So I'm all signed up at Cosmic Cowgirl. A few days later I get a message from Grassroots Rose who is the CC version of Dear Abby. It came on a day when I was in a bit of a funk so I wrote back and asked the following:
Dear Miss Rose,
I’ve been praying for a sign or at least someone who knows more than I do. I’m not sure what I signed up for or when, but there you were in my email-box. Not one to turn my back on mysterious happenings, I wonder if you were sent by the Great Wrangler in the Sky to help me figure out where to go and what to do with the rest of my life.
For the last 15 years I’ve been caring for my mom and dad. Mom died 8 years ago and Dad just passed away in Jan. I’m stuck in a big mud hole of grief. But more than that I can’t seem to figure out what I’m going to do next. I feel like that doggie at the end of a rodeo rope, all lassoed and tied up so she can’t get up. And when she is untied all she can do is run blindly away.
Got any ideas how to start over?
Lost and scare
Of course I didn't think twice about the message once it was sent. I completely forgot feeling lost and scared and moved on to some other whiney ass emotion. Yesterday, to my surprise, there was a note from Grassroots Rose in my mailbox. I felt plum tickled. Here's what she had to say:
Dear Lost, Scared and Doing it Right,
Honey, I bet you know more than you think. Pop a squat on the porch and let’s look at this. Losing both parents and your caregiver role is Big Grief. It don’t matter if you’re five or 50, being orphaned shakes us to the roots…because it feels like the roots have been chopped out from under you. Let me tell you straight: feeling lost and scared is a healthy response to major loss. As my granny would say, “You gotta sit in the pain ‘fore you jump on the train!” Can you find some love for your lost self? Can you turn the care and affection you had for Mom & Dad toward yourself?
Give yourself time for Lost and Scared. Write it in your calendar. Then block out time to write one or two or 20 things that make you smile. Imagine that doggie untied and running…is she really blind or is there something she’s running toward?
To start over, take time to say goodbye to the good and bad that’s gone. Then look around like a dog sniffing out a new home. What’s next will grow out of tiny steps, each one led by that make-me-smile list. Don’t fret the rest of your life just yet. Let yourself feel the grief and follow your smart heart to the next tiny step out of the hole.
Smile at the sky and tell your Mama & Papa I said, “Hey!”
p.s. If you can’t find anything that makes you smile, there are some awful good professional grief wranglers out there who can help.
I read it through the first time then looked around to see if the Great Billboard Maker in the Sky was in the room with me. I read it through again. This time out loud to my Sweetie. Of course, rivulets of tears ran down my cheeks. But I didn’t miss the part about “make a list of 20 things that make you smile.”
Finally, getting to the point of this post, it seemed clear to me that this was another nudge to begin list making (see previous post). 20 things that make me smile is close to but not necessarily the same as things I’m grateful for, but in the big scheme of things I think I could combine them without feeling like a cheater. Who can feel sad, scared, or lonely when they are focused on being grateful and looking for things to smile about?
Today, I’m smiling and grateful for:
- Niles and Brad, the rug cleaners who made my almost brand new but well-peed on by a certain brown-eyed dog that takes my breath away carpet look and smell like new is supposed to.
- Picking up my granddaughter at the airport. She may have some teenager/pregnancy hormone/Linda Blair personality stuff going on with her mom and dad, but all I could see was the girl I know and love.
- My Sweetie who sits in this emotional rowboat with me and even though we sometimes feel like we are adrift on an ocean without a paddle or a rudder, he still wants to cuddle and spoon before going to sleep at night.
Wishing for you good advice and something that makes you smile,
*In case you want to check it out for yourself go here: