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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Grief Journey--Then and Now

I have been so busy lately and focused on the practicum (pre-internship) for my Master’s in Mental Health degree.  I have begun the real work in the real world of counseling and it has been taking my time during the day working with clients and the evenings researching my work.  Because of this I have been neglecting the blog.  I have thought of it daily and regretted not being able to give it the attention it deserved.

As I was thinking about my life now having finally finished all my coursework, and I am now actually working as an intern in my field, I marveled at how much things have changed in the seven years since my world was turned upside down.  I wonder sometimes if my son would recognize the person that I have become.  His untimely death, followed by the death of my mother changed me profoundly in every way—physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Their deaths and the grief journey that followed shook my foundation apart and eventually I began building a new foundation, a different foundation based on what I had learned from this journey.
In those early stages of grief I never thought I would function again, have a life or a future.  I felt as if my life had ended that April day when my son died.  Shortly after I started seeing a grief counselor she recommended the movie, “Four Weddings and  a Funeral.”  I reluctantly watched the movie, not really able to concentrate, but I was struck by the poem read at one of the funerals.  It fully captured how I felt at that time.  I wanted everything to stop—for me, my world had stopped and I couldn’t understand how the Earth could continue to rotate on its axis. I would never have been able to tell that “me” who was so caught up in grief that  this “me” would come to a point in time that I was so busy with life that I would find that I was juggling to find time to do everything I want to do.  The journey continues, there are moments when the grief takes my breath away, but I move forward.

An interesting side note about the author of the poem, W.H. Auden wrote Opera librettos and the second version of the poem with the added stanzas was written to be sung by a soprano set to music of Benjamin Britten.  My son, Robert would be pleased about the opera connection.
I am sharing this poem with you below:

Funeral Blues by W. H. Auden
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

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