Sunday, February 24, 2013

pure hope

The hope that is left after all your hopes are gone --
that is pure hope,
rooted in the heart.
David Steindl-Rast
Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer

Sunday, February 17, 2013

words that heal

Grief is a little like going blind. 
Suddenly there is a very real part of this life that we cannot see.  Suddenly we know that there is more than what we experience . . . and we stretch perception to its limits to comprehend the life that lies beyond this one.  We try desperately to "see" our child. . . . loving with such an intensity that surely we can penetrate the thin barrier that lies between our heart and theirs.  

So many times I have heard bereaved parents say they can "hear" the voice of their child or recognize the sounds of their steps in the hall.  Our connection is so strong that nothing in our existence can really convince us that they are not close by. 

The questions we ask have no easy answers, maybe no answers at all . . . but sometimes poets and authors can capture our imagination and ease the pain with their words.  This quote from Thomas Wolfe does that for me.  I hope it can for you.

                                             Death is
                 to lose the earth you know, for greater knowing;
 to lose the life you have, for greater life;
                 to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving;
                                  to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth.

                                                                            Thomas Wolfe

Saturday, February 2, 2013

we don't get past it . . .

One of my insightful support group members tenderly described one of grief's most unexpected and cruel side effects.  She said that she found being in our group comforting because when she spoke, no one squirmed.  

Why is it that when we are immersed in the most heartbreaking pain we have ever felt, some of those closest to us cannot bear to be with us?  They don't know what to say, what to do or how to help.  So, they avoid us and simply wait for us to "get over it".   

It isn't that they mean harm, they simply do not understand.  Our pain is painful for them and they want it to end.  So our greatest comfort is to be with those who can be with us - those who are patient with our sorrow and walk with us as we learn another way to live.  They understand that . . . .  

     we don’t get past it . . . we learn to embrace it with our whole heart;

     we don’t move on . . . we are carried by all the love around us;

     we don’t get stuck . . . we simply pause because this part is harder to absorb;

     we don’t put it behind us . . . we allow it to become part of who we are and  

     we don’t forget . . . we remember . . . cherishing the deep gift of this child.

Grief is a process of softening into strength.