Showing posts with label grief. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grief. Show all posts

Monday, December 04, 2017

Maureen's Story

Photo from wikicommons
Thanks to "Maureen" for sharing her thoughts here. Please leave a note in the comments -- even if you have no advice. Sometimes it helps to know others are listening. 

Hi there,


I am a former ALC member. My parents are still members. Due to my parents' religious beliefs, my childhood was missing so many things other kids experience. Sleepovers, birthday parties, going to movies as a family, going to prom, going to concerts, drinking a first beer together, family movie nights with popcorn, etc. Now, we're all grown up and we lead our own individual lives. We imbibe every now and again, attend mainstream churches, go to movies, go to concerts, and have dinner parties. We do these things with our friends. We do not do these things with our parents. I don't even talk to my parents about these activities. 
"Due to my parents' religious beliefs, my childhood was missing so many things other kids experience."
I guess I am struggling with the relationship with my parents now. I currently have a wide circle of supportive friends (and family members, too). I have been fortunate to have deep friendships. What I've come to realize is that friendship is often built around shared activities. These shared activities might include going to a movie, then getting a drink afterwards and talking about the movie. Those are the things that build deep connections. With my parents however -- so many things are off-limits for talking, or doing. Thus, the ability to build a deep relationship is stunted. And that makes me enormously sad. I'm not sad for myself. I have friends and deep connections. I am sad for my parents. They seem lonely and they don't know their kids. Why even have kids if you don't get to benefit from an adult relationship with them someday? But, they're too closed-minded to open up to experiences where they could have a deeper connection with their children. It's a one-sided relationship where I talk about things they like to talk about and we do things they like to do. They don't really engage in my personal interests. They're offended by many of my opinions, so I keep them to myself. 
"I wish I could be one of those people who hangs out with their mom or dad . . . "
Providence has provided me with surrogate parents who mentored me through my late teens, 20's and 30's. But, I know my parents are hurt by my giving, in a sense, their paternal/maternal role to others. I don't actually want to do that. I crave a meaningful relationship with my parents. I wish I could be one of those people who hangs out with their mom or dad laughing, connecting, and sharing life. 

I feel like this community might be a good place to start a discussion about healing relationships and managing guilt. I feel guilty that I'm not close to my parents, yet I realize it's not my fault. Now that they're aging, the broken relationship is more visible than when they were young and healthy. It all just makes me so so so sad and I don't know how to cope with all this sadness. I've kind of just accepted that this is just a burden that I have to carry.

"It all just makes me so so so sad and I don't know how to cope with all this sadness."

This is from Dallas Willard in The Divine Conspiracy:

To honor our parents means to be thankful for for their existence and to respect their actual role as givers of life in the sequence of human existence. Of course in order to honor them in this way we need to be thankful for our own existence too. But we also will usually need to have pity on them. For, even if they are good people, it is almost always true that they have been quite wrong in many respects, and possibly still are.
Commonly those who have experienced great antagonism with their parents are only able to be thankful for their existence and honor them, as they deeply need to, after the parents have grown old. Then it is possible to pity them, to have mercy on them. And that opens the door to honoring them. With a certain sadness, perhaps, but also with joy and peace at least. One of the greatest gifts of The Kingdom Among Us is the healing of the parent-child relation, “turning the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers” (Mal. 4:6).
"How do you manage the sadness?"
I find that passage helpful, but I don't have peace. How do other people who grew up in Laestadian-based religions manage the sadness of the broken relationships? What about managing these uncomfortable emotions once parents have died? Has anyone had success in creating a meaningful relationship with their parents or family? 

Thank you,
"Maureen" 


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reach Out, Take My Hand

I know many of us have on our hearts the senseless tragedy in Connecticut, and many here in Washington State are mourning the loss of a sweet little girl to suicide. May these deaths inspire us to reach out to others, to listen to their pain, to offer solace, and to work toward a society that recognizes and treats abuse and mental illness of all kinds.

The powerful story below was submitted by a reader.
When I was 11 or 12, I decided I was going to commit suicide. I took a sleeping bag, a family sized bottle of Bayer Aspirin, and a canteen into the woods, where . . .  I lost my nerve after a few hours. I left all of these items in the forest, and if my mother ever looked for the sleeping bag, the aspirin, and the canteen, she never questioned why these items were missing. 
I lost my nerve because, according to church doctrine, I could not determine if I had reached the age of reason, and in taking my own life I would go to hell. Sermons gave conflicting opinions. Our believer friend “Lasse,” who we all consulted regarding spiritual matters, thought it was age 20, but some ministers said confirmation age, and another believer thought it could be as low as age eight. I did not want to take any chances on hell, so I did not kill myself. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Laestadian Christmas Memories

Christmas can bring up feelings of loss for former Laestadians, no matter how long we've been gone. Until I met my husband, I was either solo at Christmas, or an awkward, grateful guest at a friend's house. Whether I was dining on Chinese or Thai food, or sitting in quiet admiration of my friend's tight-knit families and unfamiliar traditions, I was unsteadied by grief, and couldn't wait for the new year to begin.

Christmas is all about family, and I didn't have one. Not one that wanted me, at any rate.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Rest in peace, Odetta


The legendary folksinger Odetta died this week at age 77. Odetta marched with Martin Luther King Jr., she sang at the 1963 March on Washington, and she looked forward to singing at Barack Obama's inauguration. We'll still hear you, Odetta. The clip below features Janis Ian, Odetta and Phoebe Snow in exquisite harmony. Enjoy.



HYMN
When we grow old,
And love grows cold,
And time runs down,
Like a river
That calls us home,

The eyes grow dim,
The light grown thin.
And time will
End here forever.
Long time gone.

Then time and the river
Must stop in their tracks,
Or roll on forever,
There's no turning back.
I've waited too long,
To be left here like this.
Long time gone.

[Chorus:]
Then weep no more.
The heart is pure.
These hands are sure
Like a river
That clings to shore.

The love we learn,
The love we burn,
A love that burns,
In the darkness,
Will weep no more.
Dreams die young.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Unbearable Loneliness (No More)

The recent post by anonymous gave me a jolt. I often forget how painful it was to feel trapped, with seemingly no exits.

She writes:

I have so many doubts, have been having for so many years. Am living under fear and emptiness, uncertainty and confusion. Want to leave, but feel so constrained by the social issues involved in leaving. Not sure I have the mental stamina to withstand the shunning, and my family's sure grief. :( Dread the unbearable lonliness in losing my community. Yet at the same time, I am plagued by the sickening hypocrisy of bringing my innocent children up in it. Not sure where to turn anymore. I already recognize some of you here; and you would be sure to know me. I live in fear of being found out, at this time I prize my anonymnity, it is allowing me to jump in on these discussions here. Even wonder as I type this if I am commiting the 'unforgivable sin', by blaspheming The Church. Feel as if I may even go to He** for it. How do I know? How does anyone know? I pray every day that He will help me, that He will guide me. I know that He will. His love is unconditional, and forever. That is my only comfort right now.

First, let me say you don't need to worry about being outed on this blog. You can remain anonymous as long as you like. We understand the reasons why.

Most of us here have lived through that "unbearable loneliness" you speak of. It is awful. You won't have to do that, friend, because we're here. And we'll help.

Check out this wiki how. It represents my own views on how to best leave the OALC. Feel free to edit it.