Friday, June 4, 2010

For He Existed

Today, the two year anniversary of my father's death and the eve of the spreading of his ashes, I find my brain swirling with memories and stalling with what to do next. I ache with the memories of this day two years ago and I rejoice with the knowledge that dad is pain free.

I don't know what emotions tomorrow will bring...the hike to his final resting place is exhausting in and of itself. There will be people there, probably too many for true peace to surround me. It is a moment I suspect I will want to be in solitude and allow myself time to be introspective. Alas, with fourteen others with me, I know this will be a challenge. If God so chooses I know He will facilitate the peace my heart desires. 

As I think of tomorrow and reminisce the words of Maya Angelou fill my head...I think I have reached the place of blooming peace. Although sporadic and unhurried the moments do come, and I think God for them, and know my heart is healing. 

When Great Trees Fall
Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly.  Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed.  They existed.
We can be.  Be and be
better.  For they existed.

Thank you Dr. Angelou for knowing my heart. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Grief is Threatening to Swallow Me

The week has become agonizingly painful…as the time of dispersion slowly creeps closer. I am seeking a diversion, any diversion will do. Today I am going shopping for new bathroom linens, which should distract for a few hours at least. The fighting of the children, although exhausting, brings welcome diversion from the grief threatening to swallow me whole.

Small One is begging to “see Papa” in the canister. I don’t mind so much that she wants to see what the ashes look like; I just can’t bring myself to comfortably open the lid. I am certain I will have no ability to answer the flowing river of questions that would follow. How, what, where, did it hurt, yadda, yadda…yes, it will be a never-ending learning quest for this Small One.

First Born perceives my agony. He is offering tender hugs and making great effort to divert Small One’s incessant antics. Although he does not handle her entirely with grace his patience with her amazes me beyond belief. His awareness of my pain, his ability to read me, reminds me so much of his Papa who is now canistered on the mantle. How did this boy get so much of the man we are preparing to take to his final resting place? Through God’s divine plan First Born has received the best of Papa well blended with the patience and heart of his Papaw creating an amazing gift to parent.

I don’t know how I will get through the next seventy-two hours. I suppose an organized checklist will get me to the base of the mountain; and then one foot in front of the other will get me to the top. I know my Father in heaven has given me the inner strength to overcome the earthly pain, as He did when Dad died. I found out then if I remember to let go of the grief to His care I will find much more inside than I ever imagined.

For now I will pray for a steady breeze to carry him across the mountain tops, the place where he found his strength and where he belongs.