An unspeakable tragedy has befallen a friend, and I nevertheless find myself groping helplessly for words to fling into the void.
I am a box with the lid
removed, unable to hold
thought or feeling or will
for motion. Voices rattle and the wind
tears through me: funeral
and four-year-old do not belong
in the same sentence.
I came across some passages from an old journal that seemed very apt today. As I write this, members of my extended family are gathered in another state to remember the life of one of my second cousins, who died this past week. I am unable to join them in body, but I offer this to my aunts, uncle, and cousins, and to all who mourn, wherever they are.
let this sorrow toss us
smooth, tumble off the edges
until we roll freely
in the surf, our clatter
the joyful sound of waves
Someone dear to me died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday. Words are not enough, but they are all I have at the moment.
today my heart wears
sackcloth and ashes
squats dumb upon a heap of dirt
too sad even to keen
in time the One who keeps unsleeping
watch over those who struggle
will turn this mourning
into dancing, but not today
My first-born turns twelve this week, and I realized today that I’m having a hard time with that. In retrospect, it’s clear now that I’ve been having difficulty with it for several weeks — all sorts of random and dissociated behavior suddenly makes sense.
I found myself weeping this morning, inconsolably wracked with a grief that I didn’t see coming. I recognize it now that it’s swallowed me: something I cherish with every fiber of my being is passing away, and the pain of that loss is immeasurable. Once again the excruciating process of parenting has cracked me open, spilling my soul and leaving a hollow place for something new to grow. I wouldn’t stop it even if I could, but that doesn’t mean it’s a pleasant experience.
Why now, and so suddenly? I don’t know, but I’m quite certain it has far more to do with me than with my son. The changes will continue to find us gradually, as they have from the moment he was conceived. Something within me has shifted, though, and that difference is what grieves me most.
Nothing has ever kindled such fierce joy in me as mothering this boy; what if mothering a young adult, a young man, requires me to let go of that? I will do so without hesitation if needed, but I refuse to dishonor such an amazing experience by pretending that it costs me nothing to relinquish.
It seems as though I’m not giving up much ferocity after all. I suppose I will just have to trust that the joy will take care of itself.