Saying Good-bye

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Losing someone is probably one of the more surreal experiences of human existence. With the recent loss of my uncle I have been even more reflective on the process of letting go and saying good bye.

It takes our brains a while just to process the very idea of someone no longer being in our lives. When I was initially told he was gone I spent the next few  hours just trying out the sound of the words, “he is dead”. It sounded so final and I was struggling with that very thought. It meant that I had to integrate this huge concept of him no longer being not only in my life, but living at all.

I was okay that day because it was still a concept. A foreign idea that needed time to really sink in. My main sadness was for his family and how they must be struggling.

The next day I was not okay. I knew he was dead and that there was no return. The idea that this is a natural part of our existence just seemed to make it all feel so much more confusing. I had a hard time wrapping my head around what was making me so sad.

At first I thought it was all of things he would miss out on. I thought I was grieving his loss. Instead I realized my grief was for the physical  loss I felt. The removal of him from my life, my cousins life, his wife’s life and all of the other lives he had touched. The hole that was left be his dying.

I started to really feel the hole that this loss made. He would never again be a part of any of my new experiences. I only had the past. Memories of him kept bubbling to the surface. Memories that had formed my understanding of him as a man and the place that he held in my life. I also saw how he was a part of my foundation and was intertwined with the very core of my being.

As I explored this hole I also started to feel grateful.  I could honour him by continuing to live in a way that was meaningful. He wasn’t as gone as I had thought because I had a part of him with me forever. I could nourish those parts and carry them on to my family and the people around me. I can share who he is by being me.

The hole now feels a little less gaping and more a space that I will hold and treasure. It is his place and I have no need to fill it.

Good bye is still painful and I know there are still many tears to fall but I am okay to move forward. I can support those around me now and be there as they find their own way.

Peter Beltgens  July 2, 1954 - February 19 2014

Peter Beltgens
July 2, 1954 – February 19 2014

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I’m not writing about food today

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I’m not writing about food today, I can’t even think about it. My stomach is nauseous and as I contemplate the recipe for supper tonight I keep hitting an absolute wall of apathy.

It’s the sense of futility that’s floating around in my head. The feeling that I can try as hard as possible, that we can try as hard as possible and that it still may not go in the direction we need it to.

The sense of wonder at why I even bother, why write, why dream, why hope.

Life hasn’t been bad but it’s had its struggles and some days I just get plain old tired.

For most of my adult life I have had the odd notion that if we just put in enough effort and were good enough people that somehow the universe would recognize this and we would be rewarded with a good life. That the universal balance would be tipped in our favour and that we wouldn’t have to struggle quite so hard. I have remained the eternal optimist in the face of it all and truly believed that something better was coming.

But this time I’m really struggling to find the silver lining. I think I had dared to dream just a little too much.

I had started to imagine the possibility of the life I have always wanted. A bigger house where the dog isn’t always a tripping hazard. A yard where I could plant a garden and the kids could run around. A kitchen where I could actually have more then one person in there and people could hang out in the room I feel should be the most welcoming.

Most of all I had started to imagine the freedom that a little bit of extra money brings. The loosening of shoulders, the easier nights sleep and the ability to buy a coffee without second guessing yourself.

And all of that is once again just out of my reach. Purse strings are being re-tightened and for the first time I’ve lost a little hope it will get better.

I know we’ll make it through this. I know I’m okay and that my family is still blessed beyond belief but before there was wonderful hope and drive and a future to day dream a little about. Today is well shit.

So I apologize for wallowing for a moment and I imagine I’ll move on soon enough but I am going to sit here for a little bit and grieve the loss of my hopes at least for a little longer.

Maybe it’s the grey sky…