Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the attack on NY. That beautiful Fall day quickly turned into one of confusion, tragedy, loss and anger. The Twin Towers coming down was surreal, unspeakable and scary and now twelve years later the events of that day are still surreal, unspeakable and scary. I think the most frightening thing about 9/11 was the scope of the loss. 2,996 people killed in one incident is mind and soul numbing.
As a nation, we Americans, don’t deal well with death; as a rule, we don’t talk about it, we don’t prepare for it and in those rare instances when we dare to speak of it, we gloss over the soul crushing consequences of losing someone you love by saying they are in a better place. For some that may work but it didn’t work for me on 12/31/11 when my sister died. And I still struggle with that concept. I love the truth of a quote by Rose Kennedy, who knew a thing or two about loss and grief herself.
“It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time,
the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens.
But it is never gone.” ― Rose Kennedy
The truth that connects those words is mind-blowing. I have and believe I will continue to have those days when it feels like a veil has been lifted and the fact that Daryl is gone just overcomes me with such intensity that I feel like I have lost my mind. So I believe 100% that our mind does protect us to prevent insanity from enveloping our existence. Just as soon as it comes like a crazy-ass wave crashing down on me, it’s gone in a split second and all I am left with is silence before I instinctively say out loud: It’s going to be okay.
So healing for me has become a conscious practice. I see it as the path to getting better and learning how to carry this new load I have been left with in the wake of Daryl’s passing. This recovery, my hunt for peace and sanity will not just happen I have to work at it. And only I can decide what constitutes healed. And since I don’t know what it will feel like I’m not sure when I can pronounce myself healed. I’ve read or in some instances attempted to read books about healing, grief, losing a sibling, when your loved ones leave, you get the point and the one thing I know for sure: No book, no grief manual, no religious tome, can tell you how to heal. Or what healed is. You just keep on walking until you find that place of peace that is necessary for your sanity.
In the midst of pain it’s not always easy to figure out how to do it so I’m going to share some of the stuff I’ve been doing in my quest to heal:
- ·Writing works for me – I give thanks for all my gifts even the ones I don’t’ recognize as gifts, yet. I’ll make a list of things I am grateful for like: the internet because I can make plane reservations to my favorite places on the planet, DVR capability on my television so I can watch what I want when I want, Crumbs cupcakes because they’re cupcakes no extra explanation needed, J caller ID, my Mom’s special blend of craziness – hell-low, memories, daydreaming, music, music, music and more music (see post below) and whatever is floating through my mind at the moment I am writing down my blessings.
- Therapy – in my case grief counseling. In the beginning I used to just sit and cry for 50 minutes. Now I talk more and cry less.
- Listen to music. Music washing over me is always good. Different music for different moods. When I want to go down memory lane I put on some Maze featuring Frankie Beverly and remember the time we saw them at the Beacon Theater in the city or I pop Maxwell in and remember the year Daryl took me to Radio City Music Hall to see him for my birthday. And when my spirit won’t let me rest I select ocean waves on my mp3 player and drift off to sleep.
- Spend time with people who are okay with me not being okay.
- Take time to feel physically good, which for me means getting massages. I say, do whatever makes you feel alive, safe, relaxed, and yummy. Do it!
- Meditation – Taking 5, 10 or 15 minutes to try and clear my mind is beneficial. If you notice I wrote ‘try’ because I’ve just never been good at clearing my mind. How do people do that? Well I have gotten better with the help of Deepak & Oprah’s meditation challenges. One reason it has gotten better is I don’t sweat it when I realize I am thinking of something versus nothing. I just go with the flow.
- Conscious breathing – I sometimes find myself holding my breath, what is up with that? Remedy, I take deliberate, deep breaths and slow myself down. In through my nose, out through my mouth. With noise. The sound of my breath entering and leaving my body relaxes and comforts me.
I wish you well on your journey to healing because we all deserve to patch ourselves up, live in peace and reconcile, in our own time, the events in our lives.
Heal, heal and then heal some more.