Friday, February 22, 2013

Small miracles

[some how this didn't get posted when I meant to, so you get a two-fer today]

Last weekend at church, the lovely and talented Rev. Erin said something that has really stuck with me (yes, Erin, some of us do listen. :)) She was talking about the urgency of sharing the Good News. We all know the kind of people who are sure that you are going to hell if you don't accept Jesus into your heart and be born again. Like literal actual factual burning in hell. Like my friend Erin, I don't much believe in an afterlife hell. Hell is here on earth. And the Good News is that it doesn't have to be that way if we just love one another unconditionally.

How's that for hope? Starving? Don't worry about it, someone will feed you. Sick? No worries, someone will heal you. Too sick to watch your kids? No problem, someone else will. We're not there yet, but we can be. How awesome is that?!

What I'm learning, the hard way, is that those people are out there, willing to help, but most of them aren't actively seeking out people to help. So I'm advertising for them. Not kidding. I have been advertising for people to volunteer in Crackle's playroom, doing Son-Rise therapy with him. And they're coming. Really good quality people made from chocolate covered awesome. They're responding to my ad asking them to come and learn how to play with him in a way that helps him learn. I've got 2 fabulous volunteers right now, I interviewed a new one today [addendum: she's amazing! I love her], and am meeting someone else tomorrow [also freakin' amazing!]. I've had several people come and try and it didn't work out for various reasons. But they tried. and that's truly wonderful.

I have people who are willing to commit to a minimum of 4 hours per week for 6 months. I have one who spends countless hours with them because it's fun, and she loves the amazing little gains. She was screaming with glee yesterday because he said "poop". And because of my amazing volunteers (and one paid worker), my kids are making huge strides. Pop wouldn't even get a diagnosis today, I'm willing to bet. Crackle? Crackle spoke. He. Spoke. I cannot tell you what a miracle that is. That's the kind of miracle Jesus spoke of. The good news that it doesn't have to be that way. He spoke. Oh sure, he just said, "poop" and "Dad" and "hey baby" and "up room". But he's 7. And they told me if he didn't talk by five, he never would.

So those are my miracles. That my kids are recovering (miracle 1) because strangers are volunteering their time to help (miracle 2). And that I found out about it in the first place!

It's okay to grieve

It's Lent, and I've been meaning to write a little about it, but my inlaws are in town and I'm tired (of them). KIDDING! I'm tired of my schedule disruption, and of dealing with lots of new people, especially knowing that most of them don't like me. But I've decided I don't care. That is, I will do what I want, say what I want, and live how I want, all while being loving toward them. And it's working. I'm much less stressed than last time. It's nice. Both my sisters-in-law have commented on how good I look, and how much weight I've lost (ha. not an ounce), and I credit it all to feeling better. I just look better because I don't look sick and stressed. YAY for side effects.

As I've mentioned, my church is closing, and I'm not taking it well. We're talking about the stages of grief, and the lovely Rev. Erin keeps asking me how I"m doing with it, and my answer is the same every time, "I'm rapid cycling through the stages". I'm accepting it, then mad, then sad, then trying to figure out a way to make it not happen, then just totally believing in it not happening, then mad again, etc. And then kind of all of them at the same time: I just can't believe it! What a bunch of quitters! I could make this work, if only...! This is so sad, but it'll be okay.

And speaking of grief, there was an ugly house fire that killed three people the other night. One of them was my SEA's best friend's sister. No connection to me, but the SEA knew her well enough. She's going to the funeral this morning. We were talking today about how our society really sucks at helping other people through grief. We offer platitudes and then forget about it, while our friend grieves alone. The platitudes are easy to understand; people want to offer comfort and hope. We say stupid shit like, "He's happy now" (he was happy before!) "She's with God now" (She was with God before! And what if the grieving survivor isn't religious? SHUT UP with the God stuff unless you know it'll be welcome.) "There's a reason for everything!" (Who cares?! It's grief.). We have these weird traditions of bringing food to the house of the person grieving (usually gross crap they'd never eat) until the funeral, and then we, by and large, ignore them and go back to living our lives without any sort of thought about them other than a passing, "Gee, I wonder how X is". I saw it when Dad died. People called and came over and brought food. Until the funeral. After the service, everyone came back to Mom's house, ate most of the food, and then never called again. Hardly anyone ever even mentioned my Dad that day. And one person even had the nerve to talk to me about my birth family.

Not a single person called me to check on me. A few called me to see how Mom was.

We are failing. We are failing miserably at comforting the grieving. We're failing miserably at being allowed to grieve. When I was thanking all the people at church who sent me cards (and seriously, greeting cards are an acceptable way to say I recognise you're going through something, but I don't want to have to talk to you), I started to cry. Afterward, someone told me that by now, I shouldn't be crying so much, and maybe I should go get therapy. It was 4 weeks.

I'm not as bitter as I sound. This is just an honest recounting of what happened, and how I feel it wasn't enough. And how I feel that as a society, we can do better for people in mourning. I cannot imagine the pain the family of the people who died in the fire. Cannot begin to fathom. I hope so much that they have someone with them who stays, long after today. Who calls, checks, who takes them out, helps them feel somewhat normal again. And most importantly reminds them that they've not forgotten their loved one, and not forgotten their pain. And that it is okay to grieve.