And then she took her pen in hand and wrote her story down.
She did not find a need to erase anything.
~ Carol Winner, artist
I don’t drive to the bay for dawn much anymore. Sundays my one exception because there’s a possibility of silence, relief from the hum or roar of motor vehicles for more than 3 seconds. A long time when you consider a slow start at a green light typically gets a beep at 2 seconds. I usually don’t turn on the radio when I drive over, either. But the little voice this week said listen. It’s On Being with Krista Tippet. I didn’t resist. I waited for what I was supposed to get.
It was about complicated grief. Born when one has a loss with no resolution, such as a loved one gone missing. Or homesickness, such as with immigrants who lose homes, community, country. Or the foreclosed who find themselves mired lower than ever imagined. All dropped in new territory, both inside themselves and out. All expected to move on, start anew. Grief that exists even as they indeed build a new, different life. Something psychiatrists consider pathological in the person, tho. But the woman on the radio said no, pathological in the circumstance. Yes, yes, I thought. And then, shock. I realized she described what I’ve been feeling. A loss of a life – solitude, travel, craft workshops & writing retreats, community, immersion in writing & dreamtime, familiar fruit trees. My feelings deeper than longing or missing it. And knowing I’m working to get what I love back doesn’t change what’s inside me. Even with all I do – reframe, gratitude, shift. And now, rather than think I’m less-than or spoiled or ungrateful, I have a name for this inside me.
From 2001-2006 I worked beside my son, helped build the business he founded in Asheville, NC – French Broad Brewing Co. I did all the promo. Was print buyer and admin. Connector for sponsorships and events, including the Chamber of Commerce Culinary Showcase. I smoothed over mistakes and personality differences with accounts. Developed an interactive brewery tour, opened the place every Sat. morning for 4 years. When we opened the Tasting Room, I managed it, and the 3 gals who worked there. I LOVED it all. Working with my son. Hearing tour geeks say our tour was their best. Beer geeks saying our beers were the best. The compliments from other brewers across the country saying they couldn’t perfect a lager, ours stellar. Being stopped as I went in, asked if it was my place, saying I’m part owner. When we ramped up the music, I loved that our tiny, close early venue was a fav with the artists. When we got into stores, I loved seeing people in line in front of me with a growler, saying ‘Thank you for liking our beer.’ I simply totally owned it.
After I left, I turned to writing full-time. Learned craft, process, and the publishing biz with the same immersion I did that brewery. Discovered a passion, embraced it. But I grieved the loss of everything I had with the brewery. When I told my husband this, his words were no you don’t. But I did. Complicated grief. I keep a picture from those days framed in my office. The other day I found the digital file.
I use the word Love, a lot. I’ve been thinking about this use of mine, along with my use of the word Magic. Our language betrays us, ya know. In the south, love is often used interchangeably with the words ‘likes a lot.’ She just loves okra. She loves a quiet night with a movie. But I think when I use the word, I really do *love,* vs. like a lot. ‘Cause I think a moment before I type or share it. And when I do, it’s because it vibrates somewhere deep inside me that just fills me up. Like Love. And it’s what I want to pass on when I feel it. Because I can.
Because I know how fortunate I am. On the outside because I have some means and choices. On the inside because I see silver linings and purpose. And now, I have a name for the hurt, too.
The thick, sultry air of summertime Florida has moved in to stay. The birds have stopped singing. These three videos soothed my Soul as I sat with this new information about grief this week. Listen. Watch. Enjoy.
They’re for you, too.
Tell me. . .have you ever felt complicated grief? Even in the midst of your wonderful life.
Another Small Journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
A secret: I owned every album the Beatles ever pressed. And never saw them live.
A favorite: Petals from the crepe myrtles drifted down in a wind gust. Formed a ribbon of pink along the edge of the strip pond 20 ft. off my back door.