Good morning, everyone!

I have to keep looking at the calendar — it’s already September???? Only four months until Christmas???? Global warming is melting the pages off the calendar! LOL. Seriously, how can a day that seems to drag by suddenly become another month on the calendar?

According to many of the ancient philosophers, there is no such thing as time. Not in the linear sense that we modern-age people interpret it to be (mainly because we have paper calendars, which give the impression that time is a straight line). The ancients believed that time loops. You know: What goes around comes around. And that tired adage: History repeats itself. Civilizations grow into prosperity; sink into poverty. Economies flourish and fade. Societies evolve and then seem to fall apart at the seams.

The further out into the Universe we look, the more we understand that Time and Life are continually changing. Why then are we so stunned by the frequency at which we’re changing pages on the calendar and the calendar on our desk or wall? That question has no single answer, I suppose. It’s enough to say we are stunned. And, by far more things than the swift passage of Time. (I’ll spare you the list.)

I’d rather talk about the things that amaze me. Like the optical illusion earlier this morning when I rolled over in bed to see what I first thought to be fireflies flickering through our night-darkened yard. For a moment, I felt five years old again … excitedly chasing those gentle insects through the parents’ front yard, feeling mesmerized … and SAFE! The feeling of that very old brain-file washed over me, followed all too quickly by the awareness of reality: Not fireflies. There haven’t been fireflies in this pesticide-soaked neighborhood in almost 30 years.

A slight breeze had simply moved the camellia shrub enough to allow speckles from the security light on the corner to shine through, flickering in mimicry of fireflies. Disappointment sobered me back into the old woman I have become, who no longer can chase after mysteries or magic; however, disappointment could not erase my happy brain-file nor the remembered feelings of childhood joy.

It’s easy to fall into disappointment, especially in today’s world where so much is going on all the time, and the continual newsfeed plays each “breaking story” in almost real time. We could forget how to remember our happy brain-files, moments of joy, all the good that is still being done. Perhaps we should start — deliberately — reminding each other of just how much good is taking place, and how much we have been helped by others. I’ll start the ball rolling in that direction.

The year 2016 started off with a series of disappointments. My older son’s wife announced that she would be leaving their home in North Carolina, returning to her natal state of California. He could, she said, go with her or stay behind. Like a salamander heading back to its natal pond, California called her with a strong magnetic force that severed their marriage bond. 

Meanwhile, my younger son’s wife announced that she didn’t want to be married any longer. She felt robbed of her youth and wanted to live out her high school dreams that had been shelved way too soon. His dreams of marriage and family disappeared like smoke on a breezy day.

Our sense of “family” shattered before the calendar page for January entered the recycle bin.

In February, older son became sick with a sinus infection … that turned into pneumonia … that became double pneumonia. Antibiotics wiped out his immune system. His kidneys stopped functioning. Other organs followed. He was put into an induced coma and hooked up to complete life-support machines. On March 4th, he was disconnected. A week later his body was cremated. Before the end of March, his widow had removed all evidence of him from their home, packed her bags and moved back to California.

I do not remember much of the months that followed. Younger son’s adjustment to disappointing changes in his life and the shock/grief of losing a brother filled my waking thoughts and nightly dreams. How could I help him? How could I comfort him? 

And then the calls started coming in; people seeking a Pain Management Support Group. My name/contact information were still registered with the American Chronic Pain Association, even though I had not facilitated a group for several years. (That’s another story for another time.) I carefully explained that the matter to the callers. They were disappointed.

Then my husband suggested that start the Group again. The newly erected Alachua County Senior Recreation Center had opened. Perhaps there would be a day/time/space there for a support group. I wrote the proposal; submitted it to the Program Manager, and the rest is history.

Chapters of history in my Life that have been a saving grace. For there, I found Life after disappointment/shattering grief. I found people who became close friends. I discovered that my happy brain-files of how Life used to be far outweighed those of disappointment/shattering grief, and I made new ones. Thanks to who each of you are! You will never know the full story of my Life before then, nor the fullness of how much you contributed to my healing process since then. 

Some of you on the mass email mailing list have yet to attend a Group session; yet, you are part of this beloved Tribe in which we are learning how to remember our Past tragedies/shocks without recreating those same feelings/thoughts that accompanied them; learning how to remember the happy brain-files that ought to be stronger than the others. And, learning that, despite all of the all that unfolds in our day-to-days, propping one another up remains one of the best “pain management tools” that we could ever discover. 

Know that you are loved and appreciated far more than anyone could ever measure. And if sometime you find yourself spiraling downward into a pool of stinking-thinking, please remind yourself that if no one in your entire Life-history has ever loved/cared about you, there’s one old woman in Gainesville, FL who does — and “one” counts! 

Whenever disappointments come (and they will), hold onto the Truth that you have been instrumental in healing a shattered heart. Not just mine, but others too. For we are all connected. What hurts one of us, hurts all of us. What heals one of us, heals all of us … one link at a time. 

Stay linked, my friends. Stay propped up — it helps all of us find an inner strength that disappointment/shattering grief had temporarily hidden. 

Gentle hugs/much love,