I found myself struggling emotionally and physically in March, and had to sit down and figure out what was happening. Actually, the same thing happens every March and near the end of the month, I realize what is happening. In March, 1986, my brother died, leaving behind a wife and 3 young children, his older sister (me), my younger brother and Mom and Dad. When my Mother was given the news, she had a major heart attack. I missed the funeral mass so I could stay at the hospital with Mom who was unable to attend because her condition was not stable. In 1988, my mother died – in March. Each year, even after all this time and the grief work I’ve done, it seems that my unconscious mind resurrects the body memories of those years, and I find myself lacking physical energy. I also find I am more emotional during March than other months.
Every year, when I remember why I find myself dragging through March, I seem to just accept that it is what it is and keep going until it is over and April is here, and I feel better. I believe this year, I have found a way to better prepare for March, 2013.
I have put those dates in my day planner under 2013. When I get my 2013 day planner, I am going to schedule time at the beginning of March to have a little ceremony to honour my brother’s and my mother’s memories. And then, on the day of the anniversary of their deaths, I am going to do something special. My mother loved red roses, so I think I’ll buy myself a dozen red roses a few days prior to the date. If there is no snow at her grave, like this year, I’ll bring the flowers there on her anniversary date. If there is snow, well, I’ll just keep them on my dining room table. As for my brother, there are some things I need to say to him. I believe I’ll write him a letter and on his anniversary date, I’ll read it, shred it, and burn it. Ritual has always been important to me, and I believe this will work for me.
I also want to share a story with you that was sent to me many years ago. I hope you enjoy it.
The Cracked Pot
A water bearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you”. “Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?” “I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, and not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”
Each of us has our own unique flaws. We are all cracked pots. We need to learn not to compare our insides with others’ outsides, and to appreciate everything about ourselves, even what we perceive to be flaws.Tags: barriers, change, communication, coping, counselling, feelings, grief, growth