The white canvas, the blank page, the silence, well, they can be either intimidating and frustrating or exciting and invigorating. Freshness? Or emptiness? And then we realize, the space is already meaningful. Even shadows are something- much like small gestures on a silent mouth. Just “being” carries meaning.
We’re in KC spending time with our daughter and her family and we welcome a new little grand love into the world. As I hold this new little angel, I dream about the possibilities of her life. As I watch our little “almost 2” year old grandson play, I realize he has no memories of our time with him when he was an infant and he may only now begin to have memories, but I still believe it’s meaningful in more ways than we could imagine.
I think babies know more than they can remember. Maybe we all do.
I am compelled to let the truth sink in…every moment is monumental. It’s valid, needed, light-bearing and divine. We each bring the most exquisite energy. It’s irreplaceable. Every interaction expands and enriches life.
Dearest little Lennon Jane,
It looks like today will be the day we get to see your sweet face. Knowing you will arrive makes me look around and think about what’s right in the world and what really matters. I want the best for you.
“Love matters”, that’s the phrase that seems to surface as we all wait and watch your momma as she holds you within, readying for both your exit…and entrance. She is such a beautiful soul. I’m so happy to be here to see how my baby welcomes her baby. I remember so clearly welcoming her and here we are, a blink later, love repeated over and over on the wheel of time.
Your daddy loves you so much and he is so patient. He has already supported you in ways you may never know about. He has kind and strong arms, so perfect for holding you. Even now, he is ready to “be there” in every way possible.
Your big brother is waiting. He will probably never have a memory that does not include you. Maybe meeting you will be one of his first memories. You know his voice already. You have heard it all along as the background noise in your growth journey. And when your Momma sings to him, she is also singing to you.
Your “Pops” and I think it’s so miraculous that our hearts keep growing larger and larger, expanding in ways we didn’t know were possible. Your place in our heart is already secure. It’s yours always and forever. And when you are older, whether or not I am still on this earth, this love still remains. That is why I think love matters most. It’s never diminished or destroyed. It stays present beyond time and space.
Though I can’t see it, I can feel glitter in the air. We are ready for your birthday party, little one. Don’t let the glow of dim lights fool you. Parties can happen in dark and quiet places.
Grammy loves you.
I’m trying to curb the habit of apologizing. (gasp) I know. I know. Apologies are menders, fixers, peace-makers. I agree. But sometimes we apologize not because we’ve done something wrong, but because we’re different or seen as odd or strange. Sometimes we (I) live in an apologetic mindset because we don’t value who we are and what we are drawn to. We don’t value what we”bring to the light” in this dark world.
So, I’m learning not to apologize for getting lost in a moment, a song, or a vision of something really beautiful, like roses. So I guess what I’m really trying to do is curb the habit of devaluing the beauty hunters. (It’s a real thing.)
If I analyze what I really believe…what I really feel?
I feel sorrow when we tell and believe our own lies by saying “I don’t have time to ‘stop and smell the roses’. I feel sorrow that the currency of TIME and MONEY are at war. They both shout that they are the greatest value and the greatest equalizer. Which one is it? I mourn every day we believe it’s the dollar.
I feel sadness that the energy of “good” doesn’t get the celebrity status and limelight like the bad. I blink a little harder and longer in these moments. I know that going to sleep should not be better than being fully awake, but that’s how it makes me feel…tired. Yes, this makes me sad.
I feel confusion for us when we believe that the only way to “make it” in this world is to choose a life of complexity instead of a life of simplicity. The stressful drive to the office, the “work” that never waits, should never be valued more than the people we love, the family vacation to the beach, the touch of love. I am confused when we think these things might validate us. Things have never had that power. I wish I knew it sooner.
I feel my “ire” rise when drama-laden words fly; when stinging, witty cut-downs, and petty mud-slinging becomes a symbol of strength. When did the norm shift? Why do we idolize hatefulness rather than listening to the bird that is singing to our souls? We miss so much.
I don’t know why. But I know what I must do. I must feel it all, and then feel joy.
I must let myself feel the extreme joy of the beauty. Sure, I could apologize or blame.
“The roses made me do it.” Or maybe I chose it willingly.
I watched it over and over
The invitation to rest repeated with each crashing wave
Peaceful, powerful, calm, intense
Mesmerizing, hopeful, melancholy and soothing
I watched the motion unfold like my life on display
And something in the “slow motion” version
punctuated my happiness and sadness, making me smile with sad eyes
This is what it means to feel completely- overwhelmed and unashamed
Uninhibited, carefree and bold, I feel it all
I feel pain, exuberance, loneliness and longing
Cheerfulness, hopefulness, anticipation…yet grief
Something precious emerges while something meaningful escapes
I remember and forget, forget and remember
The wheel keeps turning and changing with emotion
And though I grasp with all my might, the water washes the sand I try to hold
My efforts are fierce, worthy and beautifully human
To hold seems both human and divine
Where my clothes are cast away but the mask is worn
perfectly understandable yet nonsensical
My soul seems to be made to linger as long as possible
To dive in deeper to love; deeper than my breath can hold
Where fear cannot touch
And though I’m ready to go, I find I try to stay and surge to find the familiar
The rope I hold is bound to the northern star and even in the depths I know the way
Richness lives in the deep and so I dive deeper and further than ever before
Somehow I surface again and like sunshine rays, I feel the miracles fall
“Why’s” and “how’s” are never uttered because I have this breath
And in the depth within where light cannot reach, I feel warm and glowing
Only this moment tangled in mystery remains vibrant and clear
My salty thankfulness falls freely from my eyes
and mingles with the sea
“What we do not know about a missing loved one,” the poet T.S. Eliot said, “becomes all that we know.”
On Sunday, January 28, 2007, during a short solo sailing trip to the Farallon Islands near San Francisco to scatter his mother’s ashes, Jim Gray (a prominent computer scientist) and his 40-foot yacht, Tenacious, were reported missing by his wife, Donna Carnes. He never returned. His wife had to deal with questions upon questions, his boat and body never found.
After listening to The Myth of Closure podcast (On Being, interview with Pauline Boss), we realize these kinds of stories make us reconsider closure. It makes us reconsider that maybe this goal is not one to pursue. We erroneously think that with the right amount of facts, we may close a door; that maybe we can resume into normalcy just as before. But after listening to this podcast, I am reconsidering this assumption.
Here are my takeaways from Pauline-She writes/speaks about ambiguous loss–when you’ve lost the person, but they’re still there (like with divorce, immigration, a missing child, or Alzheimer’s disease). Or any loss with many questions.
While “closure” is a nice word in business deals and transactions, it is not very relevant in relationships. It is not relevant in grief. Pauline Boss encourages that we must let go of “fixing” and search for the re-calibration that helps us learn to hold loss in our midst. There is no denying loss; no way to mandate or customize the hurt.
We must not accept that even without closure, we can attach meaning. It is attaching meaning (even if the circumstances seem meaningless) that brings hope. We must let go of perfect answers.
We can pursue meaningful perceptions because they are real in their consequences.
Relationships in life are not mere doors to be closed. People are more than that- absence, intended or unintended, stays with us; within us.Grief is part of life that lingers. It is in the background. It never dissolves completely. It is the testament to what is meaningful.
Jim’s wife wrote years after his disappearance on the water, “Walk On.”
“You walk on still beside me, eyes shadowed in dusk. You’re the lingering question at each day’s end. I have to laugh at how open-ended you remain, still with me after all these years of being lost. I carry you like my own personal time machine, as I put on my lipstick, smile, and head out to the party.”
The sky is beautifully churning tonight, preparing to let go. And so we wait with windows open to hear the wind chime sing before the storm.