Grief has been a part of my life – so much so that I’ve made it my friend. I’ve learned to live with it. For the past year, especially, I’ve felt as
though it took the death of Kimball to plummet me into the depths of grief’s pools – to the point of almost drowning. But there comes a point when we must wake up and say ‘enough’; enough of the talking about it, enough of the living with it. Enough, I’m fine! It is at this point when we are better able to see those around us and become witness to what they are dealing with. Many are dealing with grief, just in different forms. Not all grief is caused by the death of a loved one, for many it is the lack of health – loss of bodily function (e.g. movement, loss of limbs, loss of sight, hearing).
There are many reasons for the feeling of Grief. We can feel it for the loss of who we once were (in any form). Be it, that we were that “take charge executive”, or the dancer who lost their grace. Whenever we find that we’ve moved past a point in our life where we no longer are [fill in the blank] – we grieve. And, as I mentioned above, we can grieve over the loss of our health, the loss of movement, loss of limbs, sight, hearing… the possibilities are endless when you think of how we could suffer loss when it comes to our health. There is a quote that I was reminded of by Wally Lamb -“I cried because I had no shoes. Then I met a man who had no feet.” It was a reminder that often we can go on about our own situations, so much so that the very words can put a stench into the room. However, once we open ourselves up to the possibilities of how great we actually do have it… looking at our life through a different set of lenses, we can flip our perspective around.
From a different vantage point, you can now be open to new resources. New ideas come your way and you start seeing new solutions to potential problems that were invisible before. I can almost hear the readers now, “Ann, you just don’t understand my situation!” Oh, but I do… more than you know. You can bring a horse to water… But, you know something? There really is no ‘bringing the horse to water’ – the only way the horse will drink is when it’s thirsty. Only then will it search and find the water and go, willingly.
As a writer I’m given permission to take on the role of ‘observer’. This was something I’ve done since I was a child – this is probably the key reason for my success as an actress, as observing others and their mannerisms was key to my characterizations – I absolutely love sitting in a room and watching people. Even my friends (fascinating!). Everyone appears different; but one thing I’ve noticed is that we all handle our grief in the same stages (I know, another brilliant observation Ann!). But, we do… hence the reason so many people have made so much money on the subject, I’m sure. All of the stages are the same; but they are to be moved ‘through’, not to pitch a tent and have your mail forwarded as you’ve decided to take residence.
No, as I said before, we all have the right to complain, and the right to whine; but when your words become so rancid that the odor clouds around your mouth as you speak them, it’s time to stop. It’s time to step back and take a long look at your situation. Are you getting too comfortable? Is there a phase in this little process that you’ve called home? If so, then you need to pull up your stakes and move on out.
No, I don’t mean to be callous; I’m “grieving”, remember? But, I am trying very hard to get a move on. And there have been plenty of times where my words simply reeked of stink! So I know firsthand. “I cried because I had no shoes…” I’ve met a great many who’ve had no feet and I count my blessings that I have the freedom to write my book, to sing, to perform and to live my life, my way. Do I still grieve? Certainly! It will be a process that will be with me for some time. But, with both feet in tact and plenty of shoes – I intend to count my blessings continually and make my shoulders available for those who need them. Much of what was given me through this whole process can never be repaid – it can only be paid forward. And I intend to do just that!