I didn’t feel it was worth spending money to change it – there was matching drapery and I didn’t want to replace that either.
I explained how my old bedroom was larger than half of my coop. There was a huge walk-in closet connected to the master bedroom, as well as a second closet. The large bathroom area had two separate sinks. The windows overlooked a spacious backyard and a large swimming pool.
But my old bedroom was the place I hated to be. The TV was usually on while my husband was at his computer. Our dog would be yapping at me whenever I opened my mouth or came through the door. I usually drowned out the noise by wearing ear buds. Sometimes, I came to bed very late when my husband was asleep in order to avoid the noise.
But the rising pain in my heart diminished when I began describing my new bedroom.
“Oh, it’s tiny compared to my old bedroom. I hear footsteps coming from the apartment above me. When I make vocal recordings, there’s a lot of traffic noise, helicopters and fire engines – it’s almost funny sometimes. But I don’t care – because it’s my oasis. I feel safe and secure in it. It is truly peaceful and one of the best parts of my new life. My new bedspread is heavenly!”
I had thought my marriage provided security, but I felt far more secure in my new life. I didn’t have to suppress and stuff my feelings anymore. I was free to express myself now.
Connie asked me if I could become that colorful comforter and speak to Judy, what wisdom would I impart to her? I channeled myself into the bedspread.
Suddenly my voice squeaked like a mouse and I could not speak. I could hardly get any words out as I felt my throat tighten. I gasped, caught my breath and said, “I would tell Judy, how beautiful it is that so little was required to give her happiness!”
I let out a sob. I couldn’t believe what I had just said. That a comforter had brought me happiness!
Then Connie gently asked me to continue.
My voice was still husky as I said, “I would tell her that if a comforter brought her happiness, then imagine how many other things in her life will also. She has so many new things to look forward to!”
It was time to awaken from hypnosis.
As I opened my teary eyes, I was emotionally drained. But Connie was beaming at me. It was clear that she was very excited for all the revelations that my subconscious had uncovered. I was excited, too.
Before I left our session, I sat back down next to her desk. Connie shuffled through some notes she had written. I listened carefully as she read back to me my own sentences. My thoughts about those sentences are in italics below them:
Black and white is a familiar way of looking at things for me.
That is because I grew up with a lot of judgment about “right and wrong.”
It isn’t always easy to replace old things, because holding onto something familiar lends comfort.
I have fallen back into old patterns, such as overeating and biting my nails.
I was very thoughtful about adding color to my life with my new bedspread. I didn’t rush and knew exactly what I wanted. I had good judgment.
I did not change my life impulsively. Navigating my new life involved making thoughtful decisions to soothe my sadness; such as beginning voice lessons with a teacher I discovered a year and a half earlier.
So little was required to make me happy.
This statement is my favorite. It brings me to tears each and every time I read it because it is absolutely true.
Imagine how many other new things in my life will also bring me happiness. This statement definitely leads to better feelings. All my sadness dissipates when I am able to dream again . . .
I have so much to look forward to!
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