Today’s messenger rest on a branch of the tree across from my balcony, repeatedly flies away and returns. Sometimes it’s still, at others its chuntering or maybe chewing.
The dragonfly arrives as I’m writing about how we first met to be submitted for a literary competition. I’m happy that this messenger is a reminder that she’s still with me and loves me. It’s taken up residence on the branch. Lucie’s walk will have to wait.
The dragonfly leaves to be replaced by a butterfly flying to me on the balcony.
A few weeks ago, I complained to Manjula that I’d not heard from her. Within days a dragonfly maybe ten times bigger flew into the downstairs hall, circled me three times and landed on Manjula’s pennant.
I wish I’d discovered this earlier, when Manjula was with me in person.
I realise with Manjula and others I love, that there are often times when I’m — ‘not quite there.’ I have a tendency to distance, to go numb when stressed, withdraw and move to the edge.
On reflection, I think this might be one of my most significant failings. OK OK, queue here to add to the list….. (of significant failings) 😉
Presence Stephen, be there …
Maria Popova’s Brain pickings which arrived in my mail box today, relates to this, and has introduced me to Thich Nhat Hanh.
I love this quote and there is more here, if you’re interested….
Some of my friends have been kind enough to share that when I lost Manjula they felt for me and hugged their own loved one closer and tighter.
It’s great that friends gain insights from our loss, which heightens their appreciation of their loved ones now.
I”m not sure we can maximise every single day and live it as if its your last (how exhausting) but Thich Nhat Hanh points out that we should strive to be there, to be present and connected to our loved one(s).
I realise, I did what I could in the circumstances but it’s always possible to do more and better.
The intensity of loss highlights how important your love always is and will be, it shows how invaluable is the support you can give each other especially in challenging times.
Manjula continues to give and she was always there and present, remarkably so, more than anyone I’ve known. More in our story, you’ll just have to wait.
I realise now that then you’re shocked by untimely death your love doesn’t perish, it grows in intensity and in a way, absence doesn’t diminish presence.
Her presence is of course beyond all the pics I’ve got around me of Manjula at home or that I occasionally ride through the city 😉 .
I have been part of an online therapeutic group with two young women and a therapist, for the past few weekends.
At our final session we were asked to creatively reflect on our journey and how the group has helped. Here’s my feeble effort.
The detail in this rich picture will be shared by the end of our story. Yes, I’m writing and it’s far from complete but it is progressing: at the pace of a snail slithering along on the shell of a tortoise that’s travelling backwards.
Please do feel free to guess what the different images represent. There maybe a prize.
The group been an incredible support and very productive to help me swim along the grief gravy river and keep my head above liquid.
Monisha Srichand, the group therapist is a skilled facilitator. She got the balance just right, providing enough structure, guidance and professional input so everyone felt comfortable and confident to share their own challenges whilst enabling us to provide insightful support to other members of the group. Highly recommended.
I’ve also posted details of the empty chair technique used in one of the sessions where you will also find contact details for Monashi and a network of therapists.
If you or anyone you know is dealing with grief and need help. I can recommend books, have a chat or recommend the therapist who facilitated our group.
“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” ― Elizabeth Kubler-Ross