Saturday, November 13, 2010


Yesterday I went to the funeral of Rose Bigney the mother of a dear friend,  and a dear friend to me.  Having gone through the experience of planning a "farewell" (funeral, we found out that people got) for my son I learned a lot about the whole process.

I have come to believe even stronger now, that a funeral is most often the final departing message of the one who is leaving.  I spoke as Jesse's farewell/funeral and I didn't have anything written out, no notes,  just a quote from Marianne Williamson -- Our Greatest Fear that was printed on the program.   Nelson Mandella is often credited for Marianne's quote.  I felt impressed that Marianne's quote was supposed to be part of my remarks.  The message I gave flowed effortless, I had the general idea of what I wanted to say,  the message that I felt Jesse wanted shared.  That was what felt important to me.  We all spoke at Jesse's funeral,  our whole family,  all his siblings, and parents.  We have it recorded and maybe one of these days I'll transcribe my remarks here.  I will post Marianne Williamson's quote here now.

Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Often said to have been quoted in a speech by Nelson Mandela. The source is Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, Harper Collins, 1992. —Peter McLaughlin]

That was how Jesse lived his life -- without fear -- he embodied the super hero.  He carried that air of invincibility and loved to be himself.  He enjoyed his life and who he was and that invited those around him to do the same.  He lived without the fear of what his heart disease would or could do.  I don't know how much or how often he had what he called "episodes".  I only found out about his pain after he died.  He didn't let it stop him from carrying his friends and his sister on his back in play and in enjoying the manliness and strength of his physical body.  I wrote that Jesse didn't let his heart disease stop him from living until it stopped his life.

Back to the nuts and bolts of grieving.  I cried yesterday,  cried at the pain of losing another friend to graduation from Earth School as some call it.  I cried to see my dear friends also left behind feeling the pain of being left behind.  I cried when I found out that yet another loved one has graduated - just yesterday.  Doug Banks.  He underwent 9 hours of heart surgery the day before.  There are times when life feels so unstable that I lose my bearing a bit --- or a lot.  It gets hard to function - to think of what to wear or eat.  The very basics seem too hard to do at times.  There are times the pain is so acute it seems too hard to breathe anymore.  It have given new meaning to the scriptures that talk about God granting our every breath.  Yes I have a new appreciation for what that means.  That reminds me of one of the more recent poems I wrote called "Can't Breathe".

Can't Breathe

Catching a glimpse of you -- 
your smile,
Now, only a photo

Remembering the feelings
of having you here - near

Just as quickly,
the realization

It will never be again --
you here.

It hit's hard,
taking my breath away,
I can't breathe 

A part of me 
will never
be used to you
not being here.

I fight for breath
gasping for air
seized by pain
that grips my heart and lungs.

I'm sorry I'm so sad ~
I don't know how
to not miss you,
to not hurt.

So ~ I cry
I fight for breath
as waves of pain and grief
wash over, around and through me ~

Until I can breathe
Once again 

-- Elizabeth M Allen

A friend of mine who lost her son 3 1/2 years ago now talked to me yesterday at Rose's funeral.  I was present at the passing of her son.  I happened to be a First Responder at the time and I bagged him in his room and then all the way to the hospital in the ambulance.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever experienced.  I prayed for him ... prayed that his life be spared ..... God's ways are not our ways and we often don't know his greater plan.  I comfort myself ... or try to, at times ... with that thought.  When answers come that don't fit in our plan it can hurt and feel like we've been abandoned or that we are unfavored or even unloved.  I hold on with all my faith that all those beliefs are false.  

Back to my friend Nancy at the funeral.  She has been so thoughtful and kind like so many have.  She has come over to talk to me.  She told me that 6 months is the low ... a warning of sorts ... letting me know that when things don't get easier don't feel like it's just me ... it's actually the norm.  She said when it happened to her after one of her babies was still born she got out the papers she'd been given on grief and read them to find out that sure enough,  it is normal to continue downhill after the loss of a child or significant other.

So here I am 4 months in and I can relate, to those times when it feels like time is the enemy taking me further away from my boy ... further away from the memories,  further away from when I was with him.  We cried together Nancy and I.  She shared some of the miracles that have happened since the death of her boy, Jared.  His appearance to one of his dear friends in an amazing dream. Jesse too has visited many by way of dreams.  Those who seem so far from us yet are so near have their ways ... their ways of letting us know they are near.  I think it would be nice to write a book just on that one topic.  Stories of how those who have graduated communicate to those of us who are still here.

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