There are losses that tear the fabric of our lives in two,
serrated edges and ruptured threads that years, a lifetime,
cannot mend but awkwardly. Here is one such scar I carry
always, and here, another. Holes we learn to sidestep;
we each have many, these interrupted expectations of
enduring love or love’s enduring presence, these partings
that break us wide on the wide and open brilliant stage. The world
allows such grief, briefly holding space for the depth and damage
while the alterations shudder through our lives and settle, seismic
shifts changing us elementally, creating new steps in our forward dance.
But clocks tick; glances divert; watches, feet, and fingers are tapped:
Back to the business of life, its earnest and undead perfection. We adjust,
merge with life’s traffic and dance. The world turns, and turns away,
calling us healed. It cannot bear close or long encounter with the scrutinized
pause. Acceleration is all; there isn’t time for tears that do not dry, wounds
that remain, and the mystery of ghosts who visit the shadowed alleys of memory.
Let go. Let go. Turn, and turn away. On to the edge of that grave we thankfully
will not grieve but occupy, the panicked dance halted, perfectly unexamined.
And there is sorrow the world calls small, carried as pain in the heart,
on the heart, a tender bruise say, the size of a small cat who one day
appeared at the door of our life and stayed, changing everything
in small ways that went unnoticed, except in our dance; its new
improvisations spoke of a deeper joy. But grief at its passing? No;
it makes of us unwanted mirrors. The solace of rushing cannot be
too earnestly pursued. Come, turn, and turn away; do something.
And so, ignored and unexplored, small losses, all sorrows accrue.
A tumor of the brain finally presses on the spine; our slowly-altered
dance one day becomes grotesque in its awkwardness, we tilt and
spin, one-eyed and wincing, comical, unhuman. The heart breaks.
The small child notices. Why does that man halt and wobble so
crookedly? See how he falls behind? Do we laugh or cry? I want
to help him stand; I want to hold him. We must stop to name the
suffering, to steady his trembled dance, to tell him he is loved.
Hush, dear; he’s one who had small things to grieve and did not
surrender, never to grief for something as small as a cat. He is heroic;
do you understand? Feelings devour our time. Never indulge. Look
how he still moves forward and on. So proudly. We honor deep scars
and their making for a moment; small sorrows mean nothing. Clocks
are ticking loudly; on we go. We have things to do, so much to do.
Denial is the better way, or where would our weeping end?
Back to business; time is passing. Turn, and turn away, my dear.
This week has been a year at Full Moon Cottage. The sunlight and its warmth, the birdsong and the woodpeckers’ staccato rhythms, the receding sparkle of snow, and the sweet spring call of the world to plant, nurture new life and drink in its perfumes–all of it is healing our hearts as they adjust to the loss of our darling Fergus. But as people who honor the rhythms and necessary tending of our healing, we resist the insistent need of our culture to “just get over it.”
Fergus mattered, his leaving matters, and all of the lessons he shared need our deep love and exploration as well; our sorrow, too, is a gift, and uncultivated gifts offered in our lives, no matter how painful their tilling and digging, leave us shallow, anxious, and less able to extend compassion when we encounter others meeting their losses and necessary times of healing. As the figure in the poem suggests (I hope), we cripple our humanity and deny its depths when we ignore and compound our small griefs, because grief is never insignificant and the treasures it holds as we make meaning of it can change our lives and change the world. Sorrow, like joy, needs to bloom to its fulfillment. Don’t fear your weeping; meet and embrace it. Weeping creates a necessary human music; it eases heart pain; and it does end.
Please grant yourself the time you need to sift through all the “small losses” of your life and wait for their gold to be perceived, to shine and, in the perfect time of healing, to mend your heart. Peace and joy will return; gently flowing through our awareness and spirits as our sorrow and its gifts integrate with who we are now. Balance can be restored because we’ve allowed grief’s imbalance its voice. So much of healing is listening; how lovely, I think, that “silent” and “listen” use precisely the same letters to communicate the vital medicine we must take to be fully human. Always be willing to indulge in silence and listening. 🙂 Great gentle peace in all your joys and your sorrows.
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