Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How Can You Measure Sadness?

"How can you measure sadness? We all feel so differently about people and situations in our lives. In order to have complete empathy towards another's sadness we must dig deep into our own experiences and emotions. Only when we start to feel our own discomfort and pain can we truly be there for someone else." ~Mama Hen

"He's not coming back mommy. He is up in Heaven with God, Pudding and Cuddles watching over us." This is what Little Chick said to me as I got in the car crying today after visiting my Dad's grave. I did fine visiting and telling him I miss him and love him until I was approached by an older gentleman as I was walking to my car. He said, "Are you his daughter?" I replied, "Yes." He then said he knew my Dad and referred to him by his nickname. He said he had commuted with him on the train years ago. This would be in the seventies when I was a baby. He remembered my mom and my sister and said that my Dad talked about his family lovingly all the time. The man had been visiting his own wife that had passed away and he had tears running down his cheeks as he talked to me. As we said so long I walked to my car crying. So many emotions were stirred up in a short conversation with a man I had never met before. However, talking about my Dad with him made him seem alive again. Little Chick said, "Are you OK mommy? I know you miss Granddaddy." As I drove off with clouded vision and a painful heart I was thinking about how much sadness I have felt over the last decade and I wondered how anyone could really measure it and truly be there. I have learned over the years to keep the sadness and the pain in a place within my mind and heart that I could deal with it a bit better. However, watching Little Chick go through the mourning of her little doggie has made me realize that no matter what, the pain will be there. It is up to me to recognize my own pain and to be there for my daughter as much as I can to help her through this great loss she feels. When she said to me that my Dad was not coming back and my dogs would not either, however, they were up in Heaven with God I felt comfort in the words I had said so many times to her, but I still felt great pain inside. The distance of time has not healed these wounds as many have said would happen. People sometimes believe this and with this, understanding and "being there" does not always happen. They think that time has taken away the pain and that we should simply move on. I had a colleague say to me after my Dad had passed away that there will be a day that I will not think about him. I think about him all the time! He is in my daughter's smile, my sister's generosity, in my strength and empathetic heart. He is always there-very present. This is where "measuring sadness" becomes an impossibility. How can we possibly measure the sadness of another person? We all love differently and our attachments are not the same. I have learned that perhaps we may not always "understand" what someone else may be feeling or going through, but "being there" emotionally and physically is the best thing we can do. Who knows? We just might be filling in a huge pocket of sadness that just needed a little tender love and care.

20 comments:

  1. oh SO true. What a beautiful, heartfelt post Mama Hen. Hope you are smiling right now, staring at your precious girl :)

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  2. What a truly beautiful post. As a daughter who has lost both her parents, I can say I think about them often. Also with loving my husband, Savannah is a constant reminder of him; she's got his eyes, ears, olive skin, the personality at times to go with it. All of these are my beautiful & constant reminders of him.
    Wow I wonder if that former co-worker has ever lost anyone the one that made that comment?

    Hugs going out to you and little chick.

    Viola

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  3. How insensitive of your colleague to make a remark like that. How would she possibly know what you would feel? People deal with sadness and grief differently, but I think feeling it is far more helpful than shutting it off.

    What a sweet response Little Chick has to your sadness. What a blessing she is to you!

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  4. That Little Chick - she's so awesome for trying to comfort you. Such a heartfelt post Mama H. For me it's not about measuring sadness during times of great sorrow but remembering the love and gifts they gave which turn out to be the tools needed to go one without our loved ones. Hope your keeping your chin up. How wonderful you had such an incredible father - that is something to smile about.

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  5. What a beautiful post. I'm so happy you had that chance encounter with the man who knew your father. And you're right -- talking with someone who knew someone we loved does make them seem alive again. At least for a moment. There's a connection, and it sounds like your dad was a great man -- to have made such a bond with another man on the train. What a good reminder of how important it is to reach out to people. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. I agree, the depth of the pain never gets better. I do think of my dad less often, at the beginning I cried all day, then it was a few times a day and now it's just every so often. But when I do think of him and miss him it is with the intensity of the beginning. I'm sorry you are feeling sad sweetie. I'm glad you find some comfort with Little Chick! XO

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  7. Your post is too true. I'm so sorry you're feeling sad today. I do think Little Chick had it right when she said he was watching over you. I truly believe that our spirits follow the ones we love so we can always be there with them. Your father must have been a good man for a stranger to come and tell you about his positive experience with your father. Hugs for you today!

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  8. Oh, Mama Hen, I feel your sadness and your pain in every word you write. And I commend you on the love and support you show Little Chick as she navigates this sorrow we call mourning. So young at only 4-years-old to know such loss. But I can see you know that Little Chick must go through all the steps of mourning to work through her grief and heal. I'm thinking of you both.
    :( Bianca

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  9. A beautiful post about your dad. What a nice way to learn about your dad from a chance encounter with a stranger. I don't think we can ever measure the saddest of losing a loved one. We all have different ways of dealing with grief and I think the best ways of moving forward is to keep all those memories close to heart. It keeps them alive and every memory is apart of us.

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  10. The joie de vivre that your father had was gifted to you and now to your sweet daughter.

    Such sensitivity for one so young. Just wow.

    {{{hug}}}

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  11. It such a blessing that you encounter a stranger who knows something about your dad. He surely is an incredible man. It's really hard to accept we'll not be able to see someone as long as we're alive but the only consolation is that they are for sure up there in heaven guiding us. Take care :)

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  12. Beautiful post!

    Although I was not married when my parents both passed away few years ago, they were aware and blessed my relationship with my hubby (then boyfriend) and even though my child does not have the opportunity to see his grandparents, I'll be sure to show him their pictures and everyday I look at my son, I'm reminded of my parents.

    You don't go on forgetting people who mattered in your life. Ignore what your colleague said.

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  13. So true! So many people will say that it gets easier with time but I think the pain is just hidden. There was only one person who was honest with me at my mom's funeral. My grandmothers sister said that it will never get easier and she was so honest that all I could do is laugh. His spirit lives in everyone he touched and it's amazing that after all these years you're still running into people that have been touched by him.

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  14. You measure sadness in tears, fond memories, photos and traditions. You will always miss him because you will always love him. When you write about your dad, you are keeping his memory alive. You are so strong and loving, MH. Two traits your father would be proud of.

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  15. You're father sounds like he was a great man. I believe the pain of losing someone never goes away it just gets buried a little deeper inside. Remembering the good times and talking always helps me. I believe even after a person dies they are with us. Just in another form in our hearts and memories.

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  16. This was a beautiful post, and I really do agree. The fact that you miss him so much speaks volumes about the person he was.

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  17. I feel your pain through the words in your post. My 6 year old says that she carries the three kitties we lost in her heart with her all the time. Last week she told me they visit with her at night! I don't think we ever "move on" from losing someone but rather we learn to live with the sadness of the loss in such a way that doesn't cripple us. My father is on the dementia ward of a retirement home so I really feel like I have lost him. It's all part of the journey of life and it's not easy!

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  18. My sister in law lost her daughter on Mother's day this past year. She had just finished college. Our family tries to walk the narrow line between mentioning Lija and giving my sister in law time and space to grieve. What you said in your post- that talking about your Dad made him seem alive again is so true. Our loved ones live in our hearts forever.

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  19. Oh Mama Hen, there is such a wonderful depth to your relationship with your father...I feel for you in sadness although like you said, everyone feels differently about people and situations. LC's words are sweet to the soul.

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