Day 12 – The Weight of Grief

The fog has come in. There’s a gray embrace, a clasp of wetness.

I am heavy with grief, weighted down as though pregnant with new birth, though I’m not bringing forth a child into the world, but the weight of myself, a knowing in the cells there is a wider birth of earth than just this collection of cells I am right now. It is my energy that animates, and that energy halts now as it rearranges the knowing with which I connect. My umbilical cord is stretched and will snap back.

I open John O’Donohue’s wonderful book, To Bless the Space Between Us. I open to his poem “For Grief”.

For Grief

When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you becomes fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
And some dead echo drags your voice down
Where words have no confidence
Your heart has grown heavy with loss;
And though this loss has wounded others too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.

Flickers of guilt kindle regret
For all that was left unsaid or undone.

There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.

Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.

It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.

Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time. 

John O’Donohue

Two rocks – One from Monhegan Island – the other from the Ganges
Healing abides

The Weight in Grief


I have some idea that I’ll share as I did in the last blog post and then move on.  When my daughter-in-love Frieda called to console, I quickly moved the conversation back to her, and she just as quickly took it back to me.  She’s clever, that girl/woman, a female embodiment of love and compassion, a wisdom gong, as is my other daughter-in-love, Jan.

I rejoice in the grace of wisdom gongs in my life.

Sometimes I find it hard to receive and yet here you are, all of you, so many beautiful messages and offers of support and I feel myself broken apart, as though if I let the bedrock go, the mountain that rises from that bedrock will break it into little pieces and the pain will be less.  Is there less pain, or more, when a mountain lets go and little rocks fall and flow, perhaps gathering with avalanche strength and force?

And now I learn that Notre Dame, Our Lady, has burned.  

I pause, caught on, and in, the elements today, broken apart – earth, air fire, water.

Yesterday I was above the waves as I sat on the ground at Pierce Point.  I watched, mesmerized, as the waves below seemed to be moving slowly and methodically, their white tops clearly defined.  Sitting above, I saw an orchestrated rhythm. If I’d been on the beach below, the waves might have seemed random, and violent perhaps, as they blew apart with a crash.

Sitting above, my whole being slowed to the pace of viewing from a distance, a distance stretching time to a curve, a healing to embrace.

And now, today I am earth, crumbling, and fire, passion, perhaps at first, as I had to mobilize to align, and now today, ashes as the structure of my being sinks to change.  I woke this morning feeling my face malleable as if it was curious to found and birth new form. I could view it as death to the old but transformation has a more inviting bite and taste.

I’ve recently learned that some people choose to have ashes from those they love mixed into the ink of a tattoo.  I don’t need to do that. My being is opened and opening to receive the ashes of my brother, the essence, as I integrate a wider being of knowing, reception, and trust.  Though painful, I rejoice in new form. I am a leaf unleashed.

I was away from my home four days this week, and never looked outside on the fifth, and yesterday, I saw that my Maple trees had released themselves into full leaf, now weighted with morning rain.   

Everyday Enchantment

I began a blog on Live Journal in 2005 when I was going through nine months of treatment for breast cancer. I continued that blog for years, then, transferred over to Facebook but much as I love the quick snapshots of life Facebook provides, I see there is no continuity as to who I am. Therefore I’m starting this blog for three reasons. One, I love connecting with you with more depth than Facebook allows. Second, I want to “promote” my new book that will come out soon: Airing Out the Fairy Tale: My Journey through Nepal and Midlife. Third, I want you to more thoroughly and clearly know the woman I am now.

I’m an elder now, and in many ways, we are all elders. Even the fetus in the womb influences the mother. We are always influencing our environment, the world around and within. What I see though is that we change with age, if we beckon and allow it. I may be less flexible physically but my consciousness is widening and wanting to embrace and be embraced by more than I see, by more than what my immediate reception might perceive. 

I’ll turn seventy this year. It’s a rite of passage, another one, one that feels even more precious. What of myself can I share with you now? What wisdom might I have gained over the years that I’m inspired to impart?

I’ve always believed in enchantment, and more and more I come to see the truth of that as I cultivate my knowing of microorganisms in the soil, and this wider world of which I’m part. I unfold into the beauty, fragility, tenderness, vulnerability and support of living fully while I’m here.

I ask myself: How much can I embrace as I’m embraced? How much peace can I touch within my heart and bring forth to share?