You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘loss’ tag.

Outside my study window, another lesson unfolds. Dove-gray skies feel pregnant with showers but only release droplets upon single leaves of the viburnum, then sets them aquivering; those surrounding them remain still. This image speaks of the seeming randomness of physical death: One is struck while others are engaged in life, until their turn—or so it seems.

But a plan far greater than our human perception exists, and it’s not of our doing. At times, the appearance of a life shortened by accident or disease compounds the grief of loss, the thwarting of opportunities, and the shortening of longevity. Individuals must re-group and move on with their lives.

Since mid-June, death has stilled the breathing of friends, relatives, and neighbors, losses that crimped my former world, still further. Questions of how it was, remain unanswered.

Instead of succumbing to loneliness’s pinch, better to pray for acceptance with the mantra:

Your will, not mine, be done.

Such prayer works its wisdom into the marrow of my bones and enlarges faith in God’s plan for my transition. For the present, like the leaf without the droplet, I cling to the viburnum bush.

Words skitter as I plumb my depths. None seem to hang around for my use—as if they, too, were stunned by what happened.

It had stormed that evening, like being thrashed about in a washing machine, with no turn-off switch. An explosive crack sounded; then, the thud and splatter upon the street compelled me to my front window streaming with rain. Barely could I make out what happened. Shuddering seized me—It was my sweet gum tree.

Only at daybreak did I learn the full extent of the damage: the uppermost limb had been twisted off like a corkscrew; its lustrous leaves already crimping around the edges. With such an injury, the tree could no longer grow. The rest of it would have to come down.

Over fifteen years I had benefited from the sweet gum’s shade, its radiant greens and red-golds, its lofty branches, its symmetry enhancing my bungalow, even its gumballs I raked each March until I was unable.

The sweet gum’s demise accentuates the impermanence of life, including my own. Yet, its welcoming limbs, in all seasons, had heartened me, and I am grateful.

There will be another tree to replace the sweet gum, and eventually there will be shade, symbol of God’s protection and care.

Grief fills my psyche from which flow these images:

Grief cracks hearts, buckles knees, evokes sighs, and distorts reality: its blackness, the mixture of primary colors.  

Like fine granules of soot, grief seeps into inaccessible realms of spirit, discolors memory’s story, taints judgment, and hazards activities of daily living.

Like a medieval hairshirt, grief irritates nerves, prickles to the point of pain, constricts breathing, and welts backs with hairline sores.

Like hobnail boots, grief tramps up and down the peaks and valleys of quicksand moments, trudges through sand-blistered winds of change, lapses into forgetfulness, and imprints the terrain with its history, its courage only grasped later.

We have just lost a kind neighbor on our court, so willing to endure years of treatments for his disease, in the midst of his loving family.

His name was Tony. We will miss him, very much.

Available on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: