Stages of Grief: anger

I am thinking of the songs that comfort me in grief.

And thinking about the stages of grief. Five, right? Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Grief and Acceptance. My sister said, “They left out Revenge and Acting Out. ” She died of cancer in 2012 at age 49. Six days after her birthday and the day after mine.

Anger songs for grief. But denial is first, right? Not necessarily. These are not stages you move through in a certain order. This is more like a spiral, where you go from one to the next and back to the start, from day to day or even hour to hour.

I’ve already written about My Name is Samuel Hall. That is an angry song, unrepentant, that my sister wanted the last time that I visited her. I knew that she was furious about dying and leaving her husband and daughter. And me and her friends.

My mother sang:

“Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I think I’ll go eat worms. Big fat slimy ones, little tiny wiggly ones, see them wiggle and squirm. Bite their heads off, suck their guts out, throw the skins away. I don’t see how anyone can live on three meals of worms a day… without dessert….”

She also taught us this:

“I don’t want to play in your back yard
I don’t like you any more
You’ll be sorry when you see me
Sliding down my cellar door”

My parents had songs for every mood I can imagine. There were moods they would not speak about but they sang them.

My favorite angry groups are The Devil Makes Three, Hank Williams III, The Offspring, and Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Sweet Honey in the Rock? Yes. They sing about death a lot. This song is not about death: it’s about a “bad” woman, wanted dead or alive. But listen to the song: they are singing about a real event and a woman who fought back against a rape. On the thirty year album of Sweet Honey in the Rock, the group says that their first “hit” was this song, played by news stations. “It was a hint that we were not going to be top 40.” The song is Joanne Little.

So here are three songs by the others:

The Offspring: Why don’t you get a job?

The Devil Makes Three: All Hail

Hank Williams III: My Drinking Problem

And how do families show anger? They fight. They fight with each other. They fight about how someone should die, what should be done about mom, whether dad can live alone any more, about the right way to grieve. They fight about small things or big things and they even sue each other. Before you wade into the fray, step back. Remember, families grieving are always a little bit insane, very stressed and it’s all grief.

Hank Williams III: Country heroes

Blessings on the people I know in hospice right now and on their families and loved ones. Third one today. Sending love.

 

 

 

forgiveness 2

I am failing to forgive
I am succeeding in forgiving

The people that I have let go
I have forgiven
I do not plan to see them again
They have hurt me grievously
They have had time and time, years
to contact me and to listen
They choose not to
I let them go
I am tired of being hurt
They have no remorse nor kindness

It is the people that I hold on to
Some hope that they are loving
Some hope that they will listen
Some hope that they won’t believe the stories
They still hurt me grievously
They do not answer and make no move
Listening loving healing

I have to let them all go

And then I can forgive
Beloved, I want to forgive

And there is no reconciliation
When no one will listen

 

For the Daily Prompt: finally.

I shall leave you

My poems start with a problem, an idea, a worry. I never know where it will go when I start. This poem started with wanting to leave in a positive way and started with the title. So how could I leave but leave with kindness? And what would I leave?

So it is a song. And should include sign language, I think….

I shall leave you

I shall leave you with a song
I shall leave you with music
I shall leave you with a picture
I shall leave you with voice upraised

I leave you with a song
I leave you with music
I leave you with a picture
I leave you with voice upraised

I leave you a song
I leave you music
I leave you a picture
I leave you voice upraised

I leave a song
I leave music
I leave a picture
I leave voice upraised

leave a song
leave music
leave a picture
leave a voice upraised

a song
music
a picture
a voice upraised

song
music
picture
voice

song

Forgiveness 2

I wrote this poem in 2009 when I was struggling with forgiveness and wanting to forgive. How do we forgive when someone does not apologize? When they do not explain nor listen to your hurt and grief? Yet forgiveness is internal in each of us. The external is reconciliation and that requires listening from both sides.

Forgiveness

I want to forgive something
Someone
In fact a group
Something that hurt a lot
I’ve tried logic
I tell myself
“It was an expression of concern”

My heart doesn’t agree
It is sullen
Immobile and grumpy
It whispers
“They have not apologized”
It whispers
“When people say you’re crazy
It could be a joke
An expression of concern
It wasn’t
It was a palm held out
At arm’s length
To distance me.”

My head argues
“That’s what it felt like to you.
You don’t know their intentions.”

I want to write
A poem of forgiveness
Hoping my heart will follow

My conscious doesn’t write my poems
My conscious wrestles with an idea
The poem comes out of this struggle
I look at the poem I’ve written
I think,
“That is what I would like
my conscious heart to feel.”
My poem is often more generous
than my conscious feels

My poems are not mine
They are a gift
From the unconscious
It is much larger
Than the small conscious me
I dream of feeling envy
I climb into a bathtub
And transform myself
To battle a trickster
We are transported
To the bottom of the ocean

In the ocean
The trickster and I are one
It is unlimited
It is not my unconscious
There is no separation
It is all unconscious

I did not think
A poem would give forgiveness
But pain drove me
Into the sea
I am connected
You gave me these pearls
Thank you

 

I am submitting this to the Daily Prompt: jiffy. I wish this could happen in a jiffy…. but it is slow….

greed

Virtues and views, 7 sins and friends, Blogging from A to Z. Last year I chose gluttony for the letter g, but greed is also there. Charity is listed as the virtue to oppose the sin of greed. How interesting, because I did not have those paired! I think of generosity as the opposite of greed, but I do understand placing charity there.

Webster 1913 Greed:

An eager desire or longing; greediness; as, a greed of gain.

Dictionary.com 2017 Greed:

noun

1. excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.

Webster 1913 Charity

1. Love; universal benevolence; good will.

Now abideth faith, hope, charity, three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1. Cor. xiii. 13.

They, at least, are little to be envied, in whose hearts the great charities . . . lie dead. Ruskin.

With malice towards none, with charity for all. Lincoln.

2. Liberality in judging of men and their actions; a disposition which inclines men to put the best construction on the words and actions of others.

The highest exercise of charity is charity towards the uncharitable. Buckminster.

3. Liberality to the poor and the suffering, to benevolent institutions, or to worthy causes; generosity.

The heathen poet, in commending the charity of Dido to the Trojans, spake like a Christian. Dryden.

4. Whatever is bestowed gratuitously on the needy or suffering for their relief; alms; any act of kindness.

She did ill then to refuse her a charity. L’Estrange.

5. A charitable institution, or a gift to create and support such an institution; as, Lady Margaret’s charity.

6. pl. Law Eleemosynary appointments [grants or devises] including relief of the poor or friendless, education, religious culture, and public institutions.

The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless, Are scattered at the feet of man like flowers. Wordsworth.

_____________________

So why is charity the virtue to balance greed? I am thinking of the Buddhist prayer: may all beings be safe. May all beings be peaceful. May all beings experience loving kindness. May all beings be free.

All beings. Not just the virtuous, not just the good, not the people of one race or one religion or one country. All beings and I think that is what charity and love really are. When we say “Not those kind of people!” we are separating and discriminating and labeling and we choose to keep charity from them: that is greed, too. More for us, less for them. They are bad, wrong, different, so we don’t have to share with them.

The Buddhist prayer is to be practiced towards a loved one, then a friend, then an acquaintance, then a stranger, someone we dislike, some one who has hurt us, and someone that we think (and here is gossip) is evil….progressively harder.

But what if someone HAS hurt us? How do we practice charity there?  Do we have to?

I return to a sermon on forgiveness: here, by Reverend Bruce Bode:

“Says Dr. Lewis Smedes in his book, Forgive and Forget:

When you forgive, you heal your hate for the person who created that reality. But you do not change the facts. And you do not undo all of their consequences. The dead stay dead; the wounded are often still crippled.”

Reverend Bode goes on to say:

“While I’m talking about what forgiveness is not, let me also make a distinction between forgiveness and reconciliation. The distinction is this: forgiveness opens the possibility of reconciliation with another, but it does not necessarily lead to reconciliation, and it is certainly not the same thing as reconciliation.

One can forgive and not reconcile. This is because reconciliation demands something from the other side, whereas forgiveness has to do with an internal process within a person.”

Charity, then, is more complicated than generosity, than romantic love, than love for one’s family and friends and community. It is the ideal of loving everyone, even those who have harmed us. Our ideal is for charity and forgiveness: and a hope for reconciliation. Charity is the opposite of greed.