Sunday, February 10, 2013


I just googled "January is the cruelest month." Turns out to be a misquote of "April is the cruelest month," from T.S. Eliot's Waste Land, but Google had 283,000 references, so some other people have thought it was January.

It felt cruel. Dr. Sherman Merle, the father of one of my dearest friends, passed away and was buried with military attention. His granddaughter Sarah, a rabbinical student from New York, presided over the service and it was beautiful and comforting. The loud chirping and song of birds interrupted the prayers and testimonials, which was appropriate since his nickname and handle were "blackbird".  I'd never attended a full-on graveside funeral and hope to never do so again. It was weird and hard, even though his passing was a blessing on many levels. He was 90.

The day of the funeral, one of my best friends of 35 years, John Foppes, AKA Foopes, was in the hospital and hung there in a coma for several days, 1 foot in each world, before waking up and then lapsing into complete liver failure and passing away. He was 60 and one of the most loving people I've ever known.

Foopes and his son Nathan

Another close friend is divorcing her husband and experiencing that loss. The end of a marriage is often the end of a way of life in a beautiful place and that is a loss in itself. On some level, I've been grieving that loss, too - of my own first marriage and our family, friends, and dreams together in that magical place in the woods.

Grief is insidious sometimes. There are the hard constantly tearful days, weeping and more weeping, ending up at night unable to sleep because your head is pounding and your heart hurts. Those gradually pass, and then come the days when you think you're more or less done grieving for now and a song or a poem or even a happy memory suddenly starts the tears afresh. Or you have to tell someone, and that makes it more immediate again. Sometimes I feel disloyal for being alive, enjoying myself, laughing. This is all normal. Anything we feel or experience is normal.

A prayer net for Foopes - this is what I do when I don't know what to do. I bead and I pray. I pray and I bead.
New losses bring up old losses to be reviewed and healed, if necessary. Some people believe that grief has a basis in anger at the person we've lost. I don't feel angry now, but sometimes new loss brings up old anger, and that is illuminating.

Foopes and Rhiannon, back in the day
 All these things made it difficult to work, dream, plan. A couple of times I thought I'd give up the dream. "OK, it's not working, it's not going to, why waste energy on it, waaaaaa, etc etc". REALLY? Doc Matt put it clearly: "Your friend is sad because she's going through some big changes, and you are depressed because your best friend died. It has nothing to do with this dream. Give it a chance, don't give up."

After a while, I get bored with the tears, the focus on what I've lost, it's limiting and it's tiresome and it makes me sick. It's not good for my eyes to cry this much. I have to turn to appreciating all the things I HAVE, because grace is boundless and they are many. The world doesn't stop being a beautiful place just because we've been focused inward. It is still there, waiting to help us heal.

I decided to make a doll that would focus my thoughts and energy on what I wanted to manifest - a fabulous improvisational bead embroidery workshop with the right number of participants.

Voila! Tatanui.....

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