On and on and on

by | Aug 19, 2010 | 3 comments

Still have the migraine and Audrey screamed from 8:42 until just after 9 pm.  But I didn’t go back in.  I held my ground because at this point, I believe it’s the best thing for both of us that she go to sleep when it’s time for her to sleep.  All of this back and forth and stalling only makes us both crazier I think.

Nothing like capping off 20 minutes of listening to your child scream with a casual read about the experience of drowning.  Yet that’s what I just did.  All of the details.  A friend of mine whose husband is a doctor had told me, “– says it happens pretty quickly.”  I want to believe that and I want to believe your body was just a shell, but when I read things like cardiac arrest and brain dead, it is hard to imagine your soul entirely separate from those vital functions- at least here on earth.

But Elizabeth Kubler-Ross would certainly believe in that separation.  I’ve just finished reading her book, “On Life After Death” in the past few days.  She is the groundbreaking Dr. who introduced the now famous stages of grieving, and this book is a collection of four essays about death and the after-life.  It’s a good read and quite fascinating just how scientifically Dr. Ross addresses what will happen after we die.  She sat next to the dying for many years and studied twenty-thousand cases of near-death experiences so her research is solid.  And she is quite spunky.  She writes:

“For thousands of years you were made to ‘believe’ in the things concerning the beyond.  But for me, it is no longer a matter of belief, but rather a matter of knowing.  And I am prepared to tell you how you can obtain this knowledge, provided you really want to know.  If you are not interested in knowing about it, it doesn’t make any difference because once you have died you will know it anyway.  And I will sit there and will be full of joy, especially for those who now say: ‘Poor little Doctor Ross!”  

She goes on to explain exactly what she has found will happen to your soul after your body- your cocoon she calls it, dies.  She remains quite scientific throughout the book, even though towards the end she does talk about having an out-of-body experience herself where she left her body at an “incredible speed.”

One could really imagine that working with thousands of terminally-ill patients- being around that all the time- could possibly make even the most scientific Dr. a little bit “off.”  But I also imagine that being a witness to so much death, she was privy to a lot of the invisible world most of us miss.  Having lost my spouse- which as I’ve said previously, seems the closest thing to attending your own funeral- I can say that you do feel you are floating somewhere in between the land of the living and the land of the dead…hovering over this world rather than walking on it.

I’ve read in the grief pamphlets somewhere the typical reactions to sudden death and “symptoms” of grief: “You may feel like you’re going crazy or losing your mind.  This is normal.  You’re not going crazy- you’re grieving.”  Good to know, good to know.

Tonight while someone else was feeding Audrey, I was silently reading a card someone had left and broke down crying near the kitchen sink.  The friend sitting at the dinner table with Audrey got up to comfort me.  Later on, after her bath, Audrey saw that same card on my bed, opened it up and repeated the word, “Appa, Appa, Appa, Appa…” softly, on and on and on.


August 19, 2010


  1. Anonymous

    I just found your blog through Motherlode. I am so sorry for your loss. I have a 2 1/2 year old and bedtimes and naptimes are mostly a struggle as well and we do not have the loss of my husband in the mix. I cannot even imagine what you are going through but wanted to encourage you to read "Sleepless in America" for some bedtime help and understanding why your toddler might having a hard time falling asleep. I wish you the best.

  2. the Lumpia


    I also found your blog through Motherlode. On the "you're not going crazy, you're grieving" statement – I found comfort knowing that when my Mom passed away. You might find comfort in the book, "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion, which helped me feel normal.

    I wish you well,

    PS – Bravo to you for writing your thoughts and feelings. I kept diaries and journals since I was in 8th grade and found myself paralyzed to express myself – even to myself – after my Mom died when I was 36. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is actually a strength that I need to work toward. Keep it up.

  3. Jo Julia

    Thank you both. T-da- I have read The Year of Magical Thinking a few years ago but may revisit it. Right now I have quite a stack of books by my bedside! Thanks again for taking the time to read my words and share your own thoughts with me.


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