Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sometimes, the Truth Hurts

Quite by accident (or by Providence, however you want to look at it), I was sent a message today that contained a reference to something I wrote in this post last month. It's not the first reference that I have seen to that posting, and I feel the need to comment on the comments.

Some people have challenged, "corrected," and disagreed with what I wrote. That is their prerogative; it's freedom of speech for all of us. This is my blog, where I write my feelings about what has happened, and tell the truth about what is happening. I tell the truth, and the truth is not always pretty.

My faith in God and my love for God are undiminished, but they are changed.

I am changed.

When I wrote "my life is ruined," I meant, as Elizabeth clearly understood, that the life I had before Katie got sick and passed away, - the life I worked to build, intentionally, with my husband and family, - the life that I LOVED, is ruined -- it's over. The old life has ended; it is dead. I have a new life, a life without Katie.

If you think that this means I've lost my faith, am ungrateful, do not trust God, am not enjoying aspects of my new life, so be it. Those things are not true, but you have the right to think whatever you wish; that is one of the risks I take in blogging here, but you will be wrong to judge me this way. If you believe those things, you clearly haven't heard the rest of what I am saying, and have been saying, for a year and a half.

This life is a journey; it is a process. Grieving is a process. There are bleak days, and happier days. There are painful moments and joyful moments.
I am learning to live without Katie.
It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I get up every day to do it again.
I try to look for the good in each day, in the world and in people. I love the Lord. I do my best, each day.

If you cannot bear to think that "my life is ruined," so be it. I know that my old life is gone; I have a new life, and I have the right to grieve the loss of the old one.

I miss it. It was a good life.

That is the truth.


Elizabeth said...

It's interesting and a little irritating, isn't it, that we still have to almost "defend" ourselves from authentic feelings. I know that I struggle, even with myself, to be honest and self-nurturing. You are a beautiful woman whose trials are written all over you but who is somehow transcending them even by attempting to transcend. Not sure if that makes sense..

Clippy Mat said...

whoever took you the wrong way wasn't seeing the ultimate message of your blog.
never explain.

Grazia said...

hi karen-
i have to say that you are 100% right in anything you feel. so, screw those who say otherwise. let them walk in your shoes before they pass judgements! your words about getting up everyday and trying again are so moving. that is what we - parents who've lost children - do everyday isn't it?

best to you.

Maggie said...

While I havent had to go through what you have had to endure Karen, I totally "get it". You are a very honest and elegant writer and I very much appreciate you. Thank you.

karengberger said...

Thank you, blogger-buddies. I am going to change the title of this post, in honor of your words, Clippy Mat ("never explain"). You are right.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Ditto to what the wise ones above me wrote.
Don't ever give it a second thought when you hit PUBLISH. Your thoughts, your words, your feelings, your blog my friend.

Hugs, suz

Gannet Girl said...

Your truth is crystal clear and elegantly articulated and completely true.

Dawn~^i^Brandon^i^, Jordan, and Seth's mom said...

Amen Sista! ALWAYS speak the truth of your heart!

Have a good weekend!


Jennifer said...

See, and THIS is why your words mean what they do to so many of us -- you "tell it plain." So few do! You wrote such an elegant and respectful and slightly sassy (which was awesome!) reminder in this post about what is right and what drives you: to tell the truth of your experience and leave the rest.

It has been very hurtful in my own journey to listen to people "re-word" what I say, when I say the hard stuff; to tell me "No, I don't REALLY feel that way" as if I'm not the one experiencing my life, and they are. ?!

No, my experience is MY experience. Your experience, Karen, is YOUR experience, and you articulate it well. You are not putting it out there for others' approval, ratings system, correction or interpretation. You are putting it out there for YOU.

And those people who try to rewrite your words/"correct" you are essentially asking you to lie about what you know, about what you see. Odd that they see that as a more noble way than speaking the truth.

This post made me think of Katie, and how you've written about the way she chose her path with no apologies (for example, when she got very sick, she closed down her circle of intimates to a very few -- instead of people-pleasing and accepting many visitors, when she didn't truly want to). I see you as walking in that legacy of hers.

You GO, girl! We honor you and we honor your truth -- ALL of it!


Gannet Girl said...

Jennifer is so right about the re-wording by others.

A few weeks ago I said that I don't want my house anymore, and a friend respodned, "Oh, you'll feel differently someday."

I don't want my house because it was purchased as a home for a fmaily, was the place where we raised our three chidlren to adulthood, was full of chaos and laughter -- and now it is full of excruciating loss.

If I have no idea about "someday," what on earth makes my friend think she does?

Carol Herrmann said...


I made reference to that post today in my caringbridge update for my daughter, Caroline. I want to apologize if I upset you, that was never my intention.

I somehow discovered your blog last fall, when Caroline, just 14, beautiful and sweet and dying of a brain tumor, was in hospice. For the year that she was sick I pretty much stayed off the computer - but I did find your site last fall.

I read it and hung on to every word. It inspired hope that I would be able to live after Caroline's death. I continue to read it because you continue to inspire me.

Believe me, I understand your message of love and hope. I understand good days and bad days. I understand longing for your old life, I long for mine, too. It was perfect, and now it is different. You say ruined, I say different. I think it is just a matter of semantics.

Again, I'm so sorry to have upset you. I will continue to read your blog, because you continue to inspire me.


Carol Herrmann said...
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Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
karengberger said...

Dear Carol,
I am so sorry for Caroline's passing. I remember reading about her, and she was indeed a very lovely girl.
This is not personal, or about you; a number of people have responded to that posting. You have nothing whatsoever for which to apologize.
Perhaps it is, as you say, a matter of semantics. I wonder if it might also be something else...the difficulty of living with darkness and light at the same time. We live in a linear, "either/or" society. I was not taught how to entertain "both/and," which is still a struggle for me. But Katie's cancer, and her passing, are teaching me that opposites do co-exist, so I try to bear witness to what I see...and I see "both sides now," as Joni Mitchell sang. Making sense of those opposites may not be my strong point at the moment, but reporting what I see and experience is what I feel is my least, for now. God bless you!

Grandma J said...

No matter how you grieve, it's the right way. There are no rules and no one knows your pain. Even other grieving parents may have different survival instincts.
I think you are full of faith and goodness, and you follow the Lord in a way many wouldn't be able to. The fact that you are willing to bare your soul for the whole world to see is amazing.

Jennifer Stumpf said...

=) you are such a sweetheart. so many times i have read the "right" and "wrong" way to write a blog. Nothing negative! nothing bad! nothing that's a downer! In other words, nothing that's real life, painful life, life lived as many people don't want to read, don't want to experience. give it to them with both barrels, karen. It's right and it's real and I love you for it.

catperry said...

You bring so much to the front page with your blog, many people may find it difficult to understand.
Until they have walked this journey, no matter what path it took them, the death of your child is PAINFUL-DARK-LONELY(seems so but there are many of us)there is always a new day that follows with HOPE.
Bless you for your blog and your words of TRUTH. They touch many, like myself, who have a hard time writing, but reading and understanding some of your exact feelings.
Thank you!

Kay said...

I think what you wrote does make sense. The life you knew and loved is gone. It is ruined...and if that is the word that says it best for you, then so be it. : )

But like the other commenter, we have chosen words like 'different' and 'forever changed'. Yes, we grieve and I think you've seen that in my postings. But like you, we also continue to live.. and strive to find happy in the midst of what *IS* here!

Sheri said...

This irritates me. It irritates me that I didn't read it when you wrote it and thus were not here to lend you my heart and my support. It irritates me that ANYONE would have the audacity to criticize your beautiful and open heart. I am sorry for that Karen. I am a bit lost in my own healing these days.

Nobody knows your journey. Some of us can relate to it. Anyone who would seek to correct you is blessedly ignorant...and I both pity and envy them that they can still build absolutes on nothingness.