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Dear PP peeps. I like how that sounds. PP Peeps. Dear PPP, I met this beautiful woman who has been to quite a few of my workshops (and is coming to my NYC workshop again in March so you can meet her if you come!) Her name is E.B. Wexler and I find her to be incredibly lovely. I encouraged her to write and write and write. And she did and she did and she did.

She sent me the poem below which I think should be required reading for anyone experiencing any sort of grief. This feels especially timely around the holidays when so many people feel so alone.

Required Reading for Anyone Experiencing Grief. @JenPastiloff (Click to Tweet!)

E.B.’s piece is called Grief Anniversary:

“anniversary” implies that I do not have grief the other 364 days

I do.

But as the date approaches

I feel, slowly arising

The original grief

The breath sucked out of me when I got the news over the phone.

The early grief

Walking around in a daze, wondering where she went

How things would be now

 

She was 31

She was my “person”

And it was out of the blue.

I have not been the same since. And I don’t want to be….

 

what you don’t know is that my life will never be the same

what you don’t know is that if or when this happens to you, yours won’t either

what you don’t know, until it happens to you, is how it feels

what you don’t know is that I can’t TELL you how it feels

I can say a million words, but they won’t begin to convey it

what you don’t know is that all of the losses touch each other

suffering a loss today can bring up a loss from decades ago

and it feels real

it feels current

it’s one big steaming pot of loss

what you don’t know is that it’s always present for me

 

so for those of you

who would never bring it up

and then later say, when I finally do

“I was going to say something but I didn’t want you to get upset”

I’M ALREADY UPSET.

you mentioning it doesn’t make me upset

it’s not like until you brought it up….I forgot about that piece of me I’ll never have again

for anyone who says

“you need to stop thinking about it. It’s making you sad.

I am ALREADY sad.

And by the way…

What’s wrong with sad?

 

what you don’t know

is that asking

is the best thing you can do

but what you don’t know

is that if you don’t ask, it is probably because you’re scared to ask

because the answer is too scary for you

maybe because it hasn’t happened to you

 

what you don’t know is that if or when it happens to you

and someone finally asks you about it

you are going to want to kiss them full on the mouth

collapse into their arms

what you don’t know is that the gratitude you feel

towards people who ask

who can witness your pain

is almost as bottomless as the grief itself

 

what you don’t know

is that the platitudes

not only don’t help

they make me angry

at you.

“I know she wouldn’t want you to be sad”

really?!

Please.

to start with, you never met her.

And…..do you know one of the many reasons I miss her so much?

because if this had happened with someone else

if she was still here to comfort me

she would say:

“don’t listen to them, Bets.  You ARE sad.  “she” would want you to be wherever you are.

trust the process.”

 

what you don’t know

is that the one person who could best see and love and comfort me through tough times

see me when I couldn’t see myself

is the one for whom I’m grieving.

double whammy.

I need to talk to HER about losing HER.

I need to cry to her about losing my best friend

My “person”.

part of my insides

the one who not only understood everything I didn’t get before–

but who GAVE it to me herself.

 

what does not show

is the searing pain I have deep deep inside

so deep that sometimes I don’t even see it

what does not show

is the part of my heart that feels all carved out

like an avacado

scraped to the very skin

that sound of the metal spoon hitting the inside of the rough peel

there is no more

empty

 

what does not show

is the anger I feel every time someone fails to see my losses

fails to see ME

what does not show

is the picture in my head of me smacking you

when you say something like

“she’d want you to move on.”

(once again, only from people who never met her.

how can you speak for her?)

 

move on…..from what?

where have I stopped?

 

what does not show

is the movement of my feelings

moving all the time

up and down, side to side, waxing and waning

all in service of being present

not better. Present. To whatever shows up.

 

because all you see is pain

and you want it to go away.

what does not show

is the tidal wave of grief that comes on her death date

or her birthday

or when something reminds me of her in a way that feels like a punch in the gut

in a way that causes my body to remember both that she is gone

but also that she was here.

How much I loved her.

 

what does not show

are the tiny shards of my heart

that I’ve been picking up and picking out of crevices

putting in a bag

little tiny pieces

trying not to step on them or vacuum them up

they seem infinite

and I can’t ever put them back together the way they were

what does not show

is the brokenness of my heart.

******************

I found this to be the truest expression of grief I have read in a really long time. I hope that if you are experiencing grief in any way that you will find some comfort in this or perhaps pass it along to someone who may need it. Love you guys, xo Jen.

I will be in Vancouver next (Jan 17!) Followed by London again on Feb 14th, my annual Kripalu weekend retreat, NYC, Atlanta and more. Click here for all retreats and workshops, including my Tuscany retreats (which are almost sold out so please apply soon. A workshop or retreat makes a great holiday gift! Please note that yoga is NOT the focus of my workshops although there is some yoga. You do not have to be a “good” yogi or writer. Just be a human being. With a body. And a heart. Make sure you let me know you are from the Positively Positive tribe! 


Jen will be leading a New Year’s Manifestation Retreat: On Being Human in Ojai, California. All retreats are a combo of yoga/writing and for ALL levels. Read this post to understand. Check out manifestationyoga.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you (Dallas, Miami, South  Vancouver, NYC & London are next). Jen is the guest speaker 3 times a year at Canyon Ranch and leads an annual retreat to Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health every February, as well as an annual invite only retreat to Tuscany. She is the founder of the popular The Manifest-Station website. Jen is leading Other Voices Querétaro in Mexico with authors Gina Frangello, Emily Rapp, Stacy Berlein, and Rob Roberge in May . Follow her on Instagram and Twitter. You can also find her at BeautyHunting.com. 


Image courtesy of Simplereminders.com.