In trying to impart some useful information and comfort for my daughter since losing our dog, I have of course been thinking about how and what I could do to help her get through this. I don't want her to be left with these feelings 40 years from now like I was with mine after my sister's death at age 14. "Nothing" was done for my brother and me to help us deal with that event. I was 17, my brother was 19, so maybe our parents thought we were old enough to just get it by osmosis, or their devastation was just so great that we were simply overlooked, I don't know. I can only imagine what the loss of an offspring would be like, I try to imagine how I would feel if one of my children was suddenly taken from us...it would be heart wrenching for sure.
The thoughts that have been rumbling around have been interesting. I led the f2f meeting last night and told the group of our loss, but only as an aside, the topic was "fearless and thorough", and the sharing was very revealing for me, the level of it seemed somehow "more" last night. There was talk of grieving, of doing the next right thing no matter what, of using the tools and taking care of the little everyday things that make the process of working this program give us the serenity that we are promised by doing so.
My daughter and I talked about Rex, how odd it would be not to have him roaming around the house, not to have him to "clean the plates" or get the food we dropped by the table, for my daughter to be alone in her bed at night instead of having Rex with her. We shared our memories and thoughts and feelings of loss, and tears.
The more analytical part of me is asking, "Why are you feeling this way?", "How can I relate working this program to this event?", and something someone said at the meeting last night stuck with me and began blooming and revealing some interesting things to me. They said, "any kind of loss involves grieving it", whether it's someone or something close to us. This could be our character defects/behaviors that must be let go, foods that have been such a vital and formidable part of our lives. For even though we intellectually KNOW they are bad for us, our psyche still clings to them for the remembered comfort that they brought, even in the midst of the devastation that ultimately follows.
I was thinking about the loss of my sister, and the realization that what I was really grieving about were all "my" shortcomings. The thoughts of how wanting I was as a brother did nothing more than point out to me how much I had failed as a human being. I could have been more kind. I could have been more loving. I could have been more helpful. I could have been more supportive. I could have been "more", and the fact that I wasn't and would no longer have a chance to correct those shortcomings in me "for her", were devastating to me. As if by me being more, it would have changed what had happened to her. Talk about the God complex, taking on the entire burden of someone else's life when it was not mine to take. I have no power over life's events, I only have power to choose how I will react to them.
THAT is what I have learned in other areas of working this program, and it fits for this area also. It always seems to come back to Acceptance doesn't it? My turmoil about everything is about my inability to "control outside events". I don't get to choose how my body will react physically to it's environment, my makeup is predetermined by genes given me by my lineage. I react to certain foods differently than most people, both physically and mentally. My body doesn't process starches the same as most people, but my body does take care of cholesterol better than most people. Learning my limitations AND assets, those set of circumstances that I have been given, i.e. "the hand I was dealt", and learning to handle to the best of my ability, Life with those limits, is what program has meant for me.
So, for me, I see my grief as being ego driven more than anything else. It is the loss of a chance to correct mistakes or shortcomings. This is what I need to turn over to my Higher Power, the feelings that "I" could have had any affect on how life happens. I do the best I can on any given day, and that "best" varies depending on how my spiritual condition is at any given moment.
This has been a wonderful process to go though for me. The pain of loss didn't trigger the desire to eat, to numb out, it triggered a genuine desire to look at it and maybe learn a little about who I am today. I am so grateful to my Higher Power, to this program, to my family, to my group, and to you all. Thanks for being a part of my life and letting me be a part of yours.
love and hugs,
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