Frozen by the fire
At nearly the 2 month anniversary of my sisters death, I found myself still sitting at the bonfire of mourning my sister. Pain, guilt, regret & I. Anger visited occasionally. Joining us to make sure that the fire was burning well & that it was being maintained. We warmed ourselves, staring at the orange flames, mesmerised by the crackling of the embers as they completely obliterated any & everything we brought near. It was like a celebration but it was not joyous. It felt more like a tribal sacrificial fire & it did not necessarily feel safe. For your reference, I include the stages below again & the link to the first 2 blog posts as links if you click on Stage 1 & 2 of this 7 step process. To remind you of the point of these blogs…. there is a brief general description of the stage & then the stage is dissected from my own personal perspective.
Stage 1-Shock & denial
Stage 2-Pain & guilt
Stage 3-Anger & bargaining
Stage 4-Depression (Reflection/ Loneliness)
Stage 5- Surrender & Release
Stage 7-Choosing Life (acceptance & hope)
Stage 3: Anger & bargaining
At level 3 you may experience quite a few unsettling emotions that not many of us are comfortable in acknowledging or working through. Frustration at the situation may partner with your sense of loss & the need to direct those emotions at someone, may lead you down a road of directing the anger at another human being so that you do not incinerate yourself. Holding yourself in a safe space at this time is important. Support is paramount. Because we cannot reason logically at this time, it is important to surround ourselves with people who can reflect & reframe our thoughts & feelings. You may try to negotiate with God about your emotions, the situation, clarity…. making clear what you would like, how you see things panning out & what you would like to see as the outcome.
Ephesians 4:26-27 ” In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry & do not give the devil a foothold…”
Comfort is not something one experiences when your mind has lost its sense of logic. The part of your brain that governs the emotions interferes & draws much energy from the rest of your brain… so much so that it restricts your ability to reason, make logical conclusions & assimilate efficient thoughts to lead to wise decision making or rational reactions. In this stage of the grieving process, I remember feeling dark. Wild & threatening thoughts overtaking my mind & holding me hostage in moments that were far too frequent for my liking. I remember feeling this kind of anger before, an almost victim like mentality that feels as though a grave injustice has been committed towards you & one forgets the role or part you might have played in the creation of the script in which you now find yourself participating. Its not a nice feeling & its painful AF!
You see, my sister died by making a decision that she no longer wanted to fight. That she no longer had the strength to carry on & that there was no-one to whom she could turn. I cannot imagine what her thoughts were exactly in those last moments because she never left a note. Either she didn’t have the time to think about what she might want to say to those left behind or she didn’t care. We were away at the time & I had spoken to her the previous evening…. she had seemed fine. My son had been chatting to her via messenger the morning of the day she took her life… she had seemed fine. She had left him a voice note to tell him that she would see him later upon our return… she had seemed fine. My mom had chatted to her in the morning… she had seemed fine. The details of the words exchanged with her significant other in those last moments before she locked herself in the bathroom are unclear. No words can explain what was happening in her mind & that lack of control made me livid.
Too many maybes
It angered me that there may have been things said out of emotion. That the lymbic system was interfering with the pre frontal cortex & chipping away at my sisters logical thought process (science stuff) That a fight could activate emotions that she may have been feeling for a very long time? That she didn’t feel supported enough, loved enough, secured enough to push through this ridiculous moment in time. That she couldn’t see that maybe things were falling apart to make room for a new season to be birthed. That maybe she was entering a phase of becoming. That she didn’t feel that we as her family were enough to see her through this trying time. That she felt that she would have nothing worth living for in that moment. That I had somehow allowed her to feel abandoned. That I had been too far away for her to reach out to. That maybe she had actually had been reaching out but that I had not heard her. That maybe she had been giving us clues but that we had not listened. That maybe she had told people that she wanted to kill herself but that they had thought that she was joking. That I didn’t know or couldn’t sense that she was lying when she said that she was fine. That she didn’t think me trustworthy or wise enough to help her out of her toxic space. That she had chosen a path that exposed her to much anxiety, negativity & hopelessness. That maybe she had not chosen at all but had found herself there! That she had been reaching out to the world but that maybe the world had not been reaching back out to her. That maybe she had not really reached out at all! That she had been loving unconditionally & that she had maybe felt that was not receiving that same level of love in return. That she did not love herself enough to realise her worth.
Back & forth
That while I was finding comfort in my faith, she was losing faith. That while I was breaking negative thought patterns, she was building walls around herself. That while I was turning on my intuition she was losing her sense of self. That while I was rediscovering joy & grace, she was feeling sad & rejected. That while I was looking forward to the future, she felt unsure about the future. The chatter that went on inside my mind at this time drowned out any of the facts that I knew about my sister. It muted the fact that my sister was one of the most fearless people I knew. It destroyed the fact that my small statured sister got up & spewed lyrics out infront of vast crowds of people. That she was a female in the tough ass, male dominated rap industry. That even though she was shy she had sooooooo many friends. That even though she was slightly awkward, she pushed herself. That she always made an effort. That she was unbelievably independent & reliable. That she always saw the best in people & could see beyond the bullshit masks that people sometimes put up. Maybe this was the problem? Maybe she got sucked in & poisoned by stuff that actually didn’t belong to her. Maybe she became lost in a dark space that was not her own. Maybe it was her own? That maybe her very own thoughts had been poisoning her. That maybe she had been suffering from depression, anxiety, insecurity, an imbalance… Maybe…
I carried feelings of absolute annoyance & irritation. The sense of exasperation & powerlessness. Disbelief, shock, resentment at the situation, at people, at myself. WHY did it have to be her? WHY did she give up? WHY had she made certain choices? WHY had I not been more awake? WHY had I not been a better example? WHY had I not sensed the toxicity? WHY could I not have rescued her? WHY did she feel so low? WHY did she isolate herself & make these decisions? WHY did she not see herself as more worthy? WHY didn’t she recognise her own light? WHY had I not told her to come live with me so many years ago? WHY had I not introduced her to more people? WHY had I not pushed her harder to stretch herself? WHY had she never asked me coach her? WHY had she not told me she felt confused & lost & alone & bewildered??? WHY!!!!!!?????
I’ll own it
If I could do things over, what would I do? I knew that I could not bring her back but surely there is something that CAN BE DONE? Surely there are answers & surely those answers will give us clarity & surely someone is to blame? Surely it must be something specific & it can all be explained so that it makes more sense? Surely there is justice that can be served?
But the truth is that I am angry at everyone & no one. I am angry at myself. I am angry at God. I have served people, I have helped, I have been there, I have reached out, I have pushed, I have pulled & I have been obedient. Surely that counts for something in this life? Surely?
And so we sit. Pain, guilt, regret, anger & I. By the fire. Watching as the flames lick back & forth against the momentarily shadowed walls of my soul. We sit & we wait… for this stage to pass… or maybe not? Maybe we will become burned up & all this will be a distant memory….
Sending love always,