Sweat

Healing your body after the death of a beloved

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Tears

Living with an unbearable loss

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Sea

Moving forward into the life you create in the wake of loss

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There Is Nothing To Be Done

All this striving is wearing you down.
You’re fighting with life like you’re in charge.
There is nothing to be done. This is the way things are.
Loosen your grip; the glass is already broken.
Carolyn Davis Rudolph

There is nothing to be done. This is the way things are.

There is nothing to be done. This is the way things are. No going back. No do-overs. No corrections. No changes. No making different choices. Just life, as it is.

There is nothing to be done. This is the way things are. As my grief continues to break me open and time slowly passes, I gain more and more access to the sweet, beautiful memories. They do not crush or threaten to destroy me the way they did in the early days. Now, they are part of the way things are. “Supper must be on the table at 6:00 pm” dinners with Mom and Dad. Evenings in the library, each of us taking different parts, reading Hamlet out loud. Molly and Jimmy at the kitchen table eating their weight in Hallah bread with “the works” (butter, cream cheese and Nana’s homemade strawberry jam). I need only close my eyes to find myself back in that green house on Hurst Avenue. Realizing more and more over time that I own those memories and can pull them out when the days get hard. I can wrap myself in them when the losses mount and the grief overwhelms. They are proof of lives well-lived, warts and all, with family at the center.

There is nothing to be done. This is the way things are. The realization. The acceptance. The good, bad and the ugly. No taking back the harsh words. No chance to fix, adjust, repair, make up for anything said or done. No opportunity to ask just one more question. So many questions .. Who’s in this photo? When did you work in Washington, D.C.? What else could I have done? What more could I have done? Was it enough? Was I enough?

There is nothing to be done. This is the way things are. The invitation to let go of the perfectionism. The desire to hit every mark, to do everything the right way. The chance to forgive myself and remove the mantle of perfectionism. An illusion that. We are human beings living a human life the best way we can. Making mistakes, getting it wrong, losing our tempers, failing to respond, saying too much, not saying enough, saying nothing at all, getting our feelings hurt, losing sight of the bigger picture, getting it all wrong, beginning again. I accepted their apologies; why would I think they wouldn’t accept mine?

There is nothing to be done. This is the way things are. A clarion call for pausing, reflecting, accepting, being present, meditating, just being. Nothing to do, nothing to say. The chance to stop wasting time on regrets and thoughts of the past. An invitation to move forward, to focus on what matters most right now. A space to draw the line and say “No more.” Seeing people for who they are and letting them be that. Knowing that life is too short to waste any more time trying to pretend they are something they’re not.

There is nothing to be done. This is the way things are. Learning to carry my ancestors and my beloveds as guides not burdens. Honoring them, remembering them, learning from them, being grateful for them. Acknowledging all that is lost as I turn to the path in front of me, ready to face the life yet to be lived.

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