Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hibiscus Blossoms

Journal Entry 3

In Wang Wei’s poem, “Magnolia Basin,” he writes of hibiscus blooming on a remote mountain hillside where no one will see them: “One by one flowers open, then fall.” He is saying that life blooms whether anyone notices, then is gone, without fanfare or anguish. His poem affirms the natural course of life. Yet Wei’s hibiscus plant will have flowers next year. Evelyn won’t, and I will notice.

Wei’s poem also says that nothing lasts, good or bad, because life moves like a river, constantly traveling somewhere. Mirror Lake in Yosemite fills in and becomes a meadow. A fire reduces a forest to stubble and a new community of animals and birds begin. Even a glorious sunset always fades to black, yet I still feel sadness for the beauty that is gone. I should be excited for the different beauty that is inevitably coming, but I become attached to the beauty I know. Death is part of life, but I struggle to accept Evelyn’s death in my head or my heart.

There is no consolation yet in reading that the poet John Donne in the 17th century felt the death of a loved one was not a breach between two people, but an expansion, like gold that is beaten into airy thinness. Donne was forty-five when his Anne died, after sixteen years of marriage. I was forty-seven after eighteen. Donne and I have this bond.

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