Saturday, February 11, 2012

What I'm learning from the mountain

I'm just collecting these thoughts here for now. There's a reason for them, I'm just not ready to put it all together yet. I've been planning to climb Kilimanjaro with a group of friends and family and in preparing myself for that, I realize how much it is like surviving losing Jesse. So I'm keeping track of what I wake up thinking, when it's something that helps me survive a day a little better. 
For people who find this blog by googling things like "insanity of long term grief "or "mourning loss of child"  (it hurts to know you are out there suffering, and that this is one of the few small lifelines the Internet has tossed you, when you are falling like I did--like I do) I hope this gives you something -- I know it's not much, but knowing that this is part of being human -- beyond culture, across time from before we all walked upright -- means that you are not alone. That your grief transcends you even as you transcend it; and that we are closer connected through it-- and as alone as grief may make you feel, it's exactly because of it that you are not alone. 
You are one with everything that makes us human. Learning how to manage this newly discovered part of your greater self is not easy. It's painful. But it is exactly what you need to do. I'm not all that good at it either, so take the lessons that appear here for what they are worth, some things I've learned that seem to help me avoid despair, but also things that make me feel life is still worth living, that there is a reason to take another step, even if I don't know where I will end up.
1. There are stretches where the path is very narrow and steep, and the dropoff seems to fall straight down for miles. People say "don't look down," but you'll have to look down once in a while to find and keep your footing. The trick is to avoid letting your mind consider how far you might fall, or how much longer you can climb. Keep your focus on where you want your foot and hand to go next.
2. Letting go of falling is not the same as having no gravity. I can guide my foot back from the edge, but that's not the same as walking across my own room. Respect the cost of keeping balance.


  1. Beyond comment but didn't want you to think this stuff is just going out there and getting lost. 'Respect the cost' indeed, man, oh man.

  2. I have to tell you, you're one of my profiles in courage when it comes to writing personal history. It took big brass balls to write The Prisoner. Someday I'll have what it takes to write everything so it ends (silently or overtly) with "I'm going to Hell." Because that's the stone truth for all of us, really.


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