Monday, April 25, 2011

The Extending Process of Grief

Its weird now with Facebook. Its like a perpetual yearbook or broken arm cast, you can keep writing your sentiments forever to show all your nostalgia and love. but when someone dies, sometimes they keep existing in this realm. A tagged photo appears of yourself at a hilarious, fun pub night 10 years ago with this beautiful bright shining person next to you. Except they don't get to be alive on earth anymore. And then you keep shuffling, through online archived picture after picture, looking for another sweet word or funny comment they left for you, maybe a year or two before they died. And then 'you', a rational agnostic type, skeptical of other realms and whatnot, choose to leave this person messages on their 'page'.. their yearbook, their broken arm cast. Because of the billions of electronic particles blasting through space, surely one part of the message you launched (typing on plastic keys, words coded into a new language, routed through a dsl cable and finally, hurled into outer space and back) will collide with this beautiful, shiny, special, and now deceased, person's eternal fucking energy/spirit. because they are brighter, always more alive, than death.

I started seeing a counselor with a lot of experience to help me. Its been a really positive experience thus far.. she works with a very interesting method called EMDR, which stimulates both hemispheres of one's brain while revisiting a traumatic event. Then, while still in this mode (which is very simply and gently activated by holding little 'buzzers' in each hand), you go back back back, falling deeper into a well of feeling and associations. I imagine hypnosis acts on similar principles. But while in this state, the counselor helps prompt you to let go of the death stuff and see this radiant friend free of her disease, her cancer, and the hospice process. And then I did see her, the shiny beautiful her, standing on the bow of a sailboat, waving so happily and ecstatically, wearing her classic yellow 'Tahiti' shirt that she acquired when she was 12 while sailing the South Pacific with her family. She is on this sailboat, and its the most perfect summer day in the Northwest. The ship is leaving the port; she is free, she is excited, she has her ecstatic smile from ear to ear.

I still cry some days. I don't understand it, and I have a good reserve of anger and confusion from witnessing a bright light be aggressively put out by something I can't understand: cancer. But when I start to go there now.. thinking of her in the bed wasting away with pain and suffering, I can change it if I concentrate. Natalie is on the bow of her perfect sailboat; excited, happy, and ready for another adventure.