Still Quiet Moments: Loss & Healing
“When darkness comes. And pain is all around. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.” —Simon & Garfunkel (Bridge Over Troubled Water lyrics)
“You must be able … to love what is mortal … and when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” —Mary Oliver (“In Backwater Woods”)
Spring rains drench and nourish the earth. Even the tree bark is soaked: grassy patches of moss are softly nestled against the trunk, and water droplets fall from the branches like tears.
Sitting with grief is not easy.
I observe a bright red cardinal hopping along an outstretched limb, a chipmunk scurrying through the woodpile, and a Blue Jay pecking at seeds from the birdfeeder. Blue Jays remind me of my father who passed many years ago.
It’s difficult to be with our loss. It’s also hard to put into words the enormous expanse of emotions our heart cradles when we lose someone we love. Perhaps because that person’s essence now seems so far away – immersed in the distant stars and in the swirling galaxies beyond our human comprehension – we try to hold on to simple things. A song. A poem. A feather. A smell. A familiar smile, laugh, or mannerism. A brief sighting of a butterfly, hawk, eagle, cardinal, red winged blackbird. Or a Blue Jay: here for a moment. Then gone.
When we are still – for a few quiet minutes in the early morning sun, or for a peaceful meditation over lunch, or for an evening prayer after a cup of hot tea – we breathe deeper. We slow down. We remember to cherish the small daily gifts we receive.
Loss can show us what is important.
As we sit with our sadness, we may decide not to waste time chasing the wrong things. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow likely no longer appeals to us because we understand the impermanent, fleeting beauty of the rainbow’s hues – knowing such splendor will not last. Knowing it is not meant to be here forever, but nevertheless wanting desperately to grasp each precious moment.
The people in our lives matter to us.
In our sorrow, we can hold compassion for ourselves, we can hold compassion for our loved ones, and we can hold compassion for others who walk on this earth.
Today, this is my morning prayer: Let Spirit fill me. Let Spirit guide me. Let my life be of service to all I have loved.
In joy & gratitude,
Diana J. Ensign
My upcoming book on grief and healing will be released later in 2017. Sign up for email notifications or contact me if you want more details about the publication date.
Photo credit: Mike Markus