“To: Mom Happy Mother’s
That’s what I’d written on the back of a piece of pottery when I was twelve years old. I vaguely remember making it. I’d seen it on the top of a bin as I’d been vigorously unpacking over the past couple of days. I just didn’t want to move it yet. When I finally got to that bin, I was fine. Then I picked it up, turned it around…and read those words. It wasn’t one of those fall apart moments this time, although one can never tell when those will happen. However, I felt as if my breath had been knocked out of my chest. The absence of our loved ones is ongoing…so why do people talk about grief like it’s a passing thing?
We had just returned from our trip to Texas when we noticed the baby robins in a nest on our porch. I’d been telling our sweet son to watch for that momma who was coming in to feed those babies every few hours. It was such a special thing to see. A day later while mowing the lawn, My Love told me one of the baby robins was flittering about in the backyard. With our dog. I immediately said, “Please go get it out!”. Our dog is a cairn terrier, and he likes birds, squirrels, and anything else that breathes near the ground. Not a moment later, Gus had picked that little baby bird up in his mouth. As I watched my sweet husband coax Gus into dropping the baby bird, I felt some sort of hope for it. He set the little sweet bird near me, and I stayed by it to see what I could do…….as if I had any idea what to do. Immediately, I noticed it’s leg was broken. I kept thinking of how I should get a box quickly, and start nursing it back to health….however I could figure out. Or take it to a shelter. Or anything else, my mind was racing for a fix. As I watched, it kept pecking for a twig hear and there, and I just figured it’d be okay. I stayed there, about to go get a box, and I saw that tiny little bird take a few longer breaths, and that sweet little head dropped. Instead of getting a box to nurse it back to health, I found a smaller one and buried it in our yard. This all happened under five minutes, but it seemed like a very long time to me. I kept wondering why I was hyper-emotional about this, why I was standing there crying in our yard as I was digging a little spot for this brand new bird.
My next thought.......that even in the midst of Spring, death enters in.
Not even hours later, we received news that a dear, sweet, wonderful man in our church had passed away. We’ve only been here for under a year, but that is plenty of time to get attached to these wonderful people. I kept thinking of all the times I’ve made coffee on Sunday mornings in our fellowship hall, and he was one of the first ones there so often. That doesn’t hold a candle to the memories I know his loved ones will always have of him. One thing I know for sure about him, when he spoke, all ears around listened. He was a very special man, and I know his family and friends will miss him greatly. May he find rest.
Grief goes with us.
Throughout my life, I have written. It has always been therapeutic for me. Since The Deep Sadness of 2007, I have kept writing. Sometimes it has been out of frustration, others out of dark sadness, other times because it was the only way to describe what was happening inside my heart. I can only speak of my own grief, I can only speak of my experience. I realize it is hard, I’ve said that countless times. It is a tough thing to read about. Let me tell you, it’s an even tougher thing to live with. I will continue sharing these pieces of myself, hoping it helps others to know they are not alone.
I’m not an expert, but one thing I know about grief is that it refuses to be categorized, summed up, or put into “stages”. Like many grand things in this life....love, God, marriage, children, tears, and laughter.....grief spills over out of the descriptive boxes we create.
Grief is a new way to live.