Sunday, August 21, 2011

An update on surrendering...

In the weeks that have passed since my last post (it's hard to believe it's been weeks already) I've been struggling with the whole idea of surrendering, or accepting what happened to my kids. For the first two days, every time I'd try to get myself to make peace with my kids' death the resulting experience was anything but peaceful. It literally felt like someone very strong had kicked me in the chest, sucked all the air out of the room and then tied a noose around my neck. I'm not lying. I could not breathe. I could not think. I could not surrender.

After those first couple of days I sort of gave up on the plan and instead decided to accept the fact that I couldn't accept the facts. I decided that my version of surrendering would be to acknowledge what has happened and admit that I will never be able to handle it. I have come to the realization that I will never be ok with it. I even came up with an acronym for my condition. FFU. Forever Fucked Up. That's just the way I am and the way I'm gonna be.

I have to tell you something really weird. Even though this is a completely bass ackward way of surrendering, it sort of worked. I started to notice a change. Even though I can't accept something that happened almost two and a half years ago, I can accept the person I am right now.

I can't explain it completely, but in the past few weeks I've started being kinder to myself. Instead of constantly fighting my situation or trying to change what has happened I allow myself to "indulge" in my sadness - if I don't feel motivated to do anything, then I don't do anything. If I feel like feeling sorry for myself then I throw myself a pity party. If I want to be angry and jealous because my friends' kids are growing up and mine aren't, then so be it. After all, I'm FFU so I might as well learn to live with it.

This may sound like a great increase in negativity, but strangely it doesn't feel that way at all. Instead of putting all of my energy into trying to change things that cannot be changed, I have started taking care of myself. I find myself thinking, "well, this is your life now - what can you do to make the most of it (or at least make it bearable)". That thought has proven to be far more constructive that something like "this cannot have happened!"

I think I finally began to understand the changes that have been happening when I took some time to do yoga tonight. Yoga is something that was very important to me a few years ago. When I started freaking about the possibility of getting divorced, a therapist recommended I try yoga to help me stay grounded and keep breathing. Yoga truly changed my life. I became healthier, more confident, more calm and I experienced a peace I hadn't really ever felt before. Since my kids died I unfortunately haven't put forth the effort to do much yoga at all.

Tonight I decided that in order to take care of myself in my FFU condition and make the evening more bearable I would find some Netflix yoga and commit to completing one session. After I stopped beating myself up about how much strength and flexibility I have lost in the past few years, I allowed myself to breathe and actually feel my body. My energy and the energy in my house changed dramatically. I felt a peace I haven't felt in years. I am crying tears of relief as I type because finally, FINALLY I have found a little bit of peace! (non-substance-related peace, that is) It may be fleeting, but for now I'll take it.

I feel that I owe Shirley MacLaine a great deal of gratitude for sharing her idea of surrendering on the Oprah show. Her words really stuck with me and even though I wasn't able to surrender in the way I thought I should surrender, I was able to surrender to something. Just as she suggested, surrendering is very powerful.

21 comments:

  1. I'm truly glad you've found some peace. Yoga does have a tendency to center you - make you reflective on the things that matter - strengthen body and soul (as cliched as that may sound). I had done it for years in my modern dance classes - for fitness at my local gym, etc. - then... also contemplating divorce, living far from loved ones, dealing with a lot of self-esteem issues, my yoga master helped me see the whole life philosophy thing, and I submitted to it and ... well... as you know... my thought patterns changed - my day looked different to me.

    Really.... so glad you're feeling some peace these days.

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  2. This was really beautiful. Keep writing. In my prayers.....

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  3. Any kind of exercise is the basis for a sound mind and body. You are making progress Amy. You are continually in my prayers.

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  4. This makes so much sense to me. I think the pressure on from the rest of the world to (a)accept our children died and there is nothing we can do about it and (b) get over it. (Sigh) Time for us to accept that we are FFU instead?

    I don't know though - I think the difficult task for me is to find my limitations - I mean I know I have them - I know Catherine's death has diminished me - but how far do I push myself to be the least fucked up person I can be?

    The thing I hear most now is that I have to be better for my new baby. As though I was choosing to be FFU in the first place. I wonder whether you think that having another child would alter how you feel about this all?

    Sending you lots of love xx

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  5. Thank you for sharing your experiences and the wisdom you are developing on this journey you so wish you weren't on. I'm glad you are beginning to practice more kindness toward yourself, that you are giving yourself more compassion. You deserve it so much.

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  6. Thanks for sharing, Amy. The FFU stuff is brilliant. Many hugs and prayers coming your way.

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  7. Thanks for sharing, Amy. Yoga is such a good idea. Let us know how it is going... there is a huge community of people out here who want to know how you are...

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  8. I heard a poem today on NPR, called, "What the living do", the poet's last name was Rowe (spelling?). She was on Terri Gross today, October 20. I immediately thought of Callapitter-she wrote it in response to losing her brother to complications from AIDS in 1989. It felt like so much of what you express here. It is featured in a new poetry anthology from Penguin.

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  9. Just thinking about you today on this "kid oriented" day and hoping your are coping healthfully and surrendering a little bit.

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  10. While I have never met you I think of you and your kids often. I hope you are taking care of yourself.

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  11. This is huge. So huge. You are awesome.

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  12. Hi Amy. Hope you are ok. Just wanted to let you know people are thinking of you>

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  13. Hi Amy, just wanted to add to the last comment because you are in peoples thoughts and prayers. I check on here often just in case you have updated. Wishing the the best.

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  14. hello, I was just thinking of you. I hope you are doing ok. please take care!

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  15. Hoping that you are doing well. Not updating your blog has so many of us worried. Praying that you are just very busy and haven't found time to update.

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  16. Thinking of you often, especially this time of year.

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  17. I miss your blog entries... Hope you are well

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  18. Still in my thoughts... I hope you can have a peaceful Christmas....Much love to you! xoxo

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  19. I have never met you, but I think of your and your beautiful children often. Please know that people are pulling for you.

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  20. Since so many people follow your blog, maybe you should update it.

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