Wednesday, December 14, 2005



Sending...this...from...public library.

Must call...310-DELL. me.


Thursday, December 8, 2005

Skeptical Thursday

Coturnix has the 23rd edition of the Skeptics' Circle online at Circadiana. I totally stole that line from Matt at Pooflingers Anonymous.


Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Seven things, and an opinion on TWOC.

   Simon has tagged me for a meme called Seven Things. Although I had already played (in September, just before I went to Italy), Si's categories were slightly different than the one's I originally played, so I added an update to my version.

   On another topic entirely, The War On Christmas is apparently gaining speed, but The Evangelical Atheist says the side on the offensive is other than many normally believe it to be. I always knew I wasn't attacking anyone.


Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Friday, December 2, 2005

Great minds

   Tina left a link to one of her journal entries in the comments section of my previous post. She wrote it back in August, but I had not read it until I followed that link. Eerie, huh?


The Island of Loss in The Sea of Grief

   I was over at Byzantium's Shores today, reading the comment thread attached to Jaquandor's post about the recent loss of his son, Quinn, and I found myself welling up just reading the messages of condolence, and several times almost broke into full sobbing. I was surprised at how close to the surface was my own grief after all these years.
   My wife and I experienced our own loss similar to the one Jaquandor is currently facing, which I have never talked about here. I am still not prepared to talk about it here, but I am prepared to talk about grief, in the hopes that my experience may serve to be illuminating for Jaq, and any others who might stumble across it.
   In thinking about it today, the best metaphor I could find for my experience of grief is that of the castaway on the desert island. The storm which sank his ship was sudden, and unexpected, and the initial onset of grief was much like being swept from the safe and sturdy deck of his life, and plunged into the chaotic sea. An initial certainly of his doom flashed through his being for but an instant, then he was quickly tossed up from the Sea of Grief upon a sandy shore of calm on the Island of Loss.
   The beach is reassuring. The sand is cool, and seems firm, and the castaway crawls until he is no longer being tugged at by the waves. There he rests, confident that he has been saved. He has forgotten the tide. As he lies there, hands clenched in the sand, feeling that the worst is over, that he can go on with his life without fear of drowning, the waves of grief he thinks he has evaded are slowly working their way up the beach toward him. That tide might rise exceedingly slowly (for me it did), but it is inexorable. Eventually, a trickle of foam will just touch his extended toe, a short, sharp, shock of cold to the man, now warmed by the sun. But the touch is so fleeting that it is easily ignored.
   It might be a while before another wave comes high enough to wash over his foot, and when it does, it is easy enough to draw his legs up, and so avoid the cold. Eventually, the water has risen enough that it regularly washes over his lower legs, but hehasbecome inured to it, used to it, he can live with it, it seems. Until, without warning, a large breaker rolls up the beach and engulfs him. It fills his mouth and nose, choking him. It tries to drag him back down the beach. He clutches the sand more tightly, but it is washing away under his elbows and knees, and feels for all the world like the ground is simply falling away. He is in real danger of being swept back out to sea.
   If he is lucky, he will not be alone on that island. Strike that. He is not alone on that island. If he is lucky, he will reach out for help, and someone will extend to him a firm, and steadying hand. Someone who has been on that island for a while, and know the vagaries of the sea, and the paths up the beach to the relative shelter of the dunes.

   For me, that hand was extended by an organisation called
Bereaved Families of Ontario. They are a group made up of people who have experienced a loss of their own in the past, and offer help and support to those who may be having difficulty dealing with their own more recent loss. If you have experienced a loss, I highly recommend you seek out a similar group in your area. Even if you feel that you are dealing with the loss fine, just knowing that there are other people who have experienced similar losses is comforting.
   On a more personal note, to Jaquandor, if you ever feel you want to talk to someone, please feel free to contact me. I know you are doing OK right now. You have lots to keep you busy, and you are dealing with your emotions and feelings of loss. I know you will be fine for probably several months. At least, I know I was. But, one day you may find that a huge breaker has rolled up the beach unexpectedly, and is threatening to pull you back out to sea. If that happens, remember that you are not alone on the Island of Loss. There are other castaways who have survived the sea, and are reaching out to grasp your hand, and hold you steady until the wave recedes and you regain your footing.
   I am here, hand outstretched. I will be here, hand outstretched. If you reach out your hand, I will take it. Contact me any time.

   It has been fourteen years. The castaway has learned how to live on this island. He has learned that he cannot walk away from the sea of grief, because it does notmatter which direction he goes, he will eventually come back upon it. He has learned that, no matter where he goes, the island is not really all that big, and the sound of the surf is omnipresent. But as time goes on, that sound begins to blend in to his existence, to become a part of what he is, instead of a constant attack on his senses. He has found that he can walk on the beach from time to time, as long as he does not go too close to the water. Still, the occasional wave washes over his foot, giving him a bit of a start.
   And today, he learned that something can suddenly transport him directly there, and he will find himself on his knees in the surf, taking deep breaths, and waiting for that big wave to recede before he tries to get back up. But he knows that sea now, knows it intimately, and knows where and when it will be easiest to get his feet back under him, and walk back up to shelter.