Posts Tagged With: death

Day 1571: On this day

On this day, I am repeating something from yesterday’s post.

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On this day, I am sharing flowers I saw yesterday.

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On this day, I am grateful for spring and all that it brings.

On this day, I am driving to a seaside city to find out about a home I might put a bid on. I wonder if I will be successful in that venture.

On this day, I will be facilitating two therapy groups at work.

On this day, I wonder about the meaning of success.

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On this day, I will have some Yogi Tea.

On this day, I will share some music here.

 

On this day, I express gratitude to all who help me create this daily blog and — of course! — to you.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 205: Missing People

One thing I’ve learned doing therapy groups for over thirteen years:

I (and other people) often struggle balancing the focus on (1) people who are present and (2) people who are missing.

And people often are missing, at any group meeting.

I often name that — in any group therapy session where people who are expected aren’t there. I’ll say group-therapy-type things like, “I’m aware that so-and-so is not here. I’m also very aware of everybody who is here, and wondering how the absence is affecting you.”

I try not to have assumptions about how an absence affects others. I know it affects different people in different ways. But I know it has some effect.

Everything has some effect. And people who are missing can have a big effect.

Those of us who are present at the meeting often don’t know where the missing people are. And we want to know where people — and things — are. (See here, for George Carlin’s amazing take on losing Things.) We don’t want lose track of them.

Sometimes, when people are missing, it speaks to our fears about them. Why aren’t they here? Are they okay?

Sometimes, when people are missing, it speaks to our fears about ourselves. Are they missing because I — and this gathering — were not important enough to them?

Sometimes we’re angry at the people who aren’t there. Why didn’t they let us know? I made the effort to be here, why couldn’t they?

This topic is on my mind, today, because I do groups, every week, where somebody is sometimes missing.

Plus, I went to a high school reunion, on Saturday, where people were missing, too.

At the reunion, some people who were definitely expected were not there. For some of those people, I knew the reasons why they weren’t there. For others, we had no idea why they were missing (to some of those people, I’ve since sent the question, “Are you okay?”)

Also, there were the people who were missing from my high school reunion for a reason we knew: they had passed away.

As one of the planners of the reunion, I found out about some of the people from my class who have died as I was trying to contact people.

I confess: that was one reason I sometimes procrastinated contacting people, for fear of what I might hear about them.

And at the reunion, as in my therapy groups, I struggled balancing my focus on the people who were there with the people who weren’t.

Here are the people who were there:

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Here are some of the people who weren’t there, RIP:

Marie Bilodeau

Sheila Burns

Chester Caldwell

Maryann Caproni

Sandra Cross

Louis Defelice

John Espinola

Cheryl Freedman

Alexander Fried

Herbert Garrette

Chris Janakas

Robert Myers

Melissa Newman

Donna Riddell

Jamie Solomson

Maureen Thompson

Anne Townsend

Christian Zahr

Why am I including this list of people on this blog, where the vast majority of readers do not know them? Why am I being so careful to spell their names correctly? Why am I afraid I am forgetting somebody?

Because people are very important. Even when they’re not in touch with how important they are.

That reminds me of the one point I wanted to make before I finish this post (and get to work on time so I can do another group) (where some people will be present and some people will not).

When people aren’t at a group, where they are expected, it has a huge effect on the people who are there. I see it, every time.

And the people who aren’t there don’t know that. How could they? They’re not there.

One final reference before I stop, for the day. My friend Janet, from Film School, loves this movie:

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I know a lot of other people who love this movie, too. I’m glad that Jimmy Stewart, in that movie, had that special and magical experience: He found out how much he was missed, when he wasn’t there.

Many thanks to all from my high school class (who were at the reunion and who was not), Janet, George Carlin, Frank Capra, and all of you, here today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Day 150: The A-word

This post is dedicated to my friends Rob and Gene.

The very first week of this blog, I wrote about a word that I hesitated naming.   That was the P-word, which was Procrastination.    I hesitated to speak its name, because that can be a loaded, self-critical and unhelpful word for a human process I see everywhere — in myself and in others, too.

Yesterday, I wrote about another word, that I felt the urge to not-name, also.  That was the D-word.  And THAT was a word that a lot of people try to avoid.

Death. (Eeeek!)

Phew.  So much for the D-word, in THIS post.  (I’m definitely on board with Death Avoidance today, people.) (Although, earlier today I was worrying about some deadlines.  And take a look at THAT word. Dead-lines!  Geesh! Is that word supposed to motivate us or paralyze us with fear?!)

Anyway, moving on, to today’s  Word-That-Might-Not-Be-Named.

I would like to present, ladies and gentlemen, the A-word.

Anger.

Not quite as scary as death.  But still difficult for me (and a lot of other people, I believe) to talk about.  And to deal with.

This is what I’m noticing about anger, these days:

  •  Most people (including me) don’t have good role models for How To Experience and Express Anger Effectively.
  • Anger is an emotion that a lot of people disown and dislike in themselves and in others.
  • Anger is just another human emotion, like sadness, joy, and fear.  Everybody reading this blog has all those emotions. (If Mr. Spock is reading this blog, he knows that he has them, too.)
  • Anger is the human reaction to injustice and to fundamental needs not being met.
  • Anger has a lot of energy, to help us change that which is unjust and not serving us well.
  • Anger, the way it is expressed out in the world,  is tied up with hatred and violence (which can be very confusing and frightening).

I’m not sure what the “solution” is …. to the “problem” of anger in the world (and in ourselves).

My belief is that the first step is accepting anger as human — as something useful and maybe even beautiful. Then, maybe we can  do better at figuring out more effective ways to express and use that Energy of Anger.

I think this is a tough topic, people. I’m not surprised that I procrastinated writing about this, until Day 150.  (Even death was easier to broach, apparently!)

As always, I am curious and eager to hear your thoughts about this.  And thanks so much, for reading today!

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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