Speak to Me/Breathe

September 26, 2011

Several months ago, I was feeling impulsive on LivingSocial and purchased a 30-minute psychic reading for myself at the Original Tremont Tearoom.  Long story short: The man I spoke with on Friday, Peter, read Tarot cards for me insightfully, telling me that I have the tools to make my dreams come true, I just have to stop thinking things are never going to happen, and use the tools to make stuff happen.  Classic me.   He also told me that my current career is actually just a base for what I’m really going to be doing in the future.  There were many other things he told me that weren’t good or bad – just things I needed to hear.

The first card that was drawn for me.

Anyway, I’m not writing this post to tell you all about how I spent my Friday lunchtime.

I work with a wonderful, caring, sensitive nurse at one of my contractual facilities.  I’ve known her for five years and we have a good working relationship.  On July 4th, her 29 year-old daughter didn’t wake up.

This has actually been something of a regularly occurring tragedy in my peripheral social and work life, unfortunately.  Just two years ago, a colleague and former professor of mine lost her son, roughly my age, in a similarly mysterious and untimely way, and last week, a girl I went to high school with passed away from a heart attack, suddenly.  It’s unimaginable what these parents have gone through.  I just can’t imagine.  I can’t speak for them, of course, but I have to think that if I lost a child, I would want to talk to people who could imagine.  I’d want to talk to someone who could speak to me.  Who could share their story and coping skills with me, and not feel uncomfortable around the subject of death and loss.

So, I had been wanting to ask this woman I work with how she’s holding up for a while, but there were always people around, or she was busy with patients.  Yesterday, I told her and a few other people about my psychic experience and how useful it was, despite its abstract nature.  This woman, T., brought up the fact that she had scheduled an appointment with a medium to help her deal with some of the grief she’s feeling.

Shortly after this, everyone left the room.  I don’t know if they left because they were busy, and it was a coincidence, or if they became uncomfortable with the conversation, but I had a really wonderful and emotional conversation with T. after that, and she shared some things about her daughter that she said she hadn’t been able to say to anyone yet.  Apparently T’s daughter had struggled with an eating disorder and they think her heart failed as a complication, but that wasn’t what we talked about.  T was able to talk about her daughter with me comfortably (though I was tearful the whole time) and told me of all the reasons she was proud of her, and all of the wonderful things she did for people in her life.

During our conversation, she mentioned a song I hadn’t heard – “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam.  When T’s daughter passed away, some of her journals were found, and in them, she would remind herself to breathe through whatever issue she was experiencing – this song was played at her funeral, and is one of Pearl Jam’s earlier tunes.  Appropo.

T told me I should check out the song – I didn’t hesitate.  When someone is grieving, to put it in T’s words, “It just sucks.”  It really does, I’m sure, though I haven’t experienced any significant or upsetting loss in my short life.  If someone is feeling constant pain and sorrow, what’s worse than people not wanting to bring it up.  It’s not only a huge elephant in the room, but people need to talk about it.  I’m so glad I was there yesterday and could lend an ear to someone who needed one.

When I hear The Band Perry sing “If I Die Young,” I always think of T, and the part in the song, “not even grey, and she buries her baby,” I get shivers and it makes me want to cry.  In fact, I just needed to take a minute to get myself together in order to finish this post.

Sometimes, when we’re in our darkest hour, the worst thing is silence.  Hopefully there are people around us who can help break it, but if not, we should explore other avenues.  My friend T is going to a medium in a few weeks to gain some insight to her own thoughts and feelings, but also to maybe, just maybe, hear something she needs to hear.

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