Grief and Bargaining 

Initially I thought bargaining was a stage that I either hadn’t experienced and probably wouldn’t.  Grief is different for everyone.  It is possible to skip a stage.  One can also cycle back to earlier stages.

I considered bargaining as quid pro quo from a spiritual standpoint, “Give me this and I’ll do that.”  While researching the Stages of Grief (Kubler-Ross), I found the Changing Minds website.  They summed up bargaining as seeking a way out of the situation.

It continues with  an in depth definition:

After the fires of anger have been blow out, the next stage is a desperate round of bargaining, seeking ways to avoid having the bad thing happen. Bargaining is thus a vain expression of hope that the bad news is reversible.

Bargaining in illness includes seeking alternative therapies and experimental drugs. In organizations, it includes offering to work for less money (or even none!), offering to do alternative work or be demoted down the hierarchy. One’s loyalties, debts and dependants may be paraded as evidence of the essentiality of being saved.

I actually experienced bargaining and denial at the same time; the behaviors and thoughts overlapped.  I kept working at reduced duties and kept trying to move to harder work before I was ready.  (denial/ bargaining) I was convinced if I just worked hard enough I would heal fully in time to deploy with my unit. I’d be an outstanding Social Worker and therapist, making a huge positive impact (bargaining). When it became clear that I wouldn’t meet that timeline, the goal  became deploying with another unit later.  I sought after every damn therapy under the face of the earth for years. I kept pushing. When all this failed, I fell into anger and depression.

While proofreading this entry, I realized that I did bargain with the Deity in a slightly different form. There was a lot of pleading for healing so I could return to my career.   I still ask for this.  I can use what happened to me to help others with a greater level of understanding and skill. Grieving can be subtle.

Expanded Stages of Grief

  1. Stability
  2. Immobilization
  3. Shock
  4. Denial
  5. Anger
  6. Bargaining
  7.  Depression
  8. Testing
  9. Acceptance


I’ll explore the rest of the expanded grief cycle during future posts.
Grief hurts but it’s the only way to find the “new normal” (acceptance).

Letter to Bobby

Dear Bobby,

Today came  way too soon.   But, it was time.

I will remember you chasing after your remote control car.  I’d drive it in a circle and you’d chase it around and around.  You really loved  to chase it across the room.  I generally ran it into some piece of furniture or another or run it into you.  It didn’t matter; as long as you had the chance to capture it.

you loved those crochet eggs.  One time, you got into the box where I stored them.  You had every single egg out of the box and hidden somewhere around the room, in several different stash spots.  I guess I put the eggs all in one box?  Kaliyah would grab an egg and take it to her stash spot.  You’d chase after her, just to get the egg.

I missed you today.  You weren’t on the feeding mat, looking up at me, waiting for your dinner.  Just Kaliyah stood there, looking puzzled.  She looked for you tonight.  All your sleep and stash spots, in the carrier, double checked the cage.  My sweatshirt was on the ground.  She smelled you on it and sniffed hard, then climbed thorough the shirt.  She so wanted to find you.  The house feels different.  I looked for you in the cage when I got Kaliyah out to play.  I fixed your soupie with your medication before I remembered.

You were a special little one.  You had such a hard start.  The first I knew of you was by a Facebook post by a ferret rescue.  She told the story of you being found in a vacant lot with a dislocated shoulder and broken leg.  You had three surgeries and had the leg pinned.  When you were ready, I was  the lucky human to be your forever home.  Just seeing your attitude encourages me to keep going. You went through so much pain.  Yet, you loved.  You ran.  You played.  You made yourself a home.  You rolled with the changes.

i know you’re at Rainbow Bridge tonight.  The tumor is gone, your leg is whole, you’re healthy and happy.  No more pain. No more nausea.  No more dragging a large belly full of tumor.  Have fun, little man.  You have so many new playmates. Go play, run, war dance.  Be a happy little ferret again.  You are welcome to visit as you wish.

We will see each other again.  And go together over the Rainbow Bridge.

Bobby Ferret   (2011-2/17/2016 )

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Spirituality and TBI

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Lately, I am reflecting on my spiritual journey as related to TBI. My memory of the accident is gone with the exception of a couple of images. The strongest memory is of a spiritual experience.

From reading the police report and pictures I know the facts of the accident. My car hit black ice, spun out to left and off the interstate. The vehicle left the interstate, then rolled partially down an embankment, striking a tree.
The only recollection of the accident I have is that split second of “oh shit” as I realized there was no way I was going to recover control. Then, I became aware of an incredible, peaceful Presence in the car with me. I had the comfort of being “told” that no matter what happened, I was going to be fine. I was not afraid, even if I died, I knew it would be as it was meant to be. I was safe.

I am not certain of the exact nature of the Presence. It seemed there was more than one Being with me. My maternal grandfather had visited me in dreams and has been present in times of stress or danger. He was with me then. I also sensed a Power greater than any mortal or Guide. Perhaps this was my Guardian or some other higher being.

I did not experience a tunnel of light or the common near death experience. I don’t think I was near death due to my injury. However, I was at a decision point. This was a possible “exit” from this incarnation. Yet, there was unfinished work.

At times during my recovery, I felt overwhelmed. Emotionally and mentally, I felt I was left in a strange half-life. Much of what I used to value was eventually lost or changed. When I contemplated “finishing” the process of dying by committing suicide, I realized there was a purpose for me being here. If I ended my life, I would dishonor this purpose. Not to mention that I still had ferrets and a cat who depended on my care. It would also greatly hurt my family and friends.

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I still seek to understand my purpose in life as related to the ultimate journey of my soul. Life does not end at death: we are a soul with a body, not a body with a soul. We incarnate to learn lessons. Throughout lifetimes, we gain wisdom and spiritual growth.

I plan to explore this topic more in future posts. In the meantime, be well and at peace.

Merry Part, until we meet again.

Haiku

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Cute fuzzy kitten
Yawning hugely tired from play
Napping in the sun.

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Wild ferrets rolling
Over dancing dooking steals
My shoe to hide it.

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Koda likes to hide
Inside a fish to leap out
And play wrestle games

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I thought it was time to take a break from serious topics about my TBI and life. I hope you enjoyed the pictures of my ferrets and kitten. Brigid is now a year and a half old. She is a beautiful cat. Kaliyah continues to steal my running shoes at any opportunity provided. She is the smaller, black ferret. Brigid, Kaliyah, Scout, Bobby, and Tosca fill my life with love and unique challenges and amusement. Living in a house with a dog, cat, and three ferrets keep things interesting.

Koda Bear crossed to Rainbow Bridge last year. He is still close to my heart. I know he is happy and healthy and often comes to visit. Taliesin, Koda’s wrestling partner, is also at the Bridge. I lost him last year also, to lymphoma. Love transcends death. The souls of those we love never leave us totally. They remain near, in our hearts and minds. I believe they also visit us freely. They may not stay, as they have things to accomplish on the other side. Also, staying would interfere with our journey. Grieve their loss but never lose hope. Love transcends.

Kaliyah

Kaliyah

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A Sad Day

The infection was too much for Koda Bear. He crossed to Rainbow Bridge tonight. I’ll miss him. He was a special little ferret. That last week has been difficult. I saw his health failing, no matter what the vet and I did. In a sense, I enjoyed the time I spent hand feeding him at night. The house was quite and it was me and a warm, furry, little boy.

Koda was always my greedy little one. He loved food. Koda went to great lengths in order to get treats or steal food he wasn’t supposed to have. He learned how to open zippers. Several times, I found Cliff Bars with ferret teeth markings and a chunk or two missing. I’d backtrack the crumbs to my gym bag. And I had a missing bar. Koda learned how to roll over, stand a beg, and turn a circle. He would do these tricks for anyone who would give him a treat. The only times he argued with Tosca is when he tried to steal her NBone. He’d run off and hide his, then find Tosca and attempt to steal hers.

He loved to play in the tubes and wrestle with his ferret buddies. He enjoyed stealing and stashing things, especially balls. He scooched them across the room.

Koda was affectionate. He gave kisses on command and would sometimes agree to nap on my chest.

He was not in any pain. His body just couldn’t beat the infection and pancreatitis. He gave his all.

Dance on at Rainbow Bridge Koda! Be happy and healthy! We’ll see each other again.

Rhythm of Life

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Today is Labor Day.   It marks the “official end of summer” in the eyes of most Americans.  Certainly, there is a change in the air.  It is still getting hot out but you can feel the intensity is less.  Summer is winding down.

Officially, the first day of fall is September 23rd, the Fall Equinox.  Night and day are equal, in balance.  Wiccans celebrate Mabon, the second of the harvest festivals.  The bounty of the earth is celebrated by honoring both the God and the Goddess. 

Life has rhythm. It is seen in the moon, seasons, and our own lives.

Fall we reap the harvest of our work. The fields are ripe. Yet, at the same time, nature prepares for winter. Leaves put on a spectacular display of a riot of colors. Days shorten. Pumpkins ripen and start to show up on doorsteps. And as the rhythm of nature slows, there are still new beginnings. The New school year starts. So does college football!

Winter arrives. The earth slumbers under the cover of snow. The days are short and cold. Winter is considered the end of lifespan and is associated with death and dying. Talisien Ferret is not doing well. His adrenal symptoms have gotten worse and he has swollen nodes. His season is winter but he lives every day fully. He plays, eats, sleeps and enjoys his buddies.

Sadly, a friend left this world yesterday. She was a great lady; generous and with a good sense of humor. She was the mother of a very good friend, has two grandchildren, and two greatgrandchildren. She was blessed to be in her daughter’s home and surrounded by friends and family. I only knew her a short time. I met her through her daughter after I was injured. She asked how I was doing every time I came over to the house. Even ill, she cared for others.

After winter, the spring arrives. The trees and flowers bloom. Baby animals are born. The world wakes from its slumbers. In life, we have new beginnings. I believe those who have passed away also awake to a spiritual spring. There is life beyond this physical world.

Summer is the fullness of life. Long, sunny days arrive. We get active. The trees, fruit, Flowers, and vegetables ripen.

There is rhythm in life. How do you see rhythm in yours?