Tuesday, August 13, 2013

ON LANGUAGE BASICS...


As I was struggling to make progress on a quilt that I promised a friend (on short notice!) ...I got to thinking about all the new terms for quilting I'd learned. Things like certain fabrics having "a directional print". Getting more familiar with the world of quilting seemed like starting to learn a whole new language!  It then occurred to me, that bereavement is a lot like learning a new language...

Many times I have heard newly bereaved Moms asking, "How do I do this?" The answer is...You learn-- either by booklearning or learning on your own--and then you practice and practice until it becomes familiar. A kind of comfort or ease then follows increasing familiarity. There is a learning curve to grief and we must learn our own unique interpretation of what we learn.

When learning the French language in high school, it was not something I learned instantly...it was a slow progressive learning... I was completely unfamiliar with the language. Nothing was like I was used to... I had to start from scratch-- learning how to say the French equivalent of the letter "A"...

 One thing I found that I wasn't expecting...was that speaking the language would be infinitely harder for me than writing it. The spoken word was harder because I could not pronounce words that I could not hear.  Hearing correctly--is of paramount importance. My further progression in learning the language stopped, because of my limitation of hearing.  I finally stopped denying, and trying to pretend I was like all the other perfect -hearing students... I learned I could not change the unchangeable, no matter how much I wanted to...Not even if I'd gotten straight "A"'s on the written parts...I was "different" and "all the other kids in the class" seemed to have it "easier" than me...

There are "regional" variations with language. People that live in close proximity often sound the same.   Even though they may be describing the same experience, it can be easier or harder for "strangers"to understand them...

Like learning anything new, practicing continuously is important or we lose ground. And there are certain rules of protocol that need to be followed. Following them always makes subsequent learning easier, and faster.

Some rules of "The language of Bereavement"-- like remembering to eat well and to get enough rest--are much easier to learn than others. It's harder to learn how to keep a reserve of energy, no matter what.  Or how to answer --without guilt-- the "number- of -children- you- have" question when tired.  And depleting ourselves of any of our basic needs -- even the willingness to eventually regain our lives again-- is seriously breaking the foundation of further learning gains...

 Many times (especially when I was younger and people felt freer to say such things),  I was told that I spoke "with an accent"... then was asked what it was. I used to chuckle at that! I didn't have an accent! Until I realized that I was being asked far too often and I needed to pay attention to that fact. Finally one day it dawned on me...it was my lifelong hearing loss affecting my speech! Thereafter, I was uncomfortable when certain people told me what they heard when I spoke...They had no clue of the discomfort they caused me by their innocent enough observation...

Something that is foreign to us we often prefer not to have...Sometimes, like me wanting to speak French, we just can't have in this world due to no fault of our own. Some things--even little things like speaking French-- we just have to wait until God's Restoration comes to us. And we finally all speak the same universal language of understanding.

The language of grief is the hardest language to learn. No wonder...It is the most foreign to our "mother" tongue...




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