Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Once again, right here on The Luminous Blog! (No matter where else you may be reading this, through whatever RSS feed it may be, I pleaded before and I'll plead once again -for the benefit of those who missed it the first time- please comment on the original site ONLY - capisce?)
And so, here today, two takes on the same subject... A subject that is, alas, dear to my heart these days-weeks-months... And that subject is... grief.
Good grief, not again - I can almost hear some of you say it!
Bear with me - this is beautiful!
First, lyrical poetry on the subject courtesy of a great wise friend of mine, Mr. Mark Dohle of Augusta, GA, USA.
I had to make this available to my Blogger faithful! ;)
They are worthier than the other gang, the original audience for the following masterful poetry...
We all begin life fresh,
We are born,
Some into loving homes, others not,
Some have parents that support them,
Others into abusive households,
Men and women passing on what they were taught,
Unable to break the cycle.
Perhaps the majority land somewhere in the middle;
With parents who are good, but struggle with responsibilities overwhelming,
Perhaps the beginning the most difficult.
In any case we are all on a journey,
We are pilgrims
Moving forward on the road of life,
Being a pilgrim simply means that our trip is temporary,
We are impermanent, as least as far as this world knows,
Our journey has a beginning an and end,
Some roads are very long; others stop soon after they start,
In the long run it does not matter, one day we all arrive,
When either in childhood, youth, young adulthood, middle age, old age,
Our number is called and we take our leave.
We start off with family,
At least most of us do,
Some lives start out collecting grief the way others collect stamps,
They can pile up early,
Making adults out of little ones
Grief does that
Its lessons harsh at times
Something those who or on the road long enough learn,
None are exempt.
Grief is our companion on our journey, our pilgrimage.
Many ways to feel grief,
What is often the most potent, wounding, gut wrenching,
Is the loss of a loved one.
So as we journey,
One by one we leave the road,
As the years pile up we become more alone,
Death becomes our companion
Any naïveté about it gone, sooner for some than others.
Grief is private,
There is no one way to do it,
Or show it,
And certainly no preconceived length to experiencing it.
For some the death of a close friend is more devastating than the passing of a parent,
For others the loss of mother and father is life shattering,
Worst of all, and perhaps the loneliest, is the loss of a child yet in its mother’s womb.
That loss can be the worst, since many don’t understand the deep inner void,
Left by the child already known and loved by the mother.
Her own flesh.
One day a middle aged woman came into the store,
She told me how years ago she lost her baby before its term ran out,
My remark was,
“I would think it takes a long time to get over something like that”,
She looked at me,
And said few understand that, how could I.
Well I lost a brother three days after birth,
I never saw him,
He was named Michael,
My mother seemed so sad when she told me of his death,
When I was nine years old.
But as the years go by, I seem to miss him more,
The “what ifs” are many, and they grow stronger each year.
She smiled, understanding and we parted,
But I have not forgotten this after all these years.
In times of grief, faith is also present,
Experienced as a burden by some,
Yet faith in God there, a response needed.
Some curse God,
Yell, scream, and the tears fall like a torrent,
Which is one way to respond,
An ok way,
Intense emotions needs to be expressed,
Who better than with God,
God takes our love, our pain, our rage, and yes even at times our hate,
He takes us, embraces us, and journeys with us,
Until healing that has already begun, can at last be felt.
When we love, the other lives in us,
Gives joy and meaning too much of our lives,
Parents, spouses, friends, brothers and sisters,
All are loved
We are filled with our love of others.
Because we are pilgrims a grim price must be paid,
One I feel is well worth it,
Each death brings an inner void,
That is never really filled,
Since our relationships with them have yet to be fulfilled.
We can forget as the years flow by, for long periods of time,
But a song,
An expression on the face of another,
A movie perhaps brings the memory back,
Perhaps the pain is less, but none the less there;
Along with melancholy perhaps and joy.
From my own experience it is best to simply embrace the pain,
Fighting it just make the struggle last longer.
Like a raging river they sometimes burst forth,
And unless bitterness takes over healing is possible.
The feeling of bitterness is normal,
Become bitter is a choice,
It fruits only deepening the experience that bitterness brings.
Parents know the price that is paid by simply being parents,
One friend told me that he loves his children so much that it hurts,
He had eight children, now only seven,
Only in her twenties,
He found her body,
His grief overwhelming
Now many years later he still feels the loss,
The bitterness gone,
Only a longing to one day to once again see his beloved daughter,
Who was a poet,
Kind and loving,
Who left many bereft of her life’s enriching presence.
No deals can be made with God,
We must all drink the cup that is handed us,
Being pilgrims is what our life is about,
Our falling and rising,
Our keeping faith when all is dark,
Our support and patience with others, who are mourning,
Our forgiving others often with a great struggle,
Until God’s embrace, always there, becomes real,
As we too join those who have left pilgrimages before us.
And, secondly, grief as viewed by another true believer - or two...
but rather a highly personal
and normal response
to life-changing events,
a natural process
that can lead to healing
and personal growth.
The transition through this difficult time
is the courageous journey.
-- Sandi Caplan and Gordon Lang, in
Grief's Courageous Journey: A Workbook
There are as many ways to cope and deal with bereavement as there are persons on the planet, surely... As many variations of the same sad song... I am just having a longer recital than most do nowadays, I guess...?!? Although...
It is a passage, not a place to stay.
The sense of loss must give way
if we are to value the life that was lived.
– Author unknown