Surprised by peace at Easter

Hi, friends.

I hope this finds you well. I am pleased to be able to say that I am feeling better than I have done at Easter for some time. I recognise that part of this is the fact that so much time has passed since the early painful days, but on the other hand, I have worked for this in a way that I would not wish on anybody.

Much of the work of this grief experience has been in understanding that ‘Death ends a life, not a relationship’ (a quote from my favourite memoir Tuesdays with Morrie) and that there can be joy in a world without, just as there is joy in a world with those we love. It is a different kind of joy, and the pain of ‘s/he would have loved that’ persists, but all it means is that we enjoy for both parties now.

In February, I wrote a new song entitled Flowers from the Cross’, which I hope to be able to share soon. With that song, I finally honour the experience I had last Easter.

Whether you celebrate Christ’s resurrection today, or you are simply celebrating another day on the planet, I wish you all the joy and peace that you need.

Wishing you peace and strength on your journeys,

ncblogsig

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Remembering the good times

Hi, friends.

I hope this post finds you well. I’m sorry I didn’t post a round-up of the Remembering Our Online Friends event – not that there was much to round up – but I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind this year.

This is the time of year I find myself listening to more and more Glen Campbell, trying hard to remember what Kim meant to me before the tide turned. I’m sorry to say that afterwards it was a different story.

It’s been quite a journey to get to this point, and nine times out of ten, I can honestly say that I no longer hate Kim for anything she may have ‘done’, or inflicted upon those who cared about her. There are moments when that façade slips, but it’s easier now than it was.

Today would have been Kim’s 33rd birthday. Regardless of the ups and downs of the journey, there was a time when I loved her, and thought a lot of her for helping me out at what I then perceived as the most difficult time of my life. I didn’t know that there were challenges to come which would test my faith still further, and provide me with opportunities to curse Him and reaffirm my faith almost in the same moment.

Indeed, it is only now that I can appreciate the extent of the miracle it was that Kim was able to be revived on those two (three?) occasions. Can’t remember where I came across this, but it’s an interesting and thought-provoking programme, though maybe best avoided if you are reading this in the early stages of your grief journey.

http://www.radiolab.org/story/262588-bitter-end/ 

It certainly redefined the way in which I thought about each of the occasions where I was exposed to information which I might have benefited from being withheld. More importantly, it frees me from the inherently accusatory nature of my thoughts surrounding such matters.

So, wherever Kim may be, I wish her a happy birthday, and thank her for the role she played in my life, however briefly. Just like a good book, some lives can never be long enough.

Wishing you peace and strength on your journeys,

ncblogsig

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The Evolution of Easter

Hi, friends.

I hope you are well. I have realised today that it is the little things that show me how far I’ve come in this journey. Past experiences with garden centre card displays were admittedly less than positive, but today, I turned a corner. It may seem like a small thing, but for me it was quite significant. It wasn’t so long ago that I would make a concerted effort to avoid anything to do with Easter displays in shops, inwardly rebelling against the Happy Easter banners that may as well have been ten feet high for the insult they were to my feelings at the time.

However, today I calmly walked over to a display of Easter cards, and spent ten minutes looking through them to find one to send to a friend. This proves to me that life goes on, in spite of Easter, and in spite of grief. Finally, nearly seven years later, I feel a peace with this time of year, and the significance of it. Just because it was a bitter time then does not mean it has to be a bitter time forever. Hope is always a precious thing, sometimes it is elusive, but that doesn’t mean we stop looking for it.

Although I know nearly seven years have passed since that day, I am still amazed that I have found this place of peace within myself, which allows me to accept the renewal aspect of Easter without dwelling on the sadness of Chris’ death. Whether I will carry this attitude forward remains to be seen, but I would hope to be able to.

In other news, I am approaching the point in writing my story where I discuss the beginnings of Navigating Cyberloss. It is an interesting process to look back and see how far I have come since the earliest days of pain and grief.

I would like to think that Chris would be proud of what I’ve accomplished, although it took unspeakable tragedy to bring it about. I suppose that’s the way things sometimes happen. If everything worthwhile was easy, nothing would really be worthwhile.

I’d also like to remind you about the Facebook event on the 5th of April, which will be a rerun of last year’s ‘Day of Remembrance for Online Friends Gone Before’. I hope you’ll come and share in the day, so that we can reach out to those who feel the grief of cyberloss without having anywhere to express it.

Wishing you peace and strength on your journeys,

ncblogsig

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Immersed in the moment

Hi, friends.

I hope this post finds you well. I can hardly believe it’s been almost two months since I last posted here. I have spent much of that time reflecting on the early stages of this journey as part of my final undergraduate project for university. It surprises me still that looking back carries so much potential for pain and suffering, but then I rapidly remember that is why I stopped allowing myself to do it so readily.
Yes, it is fine that I want to remember, but if I can manage that in a way that limits the amount of pain I put myself through, so much the better. I have intended to write for some time about the project that I am also attempting to complete alongside my final dissertation, which will be a memorial book containing all of the conversations that I still possess that I had with Chris, and all of the images, along with my poem that was published last year.
It will mean a lot to me to have all of those documents and images in one place, in a physical form. I presently only have them in digital form and that is challenging, because I find myself wondering what would happen if I ever lost them completely. (That’s only when I really want to torture myself, though.)

In my absence from the blog I have written another fourteen songs in the twenty eight days of February, which include a song that puts the experience I had last Easter into words. I am surprised that came out now, but I look forward to being able to share it at some future point.

The second annual Remembering Online Friends Gone Before event  takes place on the fifth of April, three days before the seventh anniversary of Chris’ transition. Surprisingly, I am not anxious about this anniversary, as I have proven to myself in the past that I can, and will, survive the event.

More than a day for mourning, the anniversary of Chris’ transition is a day to celebrate our friendship, and the profound influence she continues to have on me. If I’d never known her, I doubt I would have written a single song, let alone over fifty. That was just one of many blessings, though.

Wishing you peace and strength on your journeys,

ncblogsig

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Remembering…three years later

Hi, friends.

I hope this post finds you well. As ever (since 2011) at this time of year, I feel reflective and a little sad. Three years have now passed since Kim was physically on the planet. On some level, that still amazes me. During that time, I have tried and failed to keep up a journal, in any meaningful sense. The only constant, as I’ve implied many times before, has been songwriting. So, the songs tell the story of where I have been on this journey, and what I’ve learned along the way. We begin with ‘Electrocute’:

At four in the morning,
The marksman gives the warning
The word is they’re going through
They’ll lay him in the ground as the sun goes down
In the graveyard away from view

© 6-2-2011

Hardly the kind of song that might be expected in the wake of a significant loss…but it fulfilled a need to snarl at somebody. Later in that same challenge, I wrote a more heartfelt song:

Someone said it better
Than I ever could
Whatever way it ended
It ended as it should
I know that you were needed
Wherever you are now
But it doesn’t stop me thinking
About why or where or how…

© 7-2-2011

A year later, sadness gave way to a (controlled) anger:

I know the verse
I know the line
Spare me the story one more time
You’re leaving me, you won’t say goodbye
I never asked you for a reason,
But you’ve gone and left me pleading
The bravest thing you could do is tell me why

© 26-2-2012

Last year, I reflected on both sides of the coin with songs entitled ‘Another Letter’, and ‘Darkly Dreaming’:

If I wrote a thousand pages
It’d never make it right
‘Cause it only takes one line to say ‘I miss you’
And I’d just write that all night

‘Another Letter’, © 3-2-2013

You know time flows like a fountain
And every passing moment should ease the pain
Alone in the half-light of morning
I can’t help but still feel the same

‘Darkly Dreaming’ © 24-2-2013

This year, I have finally written a song that I am proud to call a tribute to Kim. The lyrics are in the description on the YouTube video. This song began as a response to recent events, and evolved into something beyond my imagination. I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Wishing you peace and strength on your journeys,

ncblogsig

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The future rewritten: Looking forward

Hello, friends.

I hope this post finds you well. I apologise for the lack of a New Year’s Resolutions post this year, but I didn’t feel I had much to add to the topic. The further I move away chronologically from the experiences, the less I have to say generally. However, occasionally the universe throws a curveball.

I have re-established contact through an innocent gesture. Perhaps I should have known that sending a Thanksgiving card would perpetuate this vicious circle, but I am in a lot of ways more ready for it than I was in the past. Receiving five emails at once sort of took my breath away, so I’m still re-recovering, if you like.

Thankfully, it is more a gift to receive these pictures than anything else. Sure, it is hard, because they speak of a time before everything deteriorated, but it is a comfort to know that there was a time when Kim was happy. Reminds me of Warren Zevon…but the song I’d like to share today is older, and it also served as a shorthand between Kim and I. There’s one line that always made me smile, because of how I regarded Jonathan…but I love the song to this day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjraHR9yeAI

Wishing you peace and strength on your journeys, and a very Happy New Year!

ncblogsig

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Songwriting, grief and the strangeness of time

Hi, friends.

I hope this post finds you well. I have written before (extensively, I think) on the oddities of time in grief. The concept of time somehow being more malleable is nothing new to me, but every so often I am surprised by it anew.

Whilst searching for a first draft of a song in my notebooks today, I was taken aback to discover that I’d actually written said song on the 31st of July, 2011. If pressed, I would have said the song was a lot older…dating back to a time when I didn’t write so much about drinking.

That being said, there’s a focus on it in that song, so I shouldn’t be so surprised. However…2011 was not necessarily the best year, so I was amazed to realise that in the midst of that pain (losing Kim) I was able to write a song like that.

It has come to be my most popular song when I play live…so that is a consolation in comparison to the fact that neither Chris nor Kim got to hear it. (I sometimes wonder what they’d think of my songs, considering the level of alcohol consumption – although it somewhat goes with the territory in terms of country music.)

Earlier this week, I played the song that I wrote for Chris in 2009 live at a local venue. It felt good to play it again, as I don’t usually do so. In my mind, none of the songs I have written so far could have existed without the part Chris played in my life, and the part that Kim later played…although the songs I wrote for Kim were a little less tender, perhaps. I still have yet to write what I would really call a tribute to her in song.

Perhaps I will…but even if I don’t, it doesn’t matter. I think they both know how much I value their presence in my life, even if I can’t always articulate it. Granted, it has been difficult at times because of the manner of Kim’s passing in particular. There was a lot more to forgive, and a lot less inclination to do it, if I am honest.

Wishing you peace and strength on your journeys,

ncblogsig

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