I needed to take some quiet time at the end of last week and over the weekend to grieve for the loss of my mother, and of her most personal jewelry, especially her wedding ring which “went missing,” at some point after her death.
It wasn’t there when we went to her house to collect her photo albums, art works and other personal items, even though my grandmother’s jewelry, which was far more expensive, was left behind.
While I am very grateful to have those pieces, which also hold history, it doesn’t make up for what was taken and what is gone. Those pieces, worth only a fraction of what was left behind, meant more to me than money can buy or replace.
My parents truly loved each other. They started with little more than their smarts, worked hard, lived by the golden rule, had good luck and bad, and stayed together through thick and thin for 57 years until my father’s death in 2012. Together they lived and redefined the American dream, helping many people along the way. My mother’s ring symbolized all that for me.
Grief, I have come to learn has its own terms and doesn’t take No for an answer. At times, it felt as if I were a branch being bent to the point of snapping. At others, I cried like a child and felt lonelier than I thought it was possible to feel and still survive.
(“Life is as beautiful as it is painful. And you can’t have one without the other.”)
Staying present with the feelings and allowing them felt both impossible to do and to not do. Art journaling helped and when I didn’t think I could go on, I found this poem by Hermann Hesse. I hope it speaks to your heart, as it did mine. I am feeling stronger now that the grief is receding, and I am starting to feel like myself again. Next Monday I begin attending a grief support group at Our House, here in Southern California. I’ll let you know how it goes. xoS
Now and Then
Now and then everything feels wrong and desolate,
and sprawling in pain, weak and exhausted,
every effort reverts to grief,
every joy collapses with broken wings
And our longing listens for distant summons,
aching to receive news filled with joy.
But we still miss bliss,
fortunate fates elude from afar.
Now is the time to listen within,
tend our inner garden mindfully
until new flowers, new blessings can blossom.