19 January 2013

The Fine Art of Keening

Digital Artwork ~ 'Keening' by Diana Matisz
























I'm foregoing my usual writing style today for something else, simply because it wants out. This post is inspired by a Twitter friend inVinceWil and something he wrote regarding grief.  This is Vince's quote:

"Grief wants to be acknowledged in order for it to leave the room. Otherwise, it will get cozy in the loveseat."

Other than writing a short poem about my brother on these pages earlier this month, I haven't written or said much about him. It's simply been too difficult. The above quote took me by the shoulders and shook some sense into me today. My grief is profound, just as it is for all of my family. I told a dear friend in the UK recently, that I've noticed I'm spending more time in my kitchen these days. Rather than writing, reading, chatting online in the comfort of my living room or bedroom, I gravitate to my kitchen table. I told my friend I'd determined the reason for this to be that I have photographs of my brother in those other rooms. When I look at his photo, I cry. I don't want to cry, so I don't look. Then I feel like a bad sister and I look, and the cycles begin again.

I've learned the fine art of keening. I've never keened before this. I've cried, sobbed, choked back tears, raved, but never keened. Not even when my beloved sister-in-law passed away years ago. This is new to me, this rocking back and forth, open-mouthed incoherent wails, sometimes no sound at all coming out....just the crippled posture of it all.  I hate when it happens. It's often brought me to my knees. And it never knocks first, it just barges in, unannounced.

I fight this grief every day. I try to bury it in inconsequentials. Rename it, dissect it, steal its power. I ignore it and treat it like a plague. But thanks to Vince, I've realized that by doing these things, I've allowed grief to become a messy and greedy boarder. It has settled in happily, rent-free and is devouring my supplies.

I will lament the grievous loss of my brother for the remainder of my life.  I will let grief stay for a while longer but I won't let it get cozy again.

Thank you Vince.

[ Vince is also one of my favorite writers. Please take a moment to stop and visit his words at What's In Vince L. Wilson. ]

12 comments:

  1. Incredible artwork & such a moving, thought-provoking & I think extremely brave posting. Thank you so much for sharing Diana ~ ((hugs))

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  2. Words fail me, this is such a moving posting, such a picture. (hugs)

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  3. Dear Diana, So sorry for the loss you've borne privately and thanks for sharing. Grief can be expressed in so many ways but give it all the room it needs, spend it liberally until you come to the bottom of it. Then discover another alcove where it hides. Each is unique to you and nature of relationship,to loss of presence of beloved. My love, Antoinette Baranov

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  4. Thank you, Abigail and Antoinette x

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  5. The photograph fits your words like a glove. I' glad you are letting it out, if you didn't it would become crippling. What I do hate is the feeling of emptiness you feel inside when you lose someone you love.
    Time does help ease the loss and the hurt. Surround yourself with friends and family, try not to be alone a lot.
    Talk about your brother, remember the good times, keep him alive in your heart and with family and friends.

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  6. Diana,

    It is difficult to hear of your terrible grief. But I do believe that it is the way. A Tao passage I return to often says: "If you can open yourself to loss, you become at one with loss, and can accept it completely." I hope that you can feel something like this.

    A close friend lost his only child, his precious daughter, in a terrible sudden accident last year. Thinking of him, I wrote the following. Today, thinking of you, I share it here.

    "If I can spread my arms wide and hold that terrible loss in my embrace, if I can stop all the avoiding, all the thinking, and just let that howling grief come in, I will feel for a moment nearly undone. Standing on the edge of a terrible precipice.

    But it will be there- in that horrific and unfiltered embrace of loss- that acceptance will come. Not made up acceptance. Not “all things work out for the best” kind of acceptance. Not happiness, not even contentment. And certainly not free of the loss and pain. But free of all the resistance and all the pretend consolations. Free to find and hold my strength again. Free to go on.

    It’s a hard kind of peace. But when unspeakable loss comes crashing in, it’s the only kind I know."

    Tom

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  7. Diana,

    It is difficult to hear your deep harrowing grief in this post. But I believe it is the way. A Tao passage I often return to reads: "If you can open yourself to loss, you become at one with loss, and can accept it completely." I hope some form of this acceptance might come for you.

    Last year, a close friend lost his only child, his precious daughter, in a terrible and sudden accident. Thinking of him, I sat down and wrote the following. Thinking of you today, I'm sharing it with you.

    "If I can spread my arms wide and hold that terrible loss in my embrace, if I can stop all the avoiding, all the thinking, and just let that howling grief come in, I will feel for a moment nearly undone. Standing on the edge of a terrible precipice.

    But it will be there- in that horrific and unfiltered embrace of loss- that acceptance will come. Not made up acceptance. Not “all things work out for the best” kind of acceptance. Not happiness, not even contentment. And certainly not free of the loss and pain. But free of all the resistance and all the pretend consolations. Free to find and hold my strength again. Free to go on.

    It’s a hard kind of peace. But when unspeakable loss comes crashing in, it’s the only kind I know."

    Tom

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  8. Thank you Tom, for sharing your thoughts. Although acceptance is a difficult thing to do, I agree that it's a necessity in order to move forward.

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  9. again, excellent. highly diggable.

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  10. I like it..."highly diggable" Thanks Jesse.

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