Even in the shadow, it stings!
Even in the shadow, it stings!
Normally, I would say cemetery, but today I will use a more unpalatable word, GRAVEYARD!
The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as, “a place, often next to a church, where dead people are buried.”
I spend lots of time here. Somehow, I find solace and peace in the midst of pain. Somehow, my moments of great anxiety are calmed and eased as I sit in the place where the shell of my daughter’s body remains.
On one of those visits…
I see a handful of people sitting under that “dreaded” green canopy. Those chairs…they make your already achy body feel even more stiff and unsure. That green “carpet”…really?!?! Why? Is all this to make an otherwise unnatural setting look a bit more, don’t know, natural? Would it be better to keep it “natural”? Would that make the process easier? Yeah, probably not!
I wonder what makes for the size of the gathering? Popularity or can it be that this family wants a private moment, with their loved one, to say goodbye? Brings back to mind past experiences. The onlookers, the huge crowd, the whispers…my mind all over the place. At times, having been told “not to cry”, holding my breath until I would pass out. Another time, everything in me wanted to run…to never stop running. The crowd, the accusatory looks, more whispers, the looks of disdain.
Many experiences, each with its own story. However, NOTHING ever prepared me for the day I would sit before a beautiful white casket which held part of my heart. Yanked, torn, pulled apart! Can one ever be prepared for such a gut wrenching departure? I think not!!!
Sitting, standing, knowing what’s next. Realizing that eventually that white container, with such precious cargo, will be lowered down into that cold, damp dirt.
Stomach tight and heavy as rocks. Chest heavy, unyielding, yet ever so full of an ache that threatens to explode into a cry that will shatter every glass house…that will never end. The sobs, the wails, yet nothing calms the reality of an absence that is so deep within my soul. This side of heaven, this is my reality…this is my journey.
How? Why? Who invented this torturous process? Can it be done any other way? No! The pain is the pain no matter how kosher the process. There is no way of making “this” look pretty. Hey, maybe, we could all sit or stand like statutes – emotionless, unyielding? Maybe, we could make everyone around us think “this is normal”, “everything is ok”? Yup, no! Been there, done that…know the drill…it doesn’t work!
The “duct-tape” has been yanked off! Reality…feeling it all is much better than the alternative.
I have learned that grief is another name for love. ~ author unknown
It is impossible to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have. ~ Cheryl Strayed
Moving forward one step at a time. Sometimes the steps backwards are more than those forward, but, hey, I’m trying.In my quest of forward moving, I decided to go to a Writer’s Club. Something new, yet familiar. I’ll let you in on my visit. Here we go…I’m here. No ones talks to me. No one says hello, or even makes eye contact. Do I leave? Do I stay? “Hey, you are already here”, I tell myself. I sit and wait for whatever is next. Wow, this takes me back to my school days. I feel like I’m in the not-so-popular-table…awkward! Finally, someone is at the podium and is getting this meeting started. She introduces herself as the club’s president. She gives us a “writing exercise”. For 10 minutes write about a “donut”. This is what I write:At the writers club-my first time! People are snotty and to themselves. If they know you, they talk to you, if they don’t, well you just sit in the corner feeling like you are back in school. Funny, did we ever grow up? I know each of these people has a story or a dream (to be a famous writer) but they rather write it on paper than talk. Is that called being an introvert?Assignment: pick a donut from the box being passed around. You can eat it, observe it or throw it away, it doesn’t matter. Just write something about the donut for 10 minutes.Watching people pick their donut was very interesting. Some picked their favorite, others just a prop. The grumpy man sitting in front of me – who by the way didn’t even say hello – decided he didn’t want a donut. Thinking I was helping I said to him, “She said you didn’t have to eat it. You can even throw it away.” He growled at me, “I don’t need a donut! In fact, I have a story why I don’t need a donut!!!” Well, okay then…Times up! Some volunteered to read what they wrote. I might say that there was really creative writing and stories. I enjoyed that. I, for obvious reasons, opted out.The meeting ended, I quickly made my way out. Yeah, I tried…not my thing. But it was interesting.
Writing is something I have always loved to do. As far as I can remember, the love of pen and paper in all it’s flow and permanence. I remember I wanted to be a teacher when I “grew up”. A desk, books, pen and paper drew me in like a magnet. In a perfect world the “happily ever afters” and the “fulfilled” goals and dreams are subjects movies are famous for. I don’t think you can have a best seller without a happy ending…or can you? I guess it depends on the story.
Back to my reality…
Once upon a time I wrote what I thought was an honest and open letter. I felt that by writing my thoughts it would make it easier to express myself. Lets just say that the outcome was far from what I envisioned. The content and purpose of said letter was twisted and skewed. “It” became a weapon and further muzzled and destroyed “my voice”.
Walking in the valley of the shadow of death, somehow, is helping me find “my voice”. A deep mystery I have yet to understand. And, so the journey continues…one step at a time.
“There is no greater agony then bearing an untold story inside you.” ~Maya Angelou
Thanks for joining me!
“Ready Pen” – Listening deeply, writing freely. I love to write (more on my next post). Providence has placed me in the depth of grief and sorrow. Somehow the depth of these waters rather than take me under are bringing me to a place of freedom I thought was mine. This blog is part of my journey. Ready to write and allow the deep inner pain (or humor or sarcasm or whatever) to flow freely through ink.
“Writing is the act of burning through the fog in your mind.” ~ Natalie Goldberg
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton