Passage Through Grief

Over and over, I feel so blessed to get to write with “The Lovelies”;  the group of women that gather at our dining room table to laugh, write, drink tea, pass tissues and share stories of love, travel, adventure, childhood, loss and life.  Somehow it all gets validated as we write.  Somehow it all gets put into perspective.  Somehow it all feels manageable in the sharing.
At the beginning of this writing session we wrote our ‘snapshots of 2015’ (the kaleidoscope of memories from the year we have just left behind)  For me, having lost my mom at the end of 2014, it was a year of passage.  These are the words that came out from that evening of writing together.
This year.  Passage through grief.
May.  Vallée Junction. 
I turned my head to the sky, held back tears, followed the clouds, hoping my mother would hear.
Words of goodbye.
Images of butterflies.  Her time here done.  Struggle over.
“Kiss me mother, kiss your darlings, lay your head upon my breast, throw your loving arms around me, I am weary. Let me rest”
Eyes to the sky to keep singing. 
Can’t look at Uncle Michel or Aunt Celine.  Can’t allow myself to see the tears rolling down my baby brothers face, my cousins red eyes.
The day was so still. 
The wreath with dusty pink ribbon next to the gravestone. 
The river far in the distance. 
Family gathered, sunglasses on.
This year marked the grieving, the million goodbyes, the million things my mother was.
The million things she could never be.
I smelled her laundry detergent still in her sweaters.  I went through all the suitcases.
I cried seeing a scooter drive down Kingswood Road.
I wrung my heart of all its tears and walked into the year of the motherless daughter.
I took breaks.  I said no.  I cried with friends on the couch.  Nuzzled myself in the arms of my love.
I talked and cried on the phone. 
I wrote and wrung the words out of my soul. 
I put the jigsaw pieces of missing back together, sometimes backwards, sometimes I left them scattered on the table; a mess for another day.
I grabbed paint and tried to fling it like unfairness at a canvas.  I painted within the lines in hopes that life could still make sense.
I broke, I mended.
I found laughter after the tears, under blankets in the back yard, in the dirt of this year.
I watched TV; senseless, mindless, trashy, blah-grey fuzz of TV to just numb the pain a little.
I wore pj’s when I couldn’t do more.
I sang, wrote stories, sketched, baked bread, turned on music, took pictures, walked  through Venice on my birthday alone to wash it all away. 
That was the turning point.  The sparkle came back.  The spit shine.  The polish on the dull silverware of soul.  The cloud lifting.
Walking along canals.  Walking later hand and hand from Manarola to Corniglia along the rocky shore line of Cinque Terre in the rain.
The drips, the drops, the tears all washing away.
The sky making sense now. 
We looked up into the grey, sang Amazing Grace together through the olive groves.
Sang it to the sky, followed the clouds hoping my mother would hear.
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”
Perhaps she would look down.
Perhaps she would see how grief gave way.
How grey transformed.
How hope returned.
How goodbyes became hellos
How strength could most certainly be found on the other side of heart ache.


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