by Lori Dwyer on March 23, 2012 · 12 comments

It’s been such a strange week.

They speak of grief as happening in stages. Not definably– stage one being denial, stage two acceptance; or any crap like that. But grief is such a solid, intrepid, all consuming emotion; a block of feeling rather than lacy strings of it. And it does happen in stages. Huge chunks of time– weeks and months– pass while you look at the world from behind a pane of glass that is colored with how your loss effects your life at that point in time.

And then suddenly, the color changes. You gain a new perspective, you shift slightly further away from the pain. And the world’s a different place all over again.

Then you glance back over the way you’ve been living through that last stage, how you’ve navigated yourself through that particular colored fog, and you wonder how the fuck you’ve lived through that, and why you weren’t more aware of it while it was happening.

It’s just grief… it gives you blinkers, blinds you things not directly in your twisted field of vision. I’m fairly aware of my own mind, I know myself well… and I still catch myself by surprise.

That’s what’s happened this last week or so. It begin with that niggling feeling that yellowed bitterness was becoming the hue of the lense I was looking through, for most of my time. And, as just seems to happen sometimes, simply being aware of that was enough to begin a shift in my perspective.

The universe likes to kick us up the butt sometimes, remind us of what’s real. It can be in the simplest of things. One of them was a blog post by the awesome Carly Findlay. Read it. Fuck yes. I love Carly.

Happy is a choice.

Last Sunday, an Aussie celebrity chef buried his entire family. All of them. His wife, three daughters. And was himself still not well enough to attend their funeral, three months after the fire that gutted their home, took his girl’s lives, and left him with burns to forty percent of his body.

Pain is relative, and I am blessed. I need to stop focusing on why it’s so damn difficult, and love my children for what they are– my entire world, my whole existence.

And I think the final adjustment needed for a full vision overhaul was a conversation with a friend of mine, who we’ll call The Doctor. I watched as he tried, over and over again, to reflect some kind of light onto my suffering. I witnessed myself call it lies, over and over again- karma doesn’t even out, love is purely biological, these things don’t happen for a reason, loving myself has nothing to do with others loving me.

And then I saw… myself. Refusing hope. Turning my back toward any kind of comfort, or philosophy, or lights at the end of tunnels. Shedding optimism and letting go of any believe in love.

What a sad, sad way to live.

That’s not me.

I can do that, if I choose. I can wail and cry unfair and remind everyone, over and over, that the world has treated me badly, if it believe that to be true.

And what does that leave me with?

Not much. A horrible, grey, sparse, sterile world to exist in for a few more decades.

I’ve been asking the Universe, demanding of it- proof. Some kind of proof. Show me something. If things happen for a reason, prove it to me. If good things will happen, show them to me. Give me a reason to have faith in karma and fate.

What a stupid thing to ask for, when the essence of faith is believing in things that can’t be proved.

The world owes me nothing. Least of all a reason to believe in it.

But the choice is mine. I can choose to believe that there is nothing behind anything, nothing that twines people together, no higher power of even higher consciousness. I can choose to forget everything I used to believe in, in the Before.

But nothing comes from nothing. Believe in nothing, and I guess that’s what you’ll get.

Or I can choose to have trust in… something. I don’t know what it is. Fate. Karma. Equilibrium or serendipity or whatever you want to call it. And it costs me nothing, except a leap of faith. And if my faith never amounts to anything, if karma never rights itself and I live the rest of my life in pain… then I guess I’ll spend a long time having faith in a hollow nothing at all. And I may be disappointed, when it’s all said and done.

But, secretly, I’d be disappointed at the end of it anyway. I’d rather live with hope– see the world through a lighter colored lense– then feel the way I have been the last few weeks.

I’m still not sure what I believe in, now, in the After. Still not the God I can’t say deserted me, but never answered and practical prayer I put his way.

But… something. Something like what I wrote about in the Before. And that’s better than nothing at all.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Stacey March 26, 2012 at 9:30 am

This post feels like you've just taken a big breath out. I hope the lighter feeling stays with you


Andrea March 26, 2012 at 7:56 am

I haven't popped in for a long while, and i hear you loud and clear on the karma/leap of faith thing. I found myself trying to grapple with the concept a while back…The "i'm not religious, but there must be some bigger context, some cosmic balance that causes stuff to happen" question.

I hope you are doing ok..

And by the way…love the change in design (not sure when that happened?_)


Amanda Hardy March 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm

*hugs* I'm not sure if I believe in Karma, but I am starting to believe that the choices we make on how to view our lives make all the difference in what our lives are.

My mum's a pretty miserable person, and has been angry and unhappy her whole life that I remember. And I don't think it's because of anything. She has the house she wanted, her husband is still with her, her children are successful – my sister, her doctor daughter, just got married yesterday – she's retired at 55, has a holiday home, has travelled, can choose to do ANYTHING SHE LIKES. Yet for as long as I've known her, carrying on to today, she's not happy.

The things that happen to us and around us are important to how we feel, but over the course of a lifetime I think they build up to something more. It's not the externals that make us who we are, but something from the inside about how we choose to view the world.

Mum's been surrounded by happy and insulated from bad for years now. She has a grandchild who makes her happy and is getting, very slowly, better. But her first instincts are still criticism, anger, and hatred. I think she just can't shake them off and see the good in people, in her own life.

So yeah. I don't know much about how to change my own coloured glasses, but when I find that unhappy has been too big a part of my life and I catch myself choosing to wallow in it, I try to get up and kick it off. Until recently getting it off wasn't even an option, was too depressed. But now it's a choice, it's a choice I'm trying to make actively.

Good luck with your recovery. Lots of love from a stranger. Xxx Manda


jenlouw March 25, 2012 at 10:57 am
Sharon A. March 25, 2012 at 10:31 am

I used to believe in karma, now, I honestly don't. Shit happens to everyone. I think too, Lori, that you're a living example that karma doesn't work. You're a good person who's had some truly shitty things happen to you, and nowadays, karma just offends me.

I believe more in the laws of attraction which is similar but more believable and much more realistic


Anonymous March 24, 2012 at 12:35 am

I am glad to see you are turning a corner. Your blog is difficult to read sometimes because you seem to be sinking in your despair and more sadly, seemingly wanting to stay there. I have yet to meet anyone with a perfect life. EVERYONE has disappointments. Some big and some small, but we all suffer. You have 2 children that I envy. I don't have a suicide that you envy. Happiness, the pursuit of it, is a choice. Somedays you won't make that choice, and that's ok. But more often than not, I hope you choose happiness.


Melissa March 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm

I had two miscarriages a few years ago, and then we had a year of infertility. During this time I completely lost my faith (had been raised Catholic) just recently I've started to find my way back to a spiritual life. I'm no longer Catholic (at the moment I wouldn't even call myself Christian) but I have allowed myself to begin to have a relationship with God again. A little trust, an ongoing conversation. And although I never got the "proof" I begged for during my darkest times – right now I feel a comforting feeling in my heart when I talk to God, and that is HUGE progress for me.
Go for it. Open yourself up in whatever little way feels good.
Lots of love.


Keeks March 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I saw your post yesterday and it made me snap a little bit out of it. Then today I started slipping back, only to read this post and gain a whole other level of perspective. Thank you. You have no idea how much I needed to hear these words and they're great because they're not all gung ho – chin up – motivational – but they're just real and true and a reminder I needed to hear to snap out of it. Thank you.


Glowless @ Where’s My Glow March 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm

This makes me happy :) xxx


Ozzie Thriftmumma March 23, 2012 at 11:05 am

Like "they" say – There is always someone worse off than you.
It doesn't change our pain or grief but it can put some things into perspective.
The universe doesn't owe us anything. But we owe ourselves alot.
Love, respect,discipline and positivity.

When life throws you lemons, grab the tequila and salt baby!!


Kimmie March 23, 2012 at 9:32 am

The Chef you mention is well known by my husband. Matt was a fellow stallholder at Noosa Gourmet Farmers Markets where my husband has a stall with his business on a Sunday. A loss of such magnitute – mind blowing *sigh*

That you have settled on hope over bitterness Lori will serve you and your lil family well.

"Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons. ~Ruth Ann Schabacker"


Sidetracked March 23, 2012 at 9:05 am

Hi Lori,

I don't often comment on your blog, but I have been reading it for a while now. Reading your posts this week, I've been getting the feeling that you were on the edge of some sort of personal breakthrough or revalation. I've never lost someone close to me, but I have witnessed the death of another person in very horrific circumstances. It took me quite a while to process what had happened and I needed a lot of help along the way, but I got there in the end. Every now and again it crops up in unexpected places, but I have developed strategies to handle the emotional stress before it consumes me.

I am so glad to hear that you feel like you are healing. Obviously you will never be the same person as you were in the Before, but ultimately you are the only one who can control how you choose to think and lead your life and you really don't sound like the sort of person who wants to surround herself with bitterness and other emotions.

My husband's father died of cancer just before my husband's 21st birthday. He, his mother and sister basically shut themselves off from the rest of the world and lived in emotional isolation for the next 10 years until I came onto the scene. It was very hard for them all to deal with. My MIL has held onto a lot of bitterness and I was regarded with a lot of suspicion. She has softened somewhat since my boys were born, but being bitter has been such a part of her life for so long that she can never completely let go of it. Please don't let yourself become like that. It's not a nice way to live one's life and it ultimately only leads to more pain. Good luck Lori! I wish you all the best.


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