So just when I was all full of enthusiasm to blog more frequently, last week came along. (Though I am already blogging more frequently than I was for the past year or so, and will therefore cut myself some slack.)

Last week sucked. Because a very dear friend of of the family, one of my sister’s lifelong friends, was touched by hideous tragedy: her ten-year old daughter died, very suddenly and unexpectedly and without a clear reason why, at least up to this point.

And then I read about a friend of Eden‘s whose husband died suddenly, and then I was in the tailspin I always get into when I hear of people dying suddenly.

(Let me just say that I know that the entire world does not revolve around me, that I know how blessed I am to not be going through what either of these women are going through, that my angsty tailspin is nothing but a mosquito bite compared to what they are going through.)

Still. It just hurts so much to be presented with the reality of how fragile life is. To be reminded of the truth of impermanence.

I found myself kissing and cuddling my little one in excess of his tolerance for such things which, admittedly, is extremely high. I reminded my spouse to eat more vegetables, and though he thanked me at our supper-time ritual of noting the things for which we are grateful, I felt like a real nag doing so. I just felt so uptight and helpless and sad at how much I cannot control.

There is so much suffering, always, everywhere, every day. But on the days when it comes closer to me, I feel so shaky – like the solid ground I think I live on has suddenly disappeared. One of my favourite Buddhist teachers, Pema Chodron, talks about how this groundlessness is actually the way things are all the time, that it is a mistake to think that suffering or joy or any other state will stick around long enough to let us build anything lasting on it. There is a lot of wisdom in that.

But you know, I like my solid ground – illusions and all.

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9 Responses to groundless

  1. I just read this without remembering who wrote it. “i am vulnerable? Must be a new blog I added to my reader.”

    And then I got to the end and realized it was you, Anna. Sheesh, I’m getting old.

    This is beautifully written. Very eloquent. All to often I read about tradegies here in the blog world, or in the news or I hear about them on FB. They shake me to the point of extreme anxiety. I believe them so much that I’m certain it will happen to my family too. It is unsettling and certainly no way to live. It’s something I’m working on.

    Thank you for sharing. I hope for peace for the families involved.

  2. It’s me duck, yeah, I’m like suffering from multiple personalities.
    Anywho, Got a new blog, feel free to wonder over and check it out (with real pics of me, ah!).

    Sorry to hear about the recent bout of deaths, it is hard isn’t it? I am usually okay when someone older passes away, but, a child, a teenager, someone in their 30s? It gets to me. We had a very close friend die in september, sudden massive stroke, the same age as my husband. It really got to us, and we still miss him.

  3. Athena says:

    Beautifully written. Looking forward to your other posts. Here from LFCA.

  4. MSW says:

    I’ve been reading about Eden’s friend too. I end up with “no-no-no-no-no-no-no” running through my head. I just can’t fathom it.

    And hearing about the death of a child is just throat-closing-gut-wrenching.

  5. Vee says:

    How did I miss all this? The new blog?

    Oh it’s just horrible. A friend of a friends 9 month old daughter drowned in the bath recently, it just made me sick to the stomach. Life is certainly fragile. Give your boy a cuddle from me too 🙂

  6. Wordgirl says:

    Oh lady,

    Pema Chodron — no wonder we are kindred spirits; she is one of my favorites — between that and Joni Mitchell … well, we’ll meet one day.

    I understand that groundlessness — and I remember how rocked I felt in reading Eden’s blog when her husband was diagnosed — and as I remained in blogland — I realized how the connections here and the rawness — bring us in such close and intimate proximity, seemingly so, to people’s heartbreak — and compounded then somehow when it hits those closest to us. It’s like traversing in the crevasse territory isn’t it?

    I read those beautifully raw post from Eden’s friend and cried while reading the post to G.

    When I was unplugged — I could keep at bay those things I wished — I could control my environment in some ways — and yet here, in this new frontier –it’s like having a portal to the global heart — being plugged into the emotions and hopes and fears and sometimes looniness — of the world at large.

    It has also connected to me to kindred spirits like you.

    Amazing, really.

    Heartbreaking, amazing and intense.



  7. deathstar44 says:

    This is the stuff of life, eh? To be connected (no matter how ethereal) is to be vulnerable. To watch friends suffer, you sometimes have to fight the feeling that you have to stand so still and quiet so as not to invite disaster by visiting the neighbourhood, so to speak. And yet, to be a part of life, it is unavoidable. You hug the kid a bit too tight, you suppress the nasty tone when the hubby gets on your last nerve (for a day or so), and maybe you watch comedies for a while.

    Read this

  8. coffeegrl says:

    I’m feeling especially fragile lately. PMS-type raging emotions without the actual PMS, so I’m not sure what’s going on. I just know that stories of loss, like these that you’re describing while terrible and abhorrent to me on an even-keeled day, have me feeling breathless of late. All of this is to say, I can absolutely understand why you’d feel off balance, out of sorts and understandably upset.

  9. Lolo says:

    hmm… You just articulated how I felt with that news, so shaken and upset and disconnected. And bringing up memories of my response to Jan to, from when we talked. That exact sense of fragility. I’m sitting here now reading your archives from the beginning and loving your voice and loving your friends (and crying a little in the middle of the library with each post). My mind is spinning with all that I want to say and write, definitely motivated to start a blog of my own, one that I actually post on.
    Love you.

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