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Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a Jungian analyst and storyteller, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves (outstanding book I have read many times and recommend to all my clients-men AND women). This is her post on FB today for those of us who have walked through Alzheimer's with a loved one and those who have not.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

THEY CALLED HIM THE MANIAC

The old woman with Alzheimer’s is protected

by her rowdy, bellowing husband.

He uses his big body to bar staff

and family from her bed.

“I’ll feed her.

I’ll give her the pill.

She’s fine. Just fine.

She’ll be coming home soon. You’ll see.”

His brother was elected to talk “some sense” to him.

“She doesn’t know you anymore, Jack.

Come away. She doesn’t know you anymore.”

Like Cerberus, the mad dog at the gates of hell,

the husband grabbed his brother’s lapels and roared,

“Yes, but I still know her!

I still know her!”

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Oh, how I love this one, Mary. "Yes, but I still know her! I still know her!" This makes me cry because I so relate to this as do you. Anne

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loved it, loved the cat...that about sums up my life! Anne

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Oh Mary, this is very special ~ well worth the 15 minutes to watch it. And yes, I think this speaks to many of us . . .

Thank you so much for finding and sharing this with all of us.

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Oh, Mary, how beautiful, thank you!

I was enchanted that she had the match boxes to "light the fire" of her dreams, and that when it was time to make a joyful dream, her friend brought her a lovely place to go, and she was able to go there. How very touching and affirming of life and joy. Thank you so very much.

*<twinkles>*

fae

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Yes, it is very powerful and makes me wonder if the man who visits is a friend or if it is her husband who has died. It is, of course, up to each viewer....and can be either.

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I am finding it somewhat comforting today, a very bad day for me, to watch these videos. So I share them hoping someone out there finds some comfort. These links take you to the Women's Conference of 2009...so they ARE out of date and even inaccurate (as Edwards reporting a very high divorce rate after the death of a child) but so relevant.

Maria Shriver on Grieving (very powerful)

http://www.womenscon.../maria-shriver/

Grief, Healing and Resilience (Elizabeth Edwards (lost son in car accident-dealing with cancer-now deceased); Lisa Niemi (5 weeks out from her husband Patrick Swayze's death); Susan St. James (lost son in plane crash 5 years earlier); mod: Maria Shriver (2 months following her mother and her uncle (Ted Kennedy's deaths)-deaths that brought her down)

http://www.womenscon.../grief-healing/

Women's Conference on Grief (overview of panel above)

Home page for conference...not all talks are current or relevant but I post it here in case you want to see it.

http://www.womenscon...e.org/home.html

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Dear, dear Mary,

Thank you for yet another gift of the heart. Maria Shriver's talk could, I think, have come from any of us about any of our losses. It was both powerful and beautiful.

I feel as though I have you all here with me, sitting my living room, listening to the blustery, cold winds sweeping down from the Divide, and wish I could offer each of you a cup of tea or mocha. I want to sit with you and say, "Yes, here we are, still here, alone, trying to figure out this day and the tomorrows, at least enough to find some sense to it all, to figure out why things ended up this way." And knowing that the sense to it all is that it is a part of life to say goodbye to one another. But more, I feel, to say, truly, "See you later!"

Wondering if I am missing some message that Doug has, sent, then shaking my head, knowing that he sends messages all the time. Pink rock, feather, diamond necklace, notes, people who say his words at just the right moment to let me know he hears me.

And I smile through the tears, feeling both affirmed in my love and grief, and also feeling so devastatingly alone and bereft. When Estelle, my darling MIL, left me as well last July, and I had no one to talk to often, and with whom I felt so in touch, so visible, I fell into a deeper pit of darkness, from which I am only now recovering. Then, I found this place, this tribe, this warm and welcoming fire of Love, of Communion. I found this place to begin healing. What a miracle of life!

I think our loved ones conspire to hold us up, to keep us going, to send light and Love to us so that we can make it through this time, stay on our path, stay on this journey. We are so incredibly loved to have their presence still with us, around us, within us. I was both affirmed and comforted by Maria's story of the water. It just keeps happening for us, doesn't it, these miracles and messages of loving compassion and companionship? We are not alone.

Thank you for all you share here, dear Mary.

Thank you to each of you who reach out and help us to hold each other in this place where the Light and Love can reach into our hearts. If you were here, I would hug each of you, lift you to the light, and serve tea and scones, and sing our songs of remembering together. (Reminder: I must find or invent a recipe for gluten-free hot cross buns for Easter.)

I hope each of you are feeling the communion of Love and Compassion I am sending to you this day.

Blessings and {{{hugs}}} through our tears of gratitude and grief, for I cannot uncouple one from the other.

Without this deep Love, we would not have this deep loss.

Thank you.

*<twinkles>*

fae

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Marty, I figured this was somewhere on your website. :) glad you were able to update links. The panel and Maria's talk are so moving...and helpful to those who grieve. I did not post the link to Katie Couric's talk so here it is: http://www.womensconference.org/the-womens-conference-2009/video/katie-couric/

Mary

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Thank you, Mary, I don't know where you find everything!

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Kay, it comes to me. I just subscribe via FB and websites to newsletters and FB pages that are of interest to me...and I do a bit of looking also but not much. I am just glad you like them. :) Mary

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The links won't work on my ipad so I will try on the PC later. I loved the video of the old woman. Almost a visual meditation. Fae I am finding that I believe that when I get people reaching out and saying or doing things at just the right moment, and when I read a poem, which seems to say just what I need at just the right moment, then it is Pete helping me in the only way he can now. My old self would scoff at these things, but my new bereaved and lost self looks for them and believes he is with me.

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Dear Jan,

Yes, I am sure Pete is with you. When I asked Doug, before he left, if he would still be with me, he asked, "Where else would I go? I am not leaving you. I will be right here. " and smiled. He could barely talk then, but he needed to say this to me.

I think when our hearts are broken open, and we must accept the reality of death, and that our beloved has moved to another level of existence, that we open ourselves to hearing the whispers of spirit that we otherwise might not hear.

I believe and know that Doug is present in my life, my heart, and my spirit. As my Goddaughter said when we were talking about it, there are no coincidences in G*d. It is all of a piece, a pattern, a part of the puzzle.

In this culture, I think we can become so very conditioned to the sense of "here, now" and "over there, some other time" that we forget that it is all one seamless existence, merely experienced on a variety of dimensions. There have been far, far too many of those coincidences, those whispered messages, these enfolding moments of comfort and love, to not believe that there is more to existence than what I can see.

Actually, I easily know that from studying quantum mechanics and particle physics, but I also know that the only way we can know it: as subjective experiences that are as tangible as emotional sensations, and as concrete as my own thoughts. Even when we measure a piece of wood, we are the subjective observer, after all. It is all we have: ourselves. When our own perceptions are validated by other subjective humans, we can confirm the subjective experience and agree on a perceptual experience among us. (This is a very long topic for discussion, so I will leave it for now.)

When we are lost, I think that when we are willing to be open to the healing and help that comes to us with such great Love, we are gently led on our path, comforted in our confusion, and not left alone. Of course, we have a choice.

My old self, the one of which Doug was a breathing part, would have been less attuned. Life was so full, we had each other to see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. Existence was easily confirmed. But even in the months before Doug left, we had shifted to another level of communication, which increased the last few weeks and more so the last few days.

I believe Pete is helping you. If it is imagination, then it is shared imagination, and at some point, we allow ourselves to accept this new gesture of Grace, and have knowing at a new, deeper level of perception. So many cultures hold to a strictly objective reality, yet reality is never objective: it can only be subjective. Many other cultures accept and live in a reality quite different from our Western cultural reality. I think we discount synchronicity and serendipity to our own loss. To the best of my knowledge, no one has found an objective way to measure love, emotional pain, happiness, or inspiration, yet no one will deny their existence. And if some do not have such experiences, then that is their own, personal subjective experience. As our friend at MIT would say, "Your mileage may vary." We each have our own experience, and measure it as it works for us.

We live in a Universe of unbounded miracles and happenings. I believe Pete is with you as Doug is with me.

*<twinkles>*

fae

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I KNEW she had said this somewhere!

"I have put down these very elementary notes on the limitations of metaphor, because this book is an examination of metaphors about God, and because it is well to remind ourselves before we begin of the way in which metaphorical language--that is to say, all language--is properly used. It is an expression of experience and of the relations one experience to the other. Further, its meaning is realized only by experience. We frequently say, "Until I had that experience, I never knew what the word fear(or love, or anger, or whatever it is) meant." The language, which has been merely pictorial, is transmuted into experience and we then have the immediate knowledge of the reality behind the picture." Dorothy Sayers, "The Mind of the Maker"

Doug would say, we grasp the more fundamental concept associated with that word through our individual experiential database. Or maybe sometimes we don't grasp it at all, no matter how deep we are determined to go. I have not a clue. Theory. :) ( I use "we" to denote all humankind, not this gathering.)

She goes on to say, "The words of creeds come before our eyes and ears as pictures; we do not apprehend them as statements of experience; it is only when our own experience is brought into relation with the experience of the men who framed the creeds that we are able to say: "I recognize that for a statement of experience; I know now what that word means."

She could have said "of the women and men who framed the creeds", ahem.

We are learning the deeper meanings of many words here, I am finding.

Nice fire, Marty, thank you.

*<twinkles>*

fae

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Jan,

I believe so too, I know George encourages me and bolsters me in the things I do. He always had such faith in me, I call upon it even now. :)

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I saw this on Facebook this morning and it surely seems relevant here.

Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation http://widowsvoice-sslf.blogspot.com/

‎"Our transformation from our old self to this new widowed self is so painful that viewing this metamorphosis as beautiful seems impossible. Yet, beauty can be found in every tear, in every memory, in every determined step forward into a new and unexpected life. Our widowed selves have been forced into a cocoon mode because of the pain of our loss. We have shrunk into ourselves in order to find the strength, the courage, and the will to recreate our lives. Breaking out of that cocoon may well be the life work of this phase of our life journey."~Michele on Widow's Voice

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Thank you Mary,

That is a beautiful quote.

fae

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"Think not so much of 'moving on' but of 'moving forward.' And as you move forward, you ALWAYS do so with your loved one by your side, in your heart, within your very breath. They are part of you now and always. You move forward with them and continue to engage in life because of their inspiration." ~ Ashley Davis Bush Take as LONG as You Need...xo

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I agree, Mary, I don't like the term "moving on", it sounds like we could care less and we're leaving our loved one in the dust! Moving forward implies continuing on (the contrary wouldn't be good) and that we NEED to do! Yes, they'll always be part of us.

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Yes, Kay. It seems like such a small thing...one word... 'on' vs 'forward' but it says volumes. Mary

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Transcending Loss: Understanding the lifelong impact of grief

Do not expect 'closure'. Grief is not something that you will get over, be done with -- you can't stuff it in a box and throw it away. Instead, grief is something you will learn to live with. You will integrate it, synthesize it, and allow it to change you. The change will be subtle and not subtle simultaneously. Grief will influence your perspective on life and death, and on love itself. But know that love, like grief, will always be a part of you too. Your soul is infused with the love of all the people who have left this earth before you. Happily, there is no closure on that either.

FOUND ON FACEBOOK THIS MORNING. This is so very true in my experience to date.

32621_10152694034695374_1488731936_n.jpg

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Another one from Elizabeth Edwards after losing her teenage son in an auto accident. Notice that NO one approached her to help.

Grief Speaks

"Nothing was easy. Sometimes what I needed was to be left alone. The grocery store was a hard necessity. How many times could I pass his favorite food, his choice in soda? Not as many as I needed, it turned out. Once he came crashing in on me, and I was literally thrown to the floor. I sat sprawled in the soda aisle at the grocery store and cried uncontrollably. No one bought sodas for about five minutes. Although the store was crowded, no one walked down the aisle in which I sat, flattened by Cherry Coke."

~Elizabeth Edwards on the loss of her 16 year old son, Wade

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