How to feel.

Patti at seven.

What follows is a long ago thought from my journal — I think I tapped it into my phone one day on the way to work —  that’s still 100% true. The guilt that can accompany acceptance of loss. Is it okay to be okay?

Usually I am fine.

It’s confusing because it can seem like I am calloused or past it or forgetting. How can such big feelings go away? How can such a big thing become smaller? This used to make me feel guilty. And I would hide it even from myself. Or I would force myself to feel bad.

But now I think I understand it better. It’s not that my feelings are gone. It’s that I know how to access them or put them away. They don’t overwhelm me anymore but I can summon them up when I want to, need to. The feeling is no longer an open wound. It’s a treasure, a precious charm on a chain around my neck that I can take out and kiss when I need to feel blessed.

13 Comments

  1. Denise Bongiovanni~

    Very nicely put and oh so true.

  2. cherylrazmus

    Just finished reading it last night. You are so brave and so generous to have shared this life of yours.

  3. Sandy

    Beautifully phrased.

  4. Brenda Swenson

    A Kiss Before You Go, is a gift. Loss of a loved one is such a complicated emotion. At times I had to put the book aside until I could come to grips with my own emotions. The book is about Patti, Jack and you I couldn’t help but relate your feelings to my experiences. Thank for helping me understand. Hugs, Brenda

  5. Gina

    Oh my – that is so well put. Feeling guilt about feelings is very self defeating.

  6. sally hanna

    Sitting alone with our feelings is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. Your book, all the little “nudges” you give us – become great gifts. You help us validate who we are. Thanks for helping us continue on our own paths, living with your “gems of wisdom”.

  7. Lynn Cohen

    I hope what you wrote here about acceptance and guilt is in the book. What an important part for people to get, to understand. Or I will have to recommend both the book and your blog posts about the book to others.

    I also like the comment by the person who said she had to remind herself that this was about Danny and Jack and Patty. Perhaps that helps us keep our own emotions in check…but then again you are writing about something so universal. We either have or will experience this on some level at one time or another in our lives. Life and death is what it’s all about.

    Your experiences, your book become a sort of a manual of what one might expect to feel…even though everyone, I believe experiences grief in their own way, the process, the steps of denial, bargaining, depression, anger, and finally acceptance seem to hold true for most everyone.

    Again, thank you for writing such a helpful tome.

  8. Antares

    Thoughtful and well written. Guilt is a stage. The most helpful thing someone once said to me:
    You never get over it, but with time the pain lessens.

    In case you’re wondering. Your books got me back into more detailed sketching after long absence. Just had to make time for it.

  9. Angela Williams

    Your book arrived in Australia to me last week, via the UK. Have been reading others’ reactions, most of whom cannot put it down, but I am taking it slow, one page at a time, to take in your messages, and to savour the drawings.

  10. ifatimafaye

    I’l be looking for this book ASAP

    • dannygregory

      No need to look hard. It’s at Amazon, bn.com and your local barnes and noble.

  11. Ellen Ward

    I am also mourning someone.Using drawing, it becomes a celebration of that person, and of the life that rests with us now. You have validated a process for many people with this book!

  12. Kim

    This is a lovely thought. I picture life as if each day is a layer that gets added over the previous, diluting feelings and memories that were once as sharp as Stilton cheese. You can’t stop time from giving you new things to process which eventually buries and softens the pain you once thought would overwhelm you.

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