I find myself drawn to pain. No, not like hurting myself with knives or candles or anything like that (high school was a long time ago). The emotional suffering kind of pain.
In my “blogroll” I’ve linked to an awesome blog called “In Jennie’s Kitchen” where she is now chronicling life after her husband very unexpectedly passed away and how she copes. Usually, her coping comes out in the kitchen because she loves, loves, loves to cook. And yes, there are some pretty amazing recipes too. But I confess: I am not reading her blog for her recipes.
Initially I was: I love food blogs and could read them until I die. My favourite Saturday activity when I was single and carefree was to brew a pot of coffee and take a cookbook out and read it until the entire pot of coffee was gone. True story! I love reading about – and subsequently making what I’ve read – food. I discovered Jennie’s blog after her beloved Mikey had died and the blogging community reposted her request that we all make a peanut butter pie for Mikey. Bakerella reposted the request, and there I “met” Jennie.
And now I’m officially sidetracked.
When I first made it to Jennie’s site, I read every post since Mikey’s passing. I cried – sometimes I wept – at the rawness of her grief. She is very eloquent, has an incredible way of expressing herself, and I find it freeing to read her stories. I chose the word freeing deliberately. Every post that she writes reminds me that even though things at home are maybe not ideal, I love the life that I lead with the people in my home. She keeps me grounded, humble and grateful. So I check in with her a couple of times a week, and every time she posts, I cry. I go to her site knowing I’m going to find her pain, and I look forward to it. I find it cathartic.
Today is the birthday of an old friend of mine. He passed away very unexpectedly a few months ago, and I was shocked. I haven’t seen this person in… probably close to 15 years, and yet I grieved for him. I think in part – like with Jennie’s site – I thought about how I would cope if MOMD left us now. I grieved for the family that my friend left behind, because of my perception of how we would grieve if it were us (me & the boys) in their shoes. But like I said, today is his birthday. I just spent about 5 minutes reading all of the postings on his facebook page from people who miss him and hope that he’s celebrating his life on the other side. And yeah, I teared up reading their posts. I did not write on his wall, but rather to his wife directly telling her that I was thinking of her and the girls today, sending them love and light, hoping that the love and support they have around them helps them through what is sure to be a tough day.
It’s fair to say that I have known my share of unexpected and untimely death. When you’re a kid, every time someone passes away it seems so unexpected, don’t you find? I mean, my paternal grandfather was very sick with cancer and emphysema for a long time when he finally passed away. And still – my 12-year-old mind was shocked. And then when I was 14 my uncle died, leaving my Mom’s sister a widow at just 33. That was a very shocking passing; he was healthy young man, with a lovely 2 year old daughter, a very happy marriage and was not at all sick. One poorly timed fight with a neighbour, irrational reactions and *boom* he was dead.
And of course, 10 years ago this May, my 21-year-old brother died in a drinking and driving accident. And that too, was a shock. More than a shock for me – more like earth-shattering…
Maybe it’s because of my repeated experiences with grief (for this listing above is merely the tip of the iceburg; one winter I attended 14 funerals. FOURTEEN!) that I regularly invite it into my headspace. It’s as though I think that if I can make a friend of death, it won’t hurt so much the next time it’s hand touches my life…
Or, maybe… Maybe I’m just obsessed.