Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #722 - Seneca's letter to his mother - grief - and a song
Hi Mom, As you know, I am always looking for content to feature as I am not able to produce daily original content in the volume I would like. My main criterion for choosing content requires selecting something that I want to read.
I have received the weekly BRAIN PICKINGS newsletter for a few years now. I don't always read the entries, but I have posted shares of the content several times, most notably last week with the article on Ursula LeGuin and story telling, which has proven quite popular.
I saved this entry when I saw it because I knew I would be thinking about grief and the grief process.
There's always synchronicity. It's why Jung wrote about it.
Stories of grief surround us. Stories we learn may slip from our minds, but then we are reminded of them, such as a close friend of mine who lost his son late last year. Or the workers who have been passing through our home, all with stories of grief: the young crew worker for the mason whose mother in in hospice and the painter who lost his wife last year to cancer.
And I talk about grief with others, needing to put my own grief in perspective. Just as I was trying to quantify loss, someone said to me that all loss is loss, and it's all worthy of grief. But in making such a public spectacle of my own grief, and trying to continually frame it in terms of life and celebration and happiness -- as I have for the last two days -- I also need to keep the feelings of loss in perspective because others have experienced much greater pain.
Unlike our situation, Mom, many losses are unexpected and random. Someone is suddenly gone. With many of these tragedies, the person is young, taken from the world too soon, and there's a feeling of injustice. What happened, it's just not right. It's wrong. This is my friend's story. His son was snatched from life after completing his first year of college, age 18, all promise and possibility ahead of him, suddenly gone. I had not been thinking of Finn, until something reminded me of him and his story, and so with this instance of synchronicity comes the perspective.
And then there's the diagnosis and swift decline of the disease caught too late to save the individual as with the stories I have heard recently from those spending time at my home. More synchronicity and more perspective.
I am so blessed that I was able to share 53 and 1/2 years of life with you, Mom, before we you passed on. I feel so fortunate that we had 15 extra years with you after the meningitis that put you in a coma and almost killed you, then, in the year 2000. We had a lot of time for goodbye. My story is not like those other stories. Loss is the common factor. And yet, I am hesitant to compare my loss to theirs. The other day, hearing the painter's story, I didn't even share our story, Mom. It was not necessary. I listened. I said good things, consoling things, empathizing things, and left our story out of it.
Our story is full of blessings, Mom. And maybe one thing I have learned in the last two years of writing this blog is that I don't have to wear my grief on my sleeve. I am not wearing my grief on my sleeve. But the grief is there. I feel the loss, as mentioned in this article, via Abraham Lincoln as “a sad sweet feeling in your heart.”
So, when I read this article about Seneca's "Consolation to Helvia," I am reminded of the unfathomable losses that many experience. I am an infant in the loss department compared to the story of Helvia.
Granted, your death, Mom, has been the most significant loss of my life to date. I have seen tragedy. I have seen close friends die tragically. One took his own life. One died in a freak accident. But neither of those deaths affected me as yours does, Mom.
But I keep an eye on the perspective, the spectrum of loss, the quantifier of loss.
My life has been very easy compared to so many others. I am blessed, and I am lucky.
So, what follows is the share from BRAIN PICKINGS.
And here's the full letter of Helvia by Seneca as well.
CONSOLATION TO HELVIA - WIKISOURCE
FROM - https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/05/02/seneca-consolation-to-helvia/
Seneca on Grief and the Key to Resilience in the Face of Loss: An Extraordinary Letter to His Mother
“All your sorrows have been wasted on you if you have not yet learned how to be wretched.”
BY MARIA POPOVA
The post needs a song.
Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.
I miss you so very much, Mom.
Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.
- Days ago = 724 days ago
- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1706.28 - 10:10
NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.