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Posts tagged ‘Healing’

Revisiting Being Heard

This blog has a title that dates back to an incident with my husband’s psychiatrist.  At the end of our conversation, when I thanked him for listening to me, he replied “You needed to be heard.”  His acknowledgement that this issue had to be addressed, was huge for me.  I left his office with my husband and realized that I had a title for the blog I was working on publishing. That exchange created a bridge of trust with me.  I would need that trust as the years went on.  

That one incident opened me up to a new understanding of how validation through truly hearing with the heart and mind can alter someone’s life-path. A good decade or so later our exchange still stands out in my mind.  That doc really took the time to hear, respond, and accept my truth.  

Having said all of this, I’d like to share more on this subject as it relates to another healing moment in my life.  

Something happened to me after Jon’s death that was so hurtful I had to put it on the back burner for two years. I won’t share what happened because to do so would expose several people who, to this day, think they did a really great thing. It wasn’t a great thing. In 2019 I began to address that hurtful act.  It took one year to completely resolve the issue.  It wasn’t fun, and I’m glad it’s over.  

The catch, and there always is a catch, is that I had a well of pain that was connected to people’s behavior towards me.  That wasn’t so easy to wipe out of my mind, or to repair.  The reason why is that several misguided people thought that they were helping me in my loss when they were doing great damage.  The key to the resolution was, and is, gaining enough perspective over time to be able to step back and decide how to best handle the matter.  

This is complex in that telling someone what they’ve done isn’t always the best resolution for them.  They most likely won’t view the event in the same way that you do, or have the insight to think it through.  You might come up against strong resistance when explaining how hurtful such actions are.  I tested things out with one of the parties involved.  This person couldn’t understand why I was so angry.  I realized that it was not productive to force the issue.  

The rage and pain were very much present.  What can you do in a situation like this? 

Death rearranges the address book.  In my case Jon’s death did a grand Viennese Waltz through the pages of my book.  People disappeared who I believed to be friends. Family disappeared who couldn’t cope with my new reality. It left me staring at once-full pages wondering how, and if, I could rebuild with new people in my life.  It served as a witness that grief, and the lack of comfort others have with it, brings great pains to those who must walk through the lonely terrain.  

Fortunately, I’ve begun to build a community of new friends who view life as I do. I’ve paid a steep price for these new beginnings.  It was towards this new group of people who are becoming friends, that I turned, seeking a listening ear. But, I needed more than just a listening ear: I needed to be fully heard. I found that person.  I was heard in a genuine and caring manner.  It allowed me to let go.  

Not being heard can cause someone to become stuck in the quagmire of pain, loss, anger, trauma, disappointment, and so many other things that I won’t list here.  Not being fully heard can cause us, as humans, to shut things down, to grasp so tightly to the pain in our souls that we can’t find the ladder out of the quagmire.  

Being heard, and truly hearing another person, may require that we face some painful places in our own souls while accompanying them through a darkness they want out of.  

Being heard means opening ears and stopping the responding and questioning, in order for understanding.  Being heard and hearing involve authentic empathy from the person doing the hearing.  It is a skill.  

I am by no means perfect at doing this.  Sometimes I blow it. When I realize I’ve blown the “hearing”, I go back, apologize, and work even harder at doing a better job during the next hearing.  

If you’ve been fully heard, you understand that one of the feelings that opens up for a person in this process is liberation! We are liberated from our burden, the trauma, the pain, the struggle of the choice we’re making…  We’re set free to explore new and colorful options.  Maybe we are enabled to take that first step on a road to someplace new.  This hearing might allow us to stop the repeating “sound byte blasting” in our heads about what we could, or should, have done.  

Being heard in its entirety is a gift. It is one that we unwrap with joy, understanding that it is not as common as it should be.  It frees our spirits calling us forward to new ground.  It opens us to new relationships of understanding and trust.  When we engage in the power of complete hearing, it changes us because our views and hearts are altered. We can no longer choose to unhear or not see what we’ve become a witness to.  Each time a person is truly heard, it changes the world.   

Today I’m thankful for Science

*** This was written in 2015 Putting it up now seemed right.

Today I’m thankful for Science. I am glad that I am breathing, and functional, and that I get to go to physical therapy. I am glad that during this coming week I’ll begin the process of strengthening my arm and my leg. I’m glad that there are people who understand what it is all about.
I’m thankful that there are doctors, and others, that took the time to sit in classrooms and labs, and learn about what is going on in my brain. I’m thankful that they had the curiosity to study and learn. I’m glad that there were people who went before who allowed interns and residents to work and study on them so that they could get an education.
I think back to my days as an intern in grad school and my post grad work. I’m thankful for clients who let me learn via the process of working with them.
Next week on the 27th of November there is a day of gratitude that is celebrated in the U.S. For those who are U.S. citizens; What will you give thanks for? What is your life all about? Who has made your life better this year? Who do you owe a great thank-you to?
Once again I will thank my sister for the trip to the U.S. I will thank her kids for helping it to be a success. I am thankful for the fact that I was able to spend three weeks with my mother. I’m thankful that I got that time because I don’t know if I’ll have that ever again. (Thanks for the bash!!!)
I am thankful for friends. I wish I could see more of you but you are there and I’m here and our hearts are together.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the complex that we forget the very simple. I am writing a simple post because I want to remind you of the many things you have.
You have the ability to move your hands, to walk to the mailbox and see the sun. You can open the box or click with the mouse. Somewhere you know someone who CAN’T. During the next year pledge to extend to them a service they need. Pick up the phone and call them more often.
Gratitude is a two-way street. We need to take the time to be thankful for the stuff we have. We need to create things for others to be thankful for. It is about giving and receiving.
It is raining and cold outside and I’m inside where it is toasty and warm. Penelope just popped by to say hello and stick her tongue out at me. I look up and see my back-lit parasols that Jon put up here in my work space. I owe him a great debt of gratitude for the last five weeks. He has cooked and cleaned and comforted me when I’ve been sad and blue. I cannot repay this but I can give a thankful heart and a very public mention.
On Tuesday I will have my first physical therapy session and I hope I get pushed to the max. I will also have my first Ergo therapy session and that too will be a challenge. I can’t wait!!!!

Raw


***in the spirit of this post I’ve left it unedited. 

I’ve been thinking about this death, grief, life and recovery-from-it-all-thing. After 22 days of being in a snarky and angry state I will speak. 

December sucks. December sucks worse than raw lemons.  December has been my undoing this year. Why? I have first lived through our anniversary day. Now I must face Christmas alone for the first time in my life.  This must be faced alone because that is how growth intends for it to be: I can’t run from it. Growth isn’t easy. Deep growth requires that we look at painful stuff head on and go through it alone. Some things just ARE.  

In my closet, the Christmas decorations are in a large box. The tree is packed away in a box and secured to the pipes that run through the house.  It could be reached but I have no desire to inflict pain on myself. I do have a smaller tree that sits atop a cabinet. This I’ve decorated with the few things that Jon and I have purchased or been given.  Amsterdam, Salzburg, a wedding present…these items represent the sacred. It isn’t that the sacred is not on the large tree it is rather, that I know that putting up that larger tree is not a place I can take myself emotionally.  Maybe next year.   

I just want this to go away.  I want it over with. The season to me is dead. It hurts to be alone with this and there is no fix for it.  People don’t try to fix it. This fix that I have to wade through is only for me, myself and I. I’m not afraid of doing the wading as I’ve done lots of wading through awful stuff in the past year plus several months.

In talking with others who are making the journey to someplace else after being left by a loved one who completed suicide I’m finding that at least I’m not alone: this is common. Some of us know what we want or need and some of us don’t have a clue.  We all want it gone.

I’m finding that family and friends distance themselves because, for the most part, they don’t really understand what to say.  SAY ANYTHING. Say that you love me, that you care! Say it with cookies and chocolate. Say it with an Audible gift card. Say it with a phone call or an email. JUST SAY SOMETHING and don’t run from me.  Don’t run from us. We don’t have the plague! We’re surviving the worst death that can be had. We’re sorting out a mess of trauma and conflicted thought. We’re doing it while the world is getting happy.  We’re doing it as many of you are busy wrapping gifts to place under trees that for some of us will not be decorated. We just want to get through it. We don’t want to think about the missing gifts, the person who should be present, but that is no longer at the table.  And yet, we remember. We can’t stop remembering and the tears that are bitter, come.

For us our landscapes have changed: permanently.  We can’t get it back, and in my case I wouldn’t want it back because of what Jon suffered. 

I miss the sneakiness of the plans. I miss the thoughtfulness of finding his gift.  I miss his joy of opening it up. I miss him torturing me with the suspense of hiding something delightful from me until Christmas morning…he was so good at that.  It is no more.

In time December will take a new form in my mind and my heart.  For right now it is bleak, empty and frozen. RAW seems to be the theme for now.  It is raw at its worst and soft at its best. It has to stand in this manner right now.

In the future I will create a new landscape that is uniquely mine but for this year, I must get through the hell that is: RAW.

From The Netherlands Peace to all and to all a good 2018

Gail