Quiet, in the last moments of Winter’s stillness and mountains of Snow, I search deep wellsprings of Discernment, Grace and Thankfulness because Perspective comes like a hurricane when hard, unexpected events happen – like the death of a loved one.
Suddenly everyone’s clear about what matters.
We hold each other’s hands a little tighter.
Prayers are less flowery because different words push up through constricted throats: the most necessary ones released.
We look into the eyes of others and see mutual humanity on another level because mortality made it’s mark once more and there was nothing we could do. Nothing.
I don’t often talk or write about my work. For one, I can’t – legally. For another, I just don’t. Working with people is sacred ground. I have learned to tread softly.
But every once in a while we are confronted by a situation bigger than our constructs. And we are left, after the fact, sitting at a random gas station for thirty minutes – just trying to breathe.
There’s no elegant way to describe what happened. Simply, I was tasked with the notification to two children their mother had unexpectedly died.
I can still hear their screams.
Joan Didion wrote about those instances where everything changes.
Of course this tragedy catapulted me back to 2009 when my brother completed suicide and a ‘new normal’ greeted our family like a (permanent) unwanted house guest.
Standing at the crossroads of ‘what now’ I leaned towards the hope of healing and restoration. Because we’d endured the unthinkable. We’d love each other different, be angry less, forgive more, soften mindsets, build bridges.
Like tapers lighting up an abyss – I believed this lucidity would last and the deep darkness would diminish.
But then the Siren’s of habitual living begin singing. Their hypnotic melodies of homeostasis pull us away from remembering and the emotional gash transitions into just another scar from one of life’s gut busting sucker punches.
Off we doze back into our comfortable haze of sleep walking through moments meaningful. Rote and rigid, we miss the breath, the inhale/exhale of: Goodness, Kindness, Love, Warmth, Forgiveness, Peace.
At least I did.
No major reconstruction happened so that I could say I became a healthier, wiser or better person for the pain.
I just learned a new kind of haunting ache.
Meanwhile the Sun rises and sets on another day.
A new season arrives – indifferent to my struggle or any other neurosis born of our culture conditioning.
The winter winds calm.
New buds emerge – like Love transmuting the Unbearable into unspeakable Beauty.
The bloom persists – steady she unfolds in the warmth of the Sun.
She is coming.
Spring is on her way…and I bow my head.
Because no matter what I go through in this life as a woman, a mother, a professional, a friend, a wife, a daughter or a member of the community … all it seems we’re ever really tasked with is whether we would choose to let Beauty break open our hearts – allowing us to Love again.
“Around me the tree’s stir in their leaves and call out ‘stay awhile.’ The light flows from their branches. And they call again, ‘It’s simple,’ they say, ‘and yes, you too have come into this world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.’ – Mary Oliver
Good lord Jen this is gorgeous. Please don’t stop writing. I absolutely love your words.
Thank you Jen…I promise to keep at it.
Love it and a great way to process heartache and pain from loss.
Well, well written Jennifer.
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