Friday, April 15, 2011

Grief

Today during my commute time I was listening to an audiobook.  I'm not going to tell you which one because I don't want to give away any plot lines or anything, but as I was listening today a young man died.  He was put to death for a murder he didn't commit.  His family was there to witness his execution, and then his body was taken to the mortuary at his home town.  He was part of the African American community there, and the author noted that while the white people in town always wanted to get their funerals done and over with quickly, the African American community lingered over them, taking their time in a long goodbye.

His mom met the hearse at the mortuary, and after he was carried in and laid out, the mortuary director turned him over to her.  It was sad, heartbreaking in every way.  And she prepared him herself for burial.  She took a pair of scissors and cut the jail clothes off him, strip by strip, putting them in a pile.  Then she took a basin of warm sudsy water and washed him, and dressed him.  As on the day of his birth, so on the day of his death.

I am listening to this as I am driving to my office.  Bare blocks away I have tears streaming down my face.  No sobs, you know, just this overflowing water that keeps coming out of my eyes.

I was thinking about it still this evening, the sorrow of this young man's death, of his mother's loss.  There are no thoughts behind my feelings.  Sometimes I don't really understand myself.  On the one hand I quite honestly sometimes feel that I am practical and even hardened.  There is so much in life that is painful that I just HATE.  I hate it and I turn away from it.  I get angry instead of getting sad.

Maybe just because the sad is too deep.  Tears are still filling my eyes hours later over the death of that young man, and the funny thing is that at one point I thought that is something I couldn't survive.  And the next minute I remembered ... oh, I have.  I have lost a child.  And I know those overflowing tears are not just for that fictional son who died.

One day, when I'm all alone, I think I'm going to have to dive down into those waters that I avoid so vehemently.  I'm going to have to jump in and allow myself to be surrounded and covered in that grief, and to scream and cry and carry on.

And then what? I don't know. That's the thing about grief and sorrow. They don't go away. If I scream and cry for five minutes will it help?  What if I stop then?  Or would I feel better if I went on for a half an hour?  So much futility.  There is just nothing, nothing, nothing you can do that helps.  And I guess that's why I sidestep it, avoid it, why I get angry sometimes, instead of getting sad.  It's just so much helplessness.

12 comments:

  1. Sharon,

    I like hearing from you again!! I think people do like hearing from you, and it does not have to be about the case. It is very interesting to read about your wondering heart, and how you continue to navigate through life with a sad song playing in the background.

    This book really did strike a cord for you. Interesting, I live in Atlanta where there is a huge black community. One of my coworkers, who is black, has a cousin who recently died. I was shocked to learn it took two weeks for them to bury her. My dad died and was buried three days later! But it would have been nice to have more time, time to be next to him and prolong the final goodbye. Time to allow the shock of his death to settle in. I am sure you can relate - you had no idea you were saying goodbye to Michaela for 20 years.

    I have the same question on grief!! They say children are not encouraged to grieve, and I was a child when my dad suddenly passed. So does it help if I try and grieve now???? It doesn't seem like it, the wounds and loss are always there.

    Diana

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  2. Thanks, Diana. But who says children are not encouraged to grieve? More to the point, does anybody need to be encouraged to grieve? I think we will, even if people try to disallow it. But children seem naturally to handle it a bit differently, I think.

    One of my friends experienced the first death in her family today, an aunt. She was crying and she said, "I don't know how people survive this."

    "It gets better with time," I told her. And it does. But it doesn't. The thing is, nothing seems to relieve it. What does it mean, exactly, to grieve? To cry? To feel sad? I don't know.

    Sometimes I have just stopped crying, because I have thought, "Well, this isn't going to change anything, and I have things to do." Haha. But in the worst of it, it is just an all day every day feeling of being weighed down, that wet cement filling your limbs, like you don't know if you can keep moving.

    Sharon

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  3. To Christian Mom in NZ, I am not printing your comment. First of all, I have been involved in these things in ways you haven't. I have read those books by the way, and I have actually had the private investigator who was working on leads in connection with that book in my house. You are just believing what you read without question. And as for the question of why people might do some of the things they do, I have observed that some people are just trying to get attention. And other times, maybe they may not be mentally stable.

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  4. when my brother died I didnt think I would ever stop crying. Grief can bring you to a very low place, but once you get it out......which is all you can do.....there is some relief. That doesnt mean you dont cry ever again, but the human body cant carry all of that around for ever.
    Rod

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  5. There is a Michaela Garecht on Facebook Have you looked at Facebook pages I dont know if This is a commen "surname" "Garecht" But she is blonde, looks like shes about early thirty's There is no Email adress or contact number on her page, On this womans page it says she went to German School,Deutshe schle-Washington D.C;
    And the Heritage School,
    It looks like she is near the Tower of Piza in France she is standing on a wall,
    The photo on F B, as i couldnt send it number is

    http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-Snc4/41625 5824101866433n.jpg
    This is on her page

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  6. I see what you mean.

    Michaela's family came from Germany, and some of them are still there. It's not impossible that they could have named a later child after Michaela.

    I sent a friend request, at any rate.

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  7. Rod, sorry to hear about your brother. You are right, you can't carry this around forever. I don't know if it actually gets better, or if you just learn to close it away.

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  8. Actually, that Michaela spells her last name differently as well. It's Gerecht instead of Garecht.

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  9. Hi sharon i was wondering how do you all as a "Family" Hold it alltogether" " trying to "go on" day after day " and how does your family "cope"??? what has it been like for the other two children who "remeber Michaela"???"Living in the "after effect of it all" and Also Michaela's father???:( As Gerry and Kate Mcann (madeleine's parents) said it has been really "hard Especialy" on "sean and amelie" who really miss their sister and "want to catch" the "bad man who took her" :( :( They "keep her room the same for when madeleine comes home so sad :(
    I know in alot of cases "marriage's don't usually survive this type of tradgedy and families "break apart" from this :( as i know this happened with Jaycee's mom as well :(
    (i hope im not being to personal sharon) i just was wondering "how you gain the strength to keep on keeping on" :) And I think your Awsome to do so! :)

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  10. Only my oldest son remembers Michaela. He was eight when she was kidnapped. The two younger were three years and eight months, and my youngest was born five years after Michaela was kidnapped. One of the things that has touched me the most was something my older daughter wrote not too long ago, which was that even though she has no memory of Michaela, she feels as though she knows her through me. That really touched me because that has been one of my goals, just to keep Michaela alive.

    I don't know how I would have made it through the years without my children. They are wonderful people, very loving and not at all fearful. They are very funny also, with big smiles and beautiful laughs that they share frequently with me! They are all young adults now, and I enjoy them very much.

    And that's how I get by.

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  11. :) wow! that's awsome i think you are very strong and courageous:)Bless you heaps :)

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  12. The first time I realized "true" grief was when my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly. I know it was "true" grief because my heart ached. Literally.

    My second time was 9/11/01. My heart was so heavy yet I would not allow myself to cry. Who was I to cry??? I wasn't directly affected by this (as in I didn't know anyone that lost their life) so what right did I have to cry??? I had a headache for days which did not subside until I finally did allow myself to cry for all those unknown to me.

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