Saturday, July 05, 2008

DIARY 65 - Grief - One of the burdens of life.

It's been an emotionally demanding week. Back at work was hard enough, I just didn't want to be there a lot of the time. That said, the team was probably at its most harmonious. Our shared sense of grief over Richard's suicide, is I think bonding us together. There are still plenty of issues still to be dealt with, and we'll get round to them once the time, and conditions are right. There are many underlying contrary indications, coming at me left and right. Between what people say, and what I experience them doing. Between being flexible and responsive to the moment, and wanting to control and pin down all uncertainty and areas lacking clarity. One team member believes the team is overworked, another thinks we've not enough to do. These issues all need addressing in some way. Despite my own feeling of being out of sympathy with being a Customer Services Manager, I find a sense of responsibility to my team to not leave them in disarray, to get the team on a more even keel, overrides my own desire to abandon ship. Though I question whether this desire to put the needs of others before my own before, is sensible. It's never been a beneficial strategy for me in the past, though its undoubtedly helped the situations I've been working in.

Generally this week the thought of Wednesday evening at the Cambridge Buddhist Centre, celebrating the life of Richard Tebbit, has been on all my mind. Through all the events of Richard's death, funeral, and my week off, its felt like I was carrying this sad, heavy hearted burden. One that I wanted to set down, and be rid of, but couldn't until this last point was passed. I've been holding emotion in check, though it's seeped out unexpectedly at times. I had a meeting the day before, where I'd been reporting in about how things were in the team, where I was completely overcome by emotion, becoming tearful. The evening itself was quite a simple meditation and ritual, with readings, music and a period of Rejoicing in Merits. I was leading this latter part. In this period people stand up and extol the virtues of the deceased. Richard's immediate family attended and they seemed to find it memorable and fitting. My own rejoicings I'd spent the previous few evenings writing and refining. Going by the number of people who've expressed their appreciation of what I said, I appear to have judged it right. I'll publish a copy of it after this posting.

Some surprise has been expressed at how good a public speaker I am. Well, it all comes down to my training and theatrical performing background. I certainly needed to draw on it. I am an emotional person, and those pesky surges of grief catch me out. I knew I'd need to have my rejoicings written down, that I couldn't rely on me being able to hold it together. It's funny though, that I read it through many times, but never identified which bit I'd find emotionally tricky. On the evening it proved to be two parts where I was expressing my sense of losing a much loved friend. David said he'd have completely fallen apart at that point, but that's when the training kicks in, you contain, recover and go on.

Now that's over, where too next? Well, I say over, there's a bit more private grieving to be gone through. At the end of a meeting on Friday ,someone observed that the way we talked about the teams work and situation seemed sad. I responded that the underlying feeling in the team at present was of great sadness. At which point a surge of emotion filled me up, and moved me, from head to toe. Reminding me that, Yes, it's not quite over yet. There is a current of sadness in relation to Richard's untimely death, a sadness in relation to how difficult it's been in the Customer Services Team over the last ten months, mixed up with a personal sadness about my own past life, the ambitions that failed to succeed, a sadness about my continuing sadness, a sadness about no longer knowing what I need to do in order to be more content and happier with my life, a sadness about just carrying on - Oh, the list could go on and on. What's required is a radical turn around in the seat of my consciousness, but failing that distant spiritual hope, a decisive shift in my approach to this work, or a decisive shift away from it.

Meanwhile, I haven't the emotional space for creative pursuits, whether they be painting, meditation or Dharma writing. I'm out of sorts with them all. I'm internally angry that, in the face of death, they've failed me in some fundamental way. I'm adrift, shifting towards abandoning the sinking ship, to stop struggling to keep the leaky vessel afloat. Currently there is a sort of 'Why bother' response. Part of what makes Richard's suicide so unsettling, apart from the obvious shock and loss, is that his decision to take his life, chimes in with my own despair at the purposelessness of life, and my own subsumed desire to give up trying. I've certainly ceased wanting to make the best of it - trenchant apathy and nihilistic urges rule.

There will be a more cheerful posting from me eventually, I promise. Forgive me whilst I grieve.

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