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.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Blessings of Grief

Even In This

It took me a while to wrap my head around this one. And before someone starts yelling, let me be clear. I am not saying that grief is a blessing that we need to experience. No one needs to die in order for us to understand anything.

When someone we love dies, we lose so much that it can feel like nothing is left. As the weeks and months go on, we are left with a new understanding of life and of ourselves. We approach each day differently because we know how quickly everything can change.

As the veil of sorrow lifts, we begin to notice small things that make us smile — a baby giggling as it plays with its toes. A bite of really good apple pie. The stark beauty of the constellations on a clear night. We may even sense that grief has become a friend and walks alongside us.

What I am saying is that grief takes us to a place set away from everyday concerns, a landscape where we can deal with death. Because of grief, I’ve become thankful for the small pleasures of living and the little things that people do that I took for granted before. Even in the gut-wrenching absence of the person I loved, life goes on and good things continue to happen.

The following is a list of some of the things that I was grateful for in the year after my wife died.

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I bless my shoes for taking me through another day. Bless the sun for warming your empty chair. Bless Sue and Daniel who stop by for coffee, who have no words, but listen as I share the day’s dissolution.

I bless my lips for not cursing death. Bless the silence that calls me into solitude. Bless my heart that holds on as I walk through the depths of sorrow’s canyons. Bless the lack of anything I care about for the time to do what others need done.

I bless my thoughts for finding mystery in this chaos. Bless spaghetti and dark chocolate. Bless this glass of cabernet, and the next. Bless the grief that won’t go away, and my fear that it will and I’ll have nothing left.

I bless compassion, mercy, love, and await their return. Bless the night with its scribbled directions. Bless Orion’s stars that have become companions. Bless the candles that I light on the mantle, and the steady fire that remains after my dreams have burned away.

I bless anger for the temporary insanity it brings. Bless the ring on my finger that I won’t take off. Bless every memory that comes back from oblivion. Bless finding the lost photos of Arizona’s sage desert where you found a spiritual home two months before you died.

I bless the darkness and its unforgiving. Bless our past for giving me something to mourn. Bless the memory of your love that keeps me going. Bless the unknown future that looms ahead. And then I kneel.


What else can I do?

6 comments:

  1. Oh you got me again. So, so beautiful Mark. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing the things you do.

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  2. I LOVE this blog about finding the blessings in grief!! You have captured beautifully how incredible it is to begin to see the good things in life again, after so much sorrow and sadness and darkness. Like you say, it is as if a veil begins to lift.
    Maryanne

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  3. I just wanted To say thank you for your posts on pet loss. They express what I cannot express to others. I have just lost my best friend, my wee Cairn Terrier Max, so unexpectedly and quickly on 25 March. I am lost without him. I knew he would shatter my already sore heart into a million peices, I knew. I knew he would be my last because he was my best, my once in a lifetime boy. Now it's happened and I'm just totally lost, disconnected from everything and everyone. There was just him and me and he made this house our home. He was my child (my 'best boy'), my partner, family, companion, my reason to connect with the outside world, my entertainer and funny guy, the other heartbeat in our home. He was my devoted follower and my adored leader. I could go on and on and never explain all that he was and is to me. Quite simply, he was my heart and soul, my life, my everything. He pulled me through deep grief for my beautiful old cat Leonard and kept me afloat every day. There's no-one to pull me through losing Max. No-one needs or wants me like he did, but I needed him more than he needed me, just to stay in the world. I'm without purpose and desire and want nothing more than to be with him. The grief, guilt, regret are killing me - he gave his all while I came up a poor second, unworthy of all he gave me. It's such an isolating grief. Your posts express how they are not 'just' animals and how it hurts as bad if not worse than losing closest family members, because they are our closet family members, unequalled in their purity of love and trust, just irreplaceable. Thank you. Nothing lessens the pain, but just to be understood is something.

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    Replies
    1. No, nothing lessens the pain. Nothing takes it away. It is a loss that stays with us because our pets accept us as we are. And I think they love us because of who we are. They see our goodness and what makes us lovable. That they want to be with us says much about who we are and what is in our hearts. This remains, even though a big part is pulled out when they die. My Buff died almost two years ago, and I miss him greatly still.

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