families engage in a conspiracy
of silence around death...In their efforts
to contain grief, the pain is actually
intensified as people wall off parts
of themselves. This avoidance of open,
shared grieving hasa its roots in the
losses of previous generations.
--Murray Bowen, M.D.
October 18, 2003
families engage in a conspiracy
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 11:04 PM
Is there a statute of limitations on mourning? Should there be? If we stop feeling that skip in the heartbeat and stab in the gut when we think of someone we loved who was killed, have we stopped caring? Should guilt then rush in? Should we try to leave behind our grief, and get on with it? What is left of the dead one, a year after they've gone, in the world? What do we learn from their lives, what can we learn? What have I learned?
And much more... Like this:
Scars were left on me in the wake of those deaths in my young life, furrows and welts in my brain some of which are even now just working their way into the light. This is as it should be. My great and abiding love for the drink, moderated and benign as it has become in my later years, as much passed on genetically and nurtured environmentally as it may be, certainly has some roots there. My fear and loathing of the very idea of having children, absolutely. My carefully-chosen expatriate existence, yearning contrapuntally as I sometimes do for the deep, cold coniferous forests of my youth. The vigour with which I counter those who I perceive to be attacking me, yes. All of these and more. I have made my peace with the ghosts, made it many years ago, and carry my wounds with awareness and a quiet understanding that what happens is good by virtue of the sheer fact that it has happened, and that to claim otherwise and rail against our experience is to refuse life, and shrink from it. To say no, rather than yes.
A wonderfully thoughtful and intensely genuine post.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 10:36 PM
Paynter Usurps RB as Blogworld Babe Magnet, according to Betsy Devine.
Frank, you smelled blood and went right in, didn't ya. Have you no shame? ;-)
You gotta see the pic Betsy did of Frank. It's a hoot.
In other news, Frank is writing like the new babe magnet, full of love and graceful prose and open spaces. Nice.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 8:18 PM
surely you remember it. darling jenna is in the kitchen experiencing it with her own two paint smudged hand. Usually an able artist, she got through three "numbered" paints in this paint-by-number heart thingy with way too much detail before asking permission to abandon the numbers and mix her own colors.
I said, "Okay."
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 8:09 PM
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 8:00 PM
I did this little site on good business writing eons ago. I was looking at it tonight, finding my old white paper template for a buddy, and started looking through copy I don't even remember writing. When did I do all this stuff? Am I my own ghost writer? I don't know. Weird feeling. Anyhow, in case you need some old fashioned word templates for abstracts, white papers, and the like, I figured I'd link to the old gal.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 5:51 PM
John Markhoff: "To my mind, it's not clear yet whether blogging is anything more than CB radio."
via Halley, who proclaims these to be wise words.
I say this: Would you rather talk with the truckers on CB Radio or read the NY Times?
I think you know my preference.
Cutting you loose, good buddy. Over and out.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 4:02 PM
October 16, 2003
It's been a while since I've blogged anything meaningful. So funny. When I was swamped with work, a hundred posts flooded my mind in a single day--none of them actually posted. Now that I have 20 minutes here and there to write for me n you, all I hear is wind.
And then last night, something broke loose for me. After Group. After talking with George. After a glorious late night talk with Shelley and word from Master Boy that he had phone (call him with ideas, ya'll) back for the time being.
In the space before sleep and dream, I figured something out.
I became a memory.
I'm riding the bus to school the first day back to school after my father died, wondering--consciously thinking: "how should I feel? what am I supposed to act like?" Not feeling sad, no, that wouldn't come until later, about 36 years later, no, not sad. Feeling like I should feel sad. Feeling like everyone around me is sad for me, and so I should be sad, but I don't feel sad. So what should I do? Who should I be like? I have no template for this.
I walk into class to the warm arms of my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. McKlusky, who embraces me with the tenderness of a mother, see tears in her eyes, "my poor dear." And I like it.
I like it.
Hug me again, Mrs. McKlusky.
The next day comes, and the next, and the next, and during those rides to school, I monitor my performance. I hear the older kids in the seat behind me, "That's the girl whose dad died. That's her." "Wow. Poor kid." "She must be so sad."
Me thinking, yes. I suppose I can pretend to be sad. Me consciously configuring a look of sad, profound depth on my five-year-old face, leaning my forehead against the up-and-down glass window of the bus, watching the fog from my breath obscure my own view of my face, rubbing it away so that I can see if I look sad enough.
Talk about me some more, kids.
Me. What about me?
What about me, who had lived for the last year in a household of death and dying, of secrecy, of hidden truths, of pretending that nothing was wrong. What about that year, which used make believe to obscure reality, like fog on the glass window of the school bus. What about knowing what was happening without permission to give voice to terror.
Things you put aside, file under "unfortunate"--those are the memories that shape your dark places.
For all of my adult life, I've sought a supporting role, hating the spotlight, hating the sound of my own voice out loud, shakey, unsure. Instead I shape my voice with words and pixels, screaming as loudly as I can in black and white.
It goes back to those rides on the bus, my teacher's arms. It goes back to me asking can I please go out and play on the day of his death, and being told no, we are in mourning, and thinking: what about me?
It's common for children to blame themselves for their parent's death. I knew of this phenomenon because so many adults asked me, "you don't feel like you caused your dad's death, right? I mean, some children feel responsible. You shouldn't feel responsible. It wasn't your fault."
Me thinking, well I DIDN'T feel responsible until the 9th adult asked me this stinking question. I didn't feel responsible. I didn't kill him.
Did you? Or you?
But there is guilt, and I found it waiting for me in the space between sleep and dream, last night. It's the guilt of a little girl on a school bus faking sorrow to get attention. It's a little girl who knows she should feel something that everyone else is feeling, but can't. Whatever emotion this is I see around me, it seems to work for them--it seems that they can all get together and hug and cry and laugh, and they are all in on the big secret, and I'm sitting there, alone, on the bus, pretending to have my own secret. The secret of manufactured sadness. Because that's all I have.
I say I'm sorry to that little girl for making her feel guilty for so many years for wanting the attention that went to her dying father.
I say I'm sorry that you couldn't get all the attention you needed while the family circled around his dying.
I say it was okay to ask, what about me? And it still is.
And I say:
It's okay to go out and play.
It's okay to go out and play.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 8:06 AM
October 15, 2003
Stick to your guns
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend
Nobody knows the trouble this poor boy’s seen
People will believe anything
Man on the run
Always gets it in the end
Nobody cares ’cause nobody shares his dream
People don’t believe anything
Everything is changed
Everything is still the same
It’s just a part of the game
Blood on the moon
Patterns running across the floor
A musical inside a movie inside a dream
Guess you can believe anything
Everything is changed
Everything is still the same
It’s all a part of the game
Mama, papa, boys, and girls
Holding hands around the world
Wrong is wrong and right is right
Nothing changes overnight
I’ll believe it when I see it in black and white
Tell me the truth
Nobody leaves here alive
In the black core of doubt
Trying to get out in the light
Sometimes you can’t see anything
Everyone is changed
Everyone is still the same
They can’t get out of the game
--Todd - check out the flash.
It's not just any old flash site intro. that's how todd is with technology and the Net. way before the many who came after him. above all, and more than the music, I liked that he "got it" early on. the site says 'interactive media' is coming soon. that will be good. does todd blog? todd should blog.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 3:20 PM
Stu Savory takes up the cause of encouraging bloggers to help other bloggers get jobs. I agree. When I lost my job, I thought of starting a team blog of bloggers looking for jobs, where we could have links to our credentials, portfolios, previous employers, links that represent our industry knowledge, etc. I figured we could all write there not so much about the woes of being unemployed, although yes, that too, but more feature writing germaine to our professional disciplines and thinking, predictions, trends, etc. Sort of turning America's business cast offs into America's business pundits.
The value of such a blog of corporate also-rans is 1) to shove in the face of our former employers how "no, duh" they are, as if that would make a difference (note that I made that the number one goal. I don't claim to hide my distaste for stupidity). 2) to demonstrate our thinking, creativity, wit, and industry knowledge in an effort to attract clients or intrigue possible future employers. 3) to enjoy a community of really smart people in the same predicament as you to avoid going completely insane.
Needless to say, I didn't do squat with the idea. Got too busy with freelance work in order to get money in the door.
But someone could. I'm game if anyone takes up the challenge.
Either way, if you know of job openings, email some of the folks Stu lists at his place. If you're looking for a job, feel free to leave a link here. We can at least start some sort of running blogroll of bloggers looking for work.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 9:33 AM
October 14, 2003
I attempted to shame the beloved Halley and David into getting comments. And I tried to get RageBoy to fix his.
One of them has comments today, although I wouldn't be smug enough to think it was me who pushed him over the edge. David, are you glad you did it?
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 11:22 PM
I called upon SMBs to jump down to the bottom with us bloggers and underwrite some blogs -- Ungowa, littleguy power! Or something like that.
(tap tap tap on my desk): still waiting...
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 11:16 PM
October 13, 2003
Shelley Powers is marvelous in her interview with Frank. And I hope she's doing okay after surgery too!
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 9:10 PM