#reverb13: Day Four

reverb13Today, one of my prompts for Reverb13 is up. No big surprise, it’s about grief and loss. I wrote,

This past year, we have all experienced so much loss and felt so much grief — in relationships, through sickness and death, from mental illness or abuse, because of finances, even due to the need for healthy change.

It is good to honor those shifts, to fully feel them, so that we can let go of what needs surrendered, and remember what is worthy of our love and gratitude.

What have you lost, what are you grieving?

olderdexterI can’t talk about what I’ve lost in the past year, what I’m grieving without mentioning Dexter. His cancer and eventual death was the most significant event of 2013. I emailed Kat yesterday, (she’s hosting the Reverb13 I wrote this and one other prompt for) and told her, “Almost every day, I’ve been writing about Dexter, as I reflect back on this year, and it’s helping me to honor that experience but also to let go in a way I still haven’t. I’m so grateful for this practice.”

Another big loss this year is my husband’s parents and his aunt moved. For the past five years, they were here, close to us. We’d lived here for almost seven years on our own before that and were fine, but then they came and we had someone else to call when we needed help, a built in dog sitter (one who washed dishes and did laundry when she came over), people to gather with for holidays or just a regular meal any time. We’d come home from work to a container of homemade cinnamon rolls or oatmeal cookies, and there was always someone to help Eric take a load of stuff to the dump or borrow a ladder from. We got used to it, so now being here by ourselves again feels a little lonely.

Another loss is not going to Susan Piver’s Fearlessly Creative: A Meditation and Writing Retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center (SMC) at the end of the month. The timing is just off for me this session, and even though I can do a writing and meditation retreat any time for myself at home, and I can drive up to SMC whenever I want, I am really going to miss seeing Susan again. The other grief related to her is the Open Heart Project Practitioner level didn’t end up working out. We aren’t completely disbanded or adrift, things are simply shifting, but we had just completed our 2nd virtual retreat when we got the news and it was sad.

There’s grief about other family stuff, things I don’t write about here, other people’s struggles and secrets that aren’t mine to share, but can’t be ignored, are hard to witness, generate so much suffering. I practice remembering, as Anaïs Nin suggested, “You cannot save people. You can only love them.”

When it was happening, and immediately after, there was a lot of grief around the session I had with a new doctor where she told me I was obese and tried to put me on a diet, told me to do more cardio — all this after I explained I was a dis-ordered eater and was hoping to heal that behavior.


this is what obese looks like — when I look at her, all I can see is how hard she tries, all the ways she’s denied herself, how worthy she is of nothing but love (photo by Andrea Scher)

Which leads directly into my answer to the next prompt: 20/20: Hindsight is the one thing we never benefit from in the present.  Is there one moment you wish you could do over? I’m not usually one to wish for do-overs because it seems to imply regret, wanting things to be different, and if that were the case, I wouldn’t be where I am now. For example, from the visit to that doctor came the Self-Compassion Saturday project and the real healing that is happening now, something I had to do for myself. Yes, what she did was awful, but it was the catalyst for something good. Or, I could wish that I’d let Dexter go hiking that day, the one where he stayed home with me and hurt his knee chasing a squirrel in the back yard — and yet, without a hurt knee, he wouldn’t have required physical therapy, and we never would have met Dr. Lindsey Fry and the support staff at Fort Collins Veterinary Emergency Hospital. They gave both Dexter and I such good care in those final months. So, rather than wish for a do-over, I choose to accept what’s happened, to be grateful for what I can, learn what I can.

The Besottment Reverb 2013 prompt is “Did you discover a favourite song or musical artist in 2013?” I love music as much as I love books and dogs, so I can’t give just one. These are my three favorite new to me artists I discovered, my three favorite of their songs.

One eskimO, Amazing

Mary Lambert, She Keeps Me Warm

Furns, Power

17 thoughts on “#reverb13: Day Four

  1. Jen Allen

    I’ve been on my own for so long that when I stumbled upon this family that I have found with Matt, it’s been somewhat eye-opening. My mother and I had a contentious relationship when I was growing up but she had gotten better as I entered my 20s. Before I left Reno in 2004, where she lived less than 10 miles from me, I’d come home and find laundry done. Or dishes done. Or the cats fed. Or we’d go to lunch. I missed that when I moved to Mississippi, but I have it again and so much more now. It’s part of why I want us to move back to Hattiesburg – even though I love living on the Coast. It’s only an hour and a half but it’s nice to have them very close by.

  2. randi k

    I was going to suggest Geneen Roth, but I read your full post and you are reading her. I know what it feels like to be labeled and the shame spiral.

    I went to a Dr. (just a GP–not a psych person) for a few years, saw her once or twice a year, and she labeled me a high functioning, rapid cycling bipolar and tried to put me on some truly scary medication. I didn’t take it and then she labeled me “medication averse.” I found a new Dr.

    In the intervening years I discovered that I’m an empath and a highly sensitive person –possibly the same thing. I am practicing self care and self compassion. I spent a lot of time stuffing my emotions and trying not feel what I feel.

    Lately, but not always, thanks to following my new path, I remind myself to allow the emotions to roll through me. I hold to the thought that like the wind, they’ll blow on by and I’ll still be here. Yay Pema Chodron. Thank you for sharing your truth. And really you are not obese–who does these charts anyway–starving runway models?

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      I am also an HSP, Randi (when I told this doctor, she said “what do you mean, you cry a lot?” <– another red flag!) and that has a lot to do with it — self-soothing. Thank you so much for the comment. To have other people say "me too" means a lot. And I agree, the BMI chart is a dangerous fiction.

  3. Kat McNally

    When I look at that woman in the photo, all I see is love.
    You know my thoughts on this doctor and her “diagnosis”. You are wise and beautiful and always a seeker. Your body loves you. xx

  4. Linda

    You’re beautiful Jill, thank you for sharing. Please know that every time you post a photo of your other sweet pup, my heart aches for your loss and I send you comforting light in hopes that it will lift your spirit and ease your grief. You really are a blessing to so many of us, thank you.

  5. maggyruth

    I haven’t lost my beloved LK yet, but she is old (for a cat) and the day will come. For some reason I will start to think about it and the sadness I feel is astounding.

    Re: the music artists…the video of Mary Lambert’s song gives me butterflies…that newness is something else.

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      It’s a classification that comes from charts that have nothing to offer me or you about how to be who we are, live happily, although it was a label given to me by a medical professional who sees diet and exercise as the answer to everything, who thinks that all it takes to be well is to lose enough weight. It’s just so short sighted, not compassionate or wise at all.

  6. Jaesa

    My life has fallen apart as I struggle to keep my head above water and not give into the urge to return home to whence we all came I search for healing and meaning in my grief & loss. I find relief in my wonderfully amazing 7 year old my dog Jackson who is always by my side & the loving friends & family which are truly one in the same. Yet I’m still hurting so much I pray for purpose.

    1. jillsalahub Post author


      I am so glad that you have Jackson, and loving friends & family, and am so sorry you are in pain. Sometimes it can also be helpful to seek out someone trained in supporting people in their healing process. Please, if you feel like that would be useful, if you need it, ask for help.

      And for anyone else who might read this, who might be hurting, who might feel hopeless, please reach out. Tell a friend. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), visit their website http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ which has lots of resources, call your doctor or go immediately to your local ER.

      You matter, we are less without you, and there is help.

      May your pain, your suffering ease, and may you feel some relief.


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