Friday, 18 February 2011

A time to mourn

I read a post about epitaphs, and then I remembered...Since my Dad died Feb. 16th, 2007, I thought it a fitting time to post the photos.
The date doesn't matter, I'm not one of those who perseverates on dates.

I remember my parents every day. I often dream that I am phoning my Mom and talking to her! Some perseverate on dates, but that is an unrealistic perception of life.

Today I want to thank a blog friend, Ed.
I also want to write about grief.
First, the thank you.

"Gone, but not forgotten. At rest in their beloved Muskoka"
Ed Boutilier, Muskoka blogger and photographer, very kindly offered to take a photo of my parents grave and grave marker. It is a 5-hour drive for us, and I was quite curious about how the stone looked.

In the Fall, Ed took time for a photo shoot for me. We moved after 60 years of Muskoka cottage country life.

I'd transplanted a globe pine to the grave, as well as the bird bath. A few plants from the garden, and some grasses. Emily, one of Mom's favourite garden statues, sits there with her broken leg. Some rebel mafia raccoons, including Butch, who smacked her around.

There are different kinds of love: there are various anglo interpretations...

 Agápe (brotherly, sisterly love; true love),
Eros (erotic love),
Philia (friendship),
Storge (affectionate love), all different kinds of love as articulated by the Greeks. They were so wise.

Now, if we do not love, then we do not grieve. Loss affects us all- those who risk our emotions to love.

Grief is an interesting human emotion.
Responses to grief (internal feelings), as opposed to mourning (external rituals, Celebrations of Life) and bereavement (your situation), are quite varied.

The late Elizabeth Kübler-Ross determined 5 stages of grief; Denial, Anger, Bargaining,  Depression, Acceptance, later revising them to indicate that they aren't so much stages as responses. A lifelong learner and pioneer, she lived and learned from those who are dying. Not sequential, we can move around these stages, at our own pace. We, as mourners, can recognize that we are normal to experience various emotions, and responses to the dying of a loved one.

There are different types of grief, anticipatory (as a loved one is dying), as well as grief that is inhibited, or delayed, abnormal in terms of being delayed, chronic or distorted. At some point one must come to terms with the loss.

In all my years teaching, helping children to deal with the death of a grandparent seemed the most natural thing I could imagine. We honoured our grandparents. Having volunteered with an Expressive Arts Therapist I learned more about this aspect of expressing grief. Very therapeutic. Most Hospice organizations have bereavement groups that have proven their success. I urge you to try one!

All photos by Ed Boutilier, Muskoka cottager and photographer!


Pearl said...

I've read so much lately about the different kinds of love -- and the different stages of grief -- that I have to wonder...

I can imagine that you have phone conversations with your mother, even if she is no longer with us. What a beautiful thought. It actually gave me goosebumps.

I hope you have a wonderful day.


EG Wow said...

Ed is such a dear friend to take these photographs for you. It must have been difficult for you to move so far away...but at the same time wonderful so you could be near your grandchild. (Or is it grandchildren?)

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Great post. Grief is one of those things. My mother died years ago after a long debilitating illness. It was a relief to her. I'm glad she found relief but I still miss her and think about her every day. My father-in-law died unexpectedly about 4 years ago. I still wonder how a man who was so full of life be dead. I think about him daily also.

Christine said...

you've made your Parent's gravesite a nice place for you to visit, with a few good memories.

Ed said...

Thank you Jenn, I am honored to have taken those photos for you. I have watched you over the last couple of years give so much back to others.

Kay said...

Hi Jenn... Thank you for your kind link. Your parents' grave marker is so beautiful and serene. It's wonderful to imagine the birds coming to visit the grave site to sing some cheerful tune of remembrance.

I've had to deal with several students who lost their parents and siblings. They were difficult years, but rewarding in being able to help these vulnerable children deal with such sadness. And yet... I haven't come to terms yet with the time in the hopefully distant future when I'll have to say goodbye to my mom. That's too painful for me to think about right now.

Jenn Jilks said...

Ed, that's comforting to read. My hubby tells me I am a problem, issues with authority and it's good to know that not everyone sees me that way! I like to question who we are and what we do and why we do the things we do.
Glad to be retired. The school system defeated me. Wanted to be a principal, then wanted to teach at uOttawa. Did the latter for 2 semesters, and the kids were fun, but administration sucks!