Posts Tagged With: 50th anniversary of November 22

Day 325: The Anniversary Connection

Anniversaries are important.

They must be, otherwise why do we observe them, so often, and in so many different ways?

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We observe all sorts of anniversaries, joyful and painful.

Here are some Google Images, for “observing anniversaries”:

Image**

Image***

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Tomorrow, I’m marking a painful anniversary. Here’s how I’m preparing for it:

  1. I’m naming it — here and elsewhere.
  2. I’m leaving room for new perspectives.
  3. I’m being kind to myself.

When something is painful, I tend to isolate.  I know I’m not alone, in THAT.

I just googled “animal in pain behaviors.” Here’s a quote from a Wikipedia article.

Many animals also exhibit more complex behavioural and physiological changes indicative of the ability to experience pain: they eat less food, their normal behaviour is disrupted, their social behaviour is suppressed,***** they may adopt unusual behaviour patterns, they may emit characteristic distress calls, experience respiratory and cardiovascular changes, as well as inflammation and release of stress hormones.

So, yes, I’m not alone in that.  And I’ve met many other people whose social behavior is suppressed, when they are in pain.

Tomorrow, on the anniversary of November 22, 1963, I will probably spend most of the day by myself.

That is a choice. I like being alone. It helps leave room for contemplation and change.

However, I am making a commitment — to myself and to my social network — to reach out, if I need to.

When I choose to be alone (and I do have that choice, as an adult), I want to remember that I don’t HAVE to be alone.

I need to remember this:  if I do reach out, I will get a response. I will, most likely, feel some connection.

And if I don’t, I can reach out again. And again. Until I feel connected.

In the past, if I have reached out and not felt a connection, I have felt worse.

That can feel too risky: to reach out, when you’re in pain. I see that, all the time.

It’s not too risky.   Someone will be there, eventually. You just need to reach out, until you connect.

I know that, now.

Thanks for connecting, today.

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* Thanks to Vroman’s Bookstore for the image.

** This 9/11 image was attributed to this site.

*** Thanks to PRI for this image.

**** This image of Walter Cronkite, announcing John F. Kennedy’s death, was attributed to this site.

***** Emphasis added, by me.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 323: Grieving old losses

After an initial therapy session, I need to write a treatment formulation. This includes  a brief description of the person seeking therapy  and my best guess at what might help.

When I write a formulation, I tend to include certain therapeutic themes.

One of them is this:

Grieving old losses.

I do believe that most people have losses, from the past, that could be attended to, in a new way.

I know that I do.

I know that I still am grieving the loss of both my parents.  That is a work in progress.

I am especially aware of losses, where the grieving has barely begun.

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This week, as I prepare for the 50th anniversary of November 22, 1963, I am becoming aware of a loss I have not yet grieved.

The loss of President John F. Kennedy.

As I have blogged about, several times this year (and especially lately), I was 10 years old when President Kennedy was killed.

However, I wasn’t awake, during that time.  I was undergoing my first heart surgery, for the implantation of my first cardiac pacemaker.

So I’ve always felt different, that way.  When people of my generation discuss where they were when JFK was killed, my story is …. weird, I guess.

This is the way I found out that President Kennedy was dead:

They had gotten me out of bed, days after my surgery, and somebody was taking me around in a wheelchair, down the corridor of the Children’s Hospital ward.  As we passed by each patient room, I saw the TVs, mounted up high,  on the wall.

On each TV, I saw the same image.  The same image, over and over again, as somebody wheeled me by.

A coffin.

I had never seen anything like that before, on TV.  And it was on every TV.

Days before, I had asked a question, twice, and received a world-shifting answer.  The question had been, “What’s that?” when I saw a large pacemaker, implanted under my skin.

When I saw the coffin, I MUST have been afraid to ask that same question.

I don’t remember the fear. But I do remember asking the question.

“What’s that?”

And that’s when I found out that my beloved president, John F. Kennedy, had been shot.

Killed.  Murdered.

By whom?

By a man named Lee Harvey Oswald.

I couldn’t take in that unfamiliar name, I’m sure.

Why did he kill the President?

Nobody knew. And he was dead, too. He had been killed, by another stranger.

How was all this possible?

HOW WAS ANY OF IT POSSIBLE?

I couldn’t answer that.  I was only 10.

I wonder if anybody, awake during that time, could answer that.

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This week, as Friday — the 50th anniversary of 11/22/63  — approaches, I have resolved to grieve old losses, as well as I can.

I am taking Friday off from work.  I have committed to be especially kind to myself, that day.

One way to be kind to myself is this: To remember that I am not alone in my grief.  Even though my experience of that loss was very different, I share the trauma of that loss with millions of people.

I am not alone.

Also, since I was 10, I’ve avoided details about what happened during that time.

I resolve to open up to the details, now.  And to turn away, if I choose.

And more importantly, I resolve to open up to the grief of that loss, of the president we loved.

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I think I’m ready for that, now.

Thanks to picsofwisdom.com (for the image of JFK), to those who are grieving losses everywhere, and to you — especially — for visiting today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 305: What November means to me.

As I explained,  way back on Day 105 of this year,  everything makes sense on some level(s).

The main point of that old blog post was this:

You will relate to my (or anybody else’s) experience in some ways, but not in others, because my experience (like yours) has been unique.

But I’m going to let go of the past (that 200-day-old blog post) and be more in the moment, right now.

It’s the first day of November.  I have lots of reactions to the month of November.

And they all make sense, on some level.

You may relate to some of my reactions but not to others, because of where you are.

Some of my reactions to November:

  1. It’s autumn in New England, and I’m a wuss about the coming cold, so I’m still not happy about that.
  2. At this point, though, I’ve let go of denial and am working on acceptance.  That includes embracing the beauty of what is. For example, this past week, all the mindfulness exercises I did in therapy groups focused on leaves I gathered outside of work.autumn20leafJust one leaf01 copy (None of those leaf photos are mine, but those images remind me of the leaves we used, in mindfulness.)
  3. November, to me, means November 22nd.  November 22nd, 1963, was the day President John F. Kennedy was shot.  For people who were conscious and aware on that day, that was a life-changing experience.
  4. I was unconscious, on that day, because I was having my first heart surgery, at age 10, to get my first cardiac pacemaker.

That’s the punchline, for me, people.

This year, I am planning on experiencing November differently.

How?  I’m making one conscious change.

I am taking November 22nd off from work, and spending that day in a way that’s helpful for me.

I haven’t figured out how I’ll be spending that day. I’ll be working on that, this November.

And already, this November is different.

Thanks to Divinipotent Daily and the town of Bedford, Massachusetts (for the leaf photos, from Google Images Roulette) and to you, of course, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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