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Making meaning

Posted on Sep 20, 2014 by in Current events


There are some powerfully emotive words in the English language. ‘Bereft’ is one of these… a word that carries loss and tragedy and defeat so deep; a word that speaks of abandonment, despair and a fierce disappointment so intense not even a well of tears can give expression to it.

This is how I feel today more than I have the past 6 weeks – a time when I have experienced such onslaughts that it took my words away. Literally. In my grief I couldn’t even write, not when I was ill, not in my suffering… but now, as someone I love suffers deep pain and despair despite all my efforts to help and be a source of joy and positive feeling in the darkness despite my own struggles, now all I have is that word: bereft. Everything I’ve been through in recent weeks seems a shadow compared to this. I guess that’s why empathy is so hard for some, because true feeling can hurt just as much or more than physical pain.

It is here in the valleys that we find ourselves and we learn ways of making meaning. We have to do it, else the darkness will swallow you up, chew you to pieces and spit you out. So how do I help myself? I bought 2 little inexpensive stackable silver rings, fragile things but beautiful – like life. One is for the dogs left behind and one for Micah for whom in my sorrow I could only say goodbye as follows:

I lost my best friend of the past 7 years shortly before midnight on Tuesday (2 September). Your golden eyes and your happy voice gone forever. You were my constant companion through so many life-changing events, you’ve seen me at my highest and my lowest moments, helped me raise our beautiful pack and taught me about perfect love and the joyfulness of living in the moment. Your presence and your beauty was more than any one dog could ever be believed to have – I don’t blame heaven for wanting you back, I just wish it wasn’t so soon. You were loved more by me and by your pack more than I can express in words and by anyone and everyone who met you and you will be sorely missed… gone, but never forgotten. Rest in peace my precious Micah xxx

And I shared my sorrow and did my best to help the girls and Noah adjust to the loss of the alpha in the pack, the dynamic changed irrevocably. But such is life, it must go on. When we meet tragedy (and financial crisis and calamity and illness) as bravely as we can, make symbolic gestures to help us remember the pain (as part of what makes us who we are now) and move through it, then we are learning. This is my way of coping, but how can I help another? I can only write what is in my heart, live as sincerely as I can to be a support as much as possible honestly and without pretense, follow my gut and hope that belief in the strength of the human spirit will win out in the end.